Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety had the unique opportunity to discuss driving, chipping, and putting strategy with golf legend Jack Nicklaus when both were honored at the 2014 Governer’s State of Sport Awards in Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday evening. While Ligety may be swinging the clubs this summer, he also has optimistic training plans to get in solid racing shape while also adding more speed skiing to his program.
“I’m not training again until August when we go down to New Zealand. I’ll be in Mt. Hood coaching at the end of June like I normally do, but no on-snow plans before New Zealand,” said Ligety who works with junior athletes annually at the Ligety Weibrecht Ski Camp. “I’ll start in the gym getting into weight lifting probably this weekend. Ease into that, and staying with a regimented summer regime — getting in shape as normal.”
While Ligety focused on bringing his slalom up to speed last summer in a noble effort to challenge Marcel Hirscher for the overall World Cup title with a strong third discipline, he finished fourth in the chase and was only able to accumulate 81 total points for his devotion to training and racing through the disco sticks.
“I’ll probably train a little bit more speed this year. I think that has been more of a lucrative pursuit for time. I trained 15 runs of downhill all year last year and equaled a lot more points than it did for my 500 runs of slalom, so a little more time on speed skis,” Ligety noted.
In nine World Cup slalom races last season, Ligety’s best finish was 11th, scored at the discipline opener in Levi, Finland. In contrast, he raced only two downhills but collected 80 points when he tied Christof Innerhofer for second place in Lenzerheide, Switzerland at the World Cup Finals. His previous best result in downhill and only other time cracking the top 15 had been fourth in 2007, also scored at Lenzerheide.
“I’m still going to work on my slalom and continue progressing in giant slalom as well, but maybe take a little bit more speed focus,” Ligety qualified. “I don’t think I’ll be doing many more downhills than I have been doing, just because of the time constraints, but just work in that direction a bit.”
Weather will also have to be on Ligety’s side if he is going to be able to pull off the added speed training days in his summer calendar, as last September’s trip to South America was less productive for downhill training that many had hoped.
“I always go down with the speed team to Portillo (Chile). … Hopefully we have good snow conditions down there. Last year it wasn’t very good, so I didn’t end up training that much speed. If the conditions are good, I’ll end up skiing quite a bit of downhill down there as well,” he concluded.