American nordic combined squad in summer training out west

American nordic combined squad in summer training out west{mosimage}U.S. nordic combined athletes are grabbing some down time following the start of intensive ski jump training at Utah Olympic Park.

New jumping coach Lasse Ottesen, the former Norwegian Olympic jumping medalist who arrived in late May from Norway, and head coach Bard Elden are assessing the first formal camp before things heat-up again by mid-July.

“We’ve been jumping for about five weeks,” Elden said Thursday, “and it’s been pretty good. We’re working on some technique and to be more consistent. We’ve been jumping pretty much every day.” The skiers also have been running to improve their endurance in the sport which mixes jumping and cross country skiing. Part of the drills have included “hill bounding” with them using ski poles as they charged up the hills and over the Olympic cross country trails at Soldier Hollow.

“I’m really pleased. Lasse’s been working really well – the guys knew him from being the Norwegian combined team’s jumping coach – and he’s moved in quickly, which is good. Now, we want to make a step forward.” He and Ottesen plan to bump the dryland training to improve pilates, which help strengthen an athlete’s core “and affects the whole lower body. That’s important in both the jumping and the cross country,” Elden said, “and we’re going to make some little changes.”

Sprint world champion Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) are fishing in Alaska, Elden said, while Todd Lodwick (also Steamboat Springs), who won his sixth World Cup event last season, is with his wife Sunny, a dental student, in Colorado. Carl Van Loan (Webster, NH) is visiting his family in New England and Jed Hinkley (Andover, NH) is spending three months in Austria, training with the Austrian national team. New A Team member Eric Camerota (Park City, UT) and his twin Brett, A Team member, are camping while Alex Glueck is savoring the preseason in his first year on the Ski Team.

“It’s been intensive, but you have to take days off, need some time to get rest,” Elden said. “The guys are taking a break and we’re happy with where we’ve gotten to, but we want to keep moving forward.”

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