“Coronet is extremely challenging terrain,” says head coach Sasha Rearick. “Each turn (is on) a different pitch. It’s not where we look for speed. In Portillo, we will begin to push for speed… Here, we work on tactics and handling terrain.”
Which is not to say there isn’t some form of speed being achieved. Although there have been some warm days, the training conditions have been pretty good. “Slalom has been fantastic,” says Rearick. “In GS, we had some good days and some very challenging conditions.”
Without a doubt, Rearick is pleased with how his newly revamped staff is working out. “I’m very pleased with how the staff is working together. … Challenging athletes and taking care of details. … Everybody is pulling on the rope in the same direction.”
There is a myriad of U.S. skiers on site and more in the immediate vicinity. The Development Team is on hand, a National Training Group has been around and right on up through the two man superstar squad of Bode Miller and Ted Ligety. The two toil under the guidance of coach Forest Carey.
“Forest is a tremendous leader,” says Rearick, who adds it was “really great to see” the way Bode is attacking his return from a year off due to knee injury. Miller is by all accounts gearing up for what is certain to be his final Olympics, working hard and putting in maximum effort.
“Bode is training extremely hard, pushing like hell. Six high volume days in a row and then another six. He hammered slalom and hammered GS.
Ligety appears in line for a slalom breakthrough. The group spent some time at Round Hill ski area running some easier GS courses. “It is always fun to watch him ski GS,” says Rearick. But the focus the past couple weeks has been on slalom. “Forest noticed he was trying to ski slalom like it was GS, not changing his stance at all. He’s been working on being more in a slalom position on skis and he has done a good job. Now we want to ingrain that.”
Make no mistake, Ligety is clearly the best GS skier on the team. First few runs of GS training have him well out in front until the rest of the team takes note and picks up their game.
“Biesemeyer, Kelley and Jitloff. I wouldn’t say they’re pushing him, but they step their game up. (Ligety) is so balanced, so clean on his ski it is amazing. Biesemeyer continues to press,” he said.
Rearick was preparing to spend an entire day without putting his ski boots on, his first in 26 days. He can do that, he says, because of how well the staff is working.
A year ago, he says, the speed group, (currently working in LaParva) was well enough orchestrated he felt confident letting them run their own show. Now, he says, the entire coaching team is clicking on all cylinders. “This really is a different role for me. For the first time I feel I can step back.”