The US men’s speed group has just wrapped up a fast moving two week on snow camp in LaParva, Chile covering a lot of bases and getting up to speed in more ways than one. By all accounts the team, which numbered eight, is in better condition than last season which was good since they were taking a 1:20 runs at more than 10,000 feet.
“A minute 20 at that altitude and you’re huffing pretty good,” deadpanned team veteran Marco Sullivan.
A new conditioning coach, former Austrian team trainer Tony Beretzki, instituted a tougher training regime that kept the huffing to a minimum and frankly allowed the campers to get in the work they did.
Head speed coach Andi Evers, now entering his second season with the US team said,
“the whole team made good steps forward. Conditioning wise we’re in better shape this year. We could do, for sure, more that last year.”
He (Berezki) has a lot of experience in the sport and they worked really hard and this is what you can now see on skis. They’re getting better and better and stronger. This is what you need to do to beat all those guys in Europe.”
Sullivan feels those guys in Europe are starting to take notice. “Yeah, I think they’re watching their back… Our new trainer worked with the Austrians in their power days… With the more regimented routine, I think the team overall is more fit.” Andrew Weibrecht would concur with that analysis.
“physically I think it was a good team pre-season. I feel really strong and fit and I think the whole team does.”
The added strength allowed for more on-snow time and the entire group was finishing timed runs within a second or so of each other. “I feel the level is pretty high,” said Sullivan.
Coach Evers seems to feel that way, too. So far no team leader has stepped out. “Everyone can be the leader,” Evers said. “Everyone workd hard and feels they have a little chance this winter. There is still work to do for the next camps, and for sure it is a good strong downhill team. A few guys did well… but is not good for the boys to tell too much.”
For Weibrecht, not only coming back from injury but also getting accustomed to new gear for the first time in his career, there was much to take in.
“Part of it was a little glidy,” said Andrew Weibrecht, of the LaParva track, “but fast, It was good to work on it (gliding). It was good to get back up to speed.
“It’s a fun challenge,” says Weibrecht “to learn a different set-up. I’d been with Rossi (Rossignol) for so long… just getting the comfort on the new stuff (He has transitioned to Head). I felt it was coming along good right at the end. I’m pretty pysched about the whole deal… For me the camp was revitalizing.