OUT OF THE GATE FORERUNNER
9 // WAXROOM 12 // GALLERY 14
Women find renewed love of their
sport at New Zealand camp By Shauna Farnell
Although none of the U.S. women’s alpine team stuck around Coronet Peak, New Zealand, for the
FIS races following the team’s two and a half week on-snow training camp in August, coaches said they
noticed a renewed fire among every racer, each of whom arrived down south after a summer’s worth of
hard, diligent training.
Call it a genuine love of skiing, withdrawal from snow or just outright yearning to be a part of the
2010 Olympic team — the women showed signs of being in better racing shape than many had ever
been on snow in August.
“Everyone is in great shape, healthy and has extremely high energy for skiing right now,” said U.S.
women’s technical coach Trevor Wagner in a phone interview from the camp. “We’ve done some
pretty long days already and they’re up and set to go early each morning. Each year the girls come
into this camp in better shape than they were last year. They’re also so much more eager to ski. A lot
of that has to do with maturity, but it also has to do with how much they want to succeed.”
The women focused primarily on slalom and GS during their time in NZ; they tackled extremely
variable conditions ranging from rain to powder to ice. The camp began with fundamentals and a
couple of days of free skiing, followed by drills with brush gates and stubbies and wrapping up with
fast runs down full-gate courses.
Needless to say, the training regimen was rigorous. The team headed to the hill at around 6: 45 a.m.
each day, training until a lunch break and a couple of hours of rest time. They resumed at 3 p.m. with
conditioning followed by video analysis of the day’s training, team meetings, and then dinner and
At the top of her game was two-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn, who, thrilled to
be back on snow regardless, was throwing a new twist into her training, unofficially trying out some
brand new gear.
“You may have seen me skiing on Head skis,” Vonn said after the camp, mentioning that she couldn’t
go into too much detail about the move away from her long-standing Rossignol setup because her
contract with Head had not yet been signed.
“They were awesome,” Vonn said of Head’s GS and slalom skis, indicating that the GS skis will
perhaps be the secret to finally dominating the
weakest of her disciplines. “[On] the GS skis
right away, from the very first run I was skiing
really, really well. A lot better than I ever had
before, which was really encouraging. It was re-
ally easy to make the transition. It was a really
With February’s Vancouver Games fresh on
everyone’s minds, defending giant slalom Olym-
pic gold medalist Julia Mancuso said that in her
many years of pre-season training in NZ, she’d
never felt stronger — or happier to be on skis.
“I was really excited to get back on snow in
New Zealand,” she said. “I could tell when I was
out there no matter how tough the conditions
were, no matter how the snow sucked, no mat-
ter if it was raining or snowing … everything
was just so fun and I haven’t felt that way in a
Mancuso ended up sticking around for a few
extra days after the camp just to spend a little
more time on her skis and said she was look-
ing forward to the speed segment of pre-season
training in September in Portillo, Chile (where
Vonn’s trying out Head’s super G and downhill
“It’s funny because a lot of times before, I felt
like I didn’t want to take too many runs because
I didn’t want to hurt myself or tire myself out,”
Mancuso said. “Now being on snow, I just want
to keep skiing. I’m excited to go to Chile. I want
to stay longer there, too. I can already tell.” (See
more on Vonn and Mancuso on page 38.)