Friday, January 20, 2012

Copper Mountain Nor-Am's - Training Day

Hectic schedule today. VERY Hectic. There are so many athletes out here this weekend; some of us just arrived, but the good majority have been here over the past couple weeks training as the course has taken shape.

We got to the mountain for registration at 8:30, geared up and headed straight up to the top of the course. At first we were told that the beginning of the day was designated for "Inspection" for all athletes; a great chance for us new-comers to see the course in person for the first time. When we got strapped in, the course tech's gave us the updated news that the course was only open for the skiers. We found a way to observe a few portions of the course, but the most critical was the start section. The start is on EVERYONE'S mind. Some features have changed over the past week, most importantly the "WU-Tang" feature heading into the first turn. It's an almost completely vertical quarter-pipe that takes a perfectly flat and controlled takeoff to make it over successfully. We saw every type of crash over that thing today, from snowboarders disappearing head-first over the other side (followed by ski patrol heading down to check on them), to skiers sailing every direction but straight into the air, and slamming to the other side.

Photo - The Wu-Tang that's sent lots of us flying

For me, I had the most difficulty in that section. I couldn't seem to keep my base flat, and my first few inspection runs resulted in flailing air-time into a couple nasty slams. The rest of the course has some technical sections, a few very creative features, and a lower rhythm section that's also proven a bit difficult. I've pieced together the course, but all separately. I wasn't able to piece together a solid run in the limited block of time we were allowed, but I've got a chance to put it together during inspection tomorrow. The weather forecast caused a schedule change tomorrow, so we're all out there again at 830am. Oh, and since so many athletes turned out, we got word tonight that we get ONE qualifying run tomorrow. That means ZERO mistakes. I'm up here with the Squaw Valley Team, and the advice I've gotten from their coach has been huge. I just need to piece together the start, middle, and lower section and I'm good.

My thoughts (and unfortunately this post) are scattered regarding tomorrow. I really wish I was able to come up here and see this course earlier. I'm excited, nervous, worried about the Wu-Tang, but I'm ready to sleep and get it all out of my mind. I need this experience, and I'm looking forward to it.

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