You could actually feel the Olympic spirit permeate the mountain at Copper's inaugural hosting of the electric First Tracks celebration and the naming of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team on November 8th.
Posted by Guest Blogger
on November 15, 2013
At first it appeared to be a regular weekday ski day as a smattering of folks soaked up the sun on Endo’s patio in Center Village, relaxing under clear blue skies and guarding their menus against a few renegade arctic wind gusts. But over in East Village, a glance up the mountain at the pristine white snow delivered shivers of excitement as members of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team flew down the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center course and ushered in the realization that this wasn’t an ordinary day at all.
On November 8th, Copper enthusiastically took over the First Tracks celebration from its previous Vail venue, and they did the celebration proud, kicking off the US Ski Team’s road to Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Games. The rousing day began with a viewing of the U.S. Ski Team doing their amazing thing at the Speed Center at Copper Station. Later, kids bustled together at red, white and blue tables piled with beads, ribbon and markers to create posters they later took on parade toward Center Village to excitedly hail their Olympic-bound heroes.
As a crush of fans over 1000-strong assembled into the Believe in U.S. Pep Rally in Burning Stones Plaza, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team was named and introduced to a cheering crowd, and renowned athletes Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, and Mikaela Shiffrin shared the stage with the rest of the exceptional U.S. Alpine Ski Team members.
To cap off the celebration, after some long-awaited team autographs and fan-athlete selfie shots were granted, the Swon Brothers (finalists on NBC’s The Voice) took their lusty vocals center stage for some all-American celebrating, country-style.
I also got a chance to catch up with some of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team members to get some of their impressions amidst Copper’s “Olympic Fever” and here’s the insight they threw my way.
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) Men’s A Team - On what song runs through his head on race day: “I’ve stopped listening to my iPod when I train because I can’t listen to it during a race.” Now, Miller says it’s more about creating a mindset that propels him. “It might be remembering a previous successful race, or it may not even be attached to ski racing at all, like focusing on the memory of an exciting time at tennis camp when I was a kid.”
Nick Krause, (Northborough, MA) Men’s C Team – 20-year-old Krause is one of the younger team members, entering the sport only ten years ago at Wachusett Mountain. On the plain and simple fact that motivated this Dartmouth student to ski, compete and reach his current level: “I just liked it!"
Steven Nyman, (Sundance, UT) Men’s A Team – On keeping the Olympics in perspective: “I’m always training hard. I love ski racing. I also do World Cup and I don’t just put all my energy into the Olympics; it’s a process to get it there. I love the sport.” (When he was a kid in Sundance, Nyman used to mow Robert Redford’s lawn.) On his straightforward race day prep strategy: “Free skiing gets me ready. I feel the skis under my feet, and just get comfortable on my boards. A good warm up gets me ready.”
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