40-foot-high ropes course. Coaches debrief athletes every
day, and athletes spend evenings learning how to prepare
healthy meals for themselves. The camp has three main
areas of focus: conditioning, sports psychology, and nutri-
At the start of the camp, athletes receive a 45-page note-
book with the daily camp program and space for them to
keep personal records of their performance.
“We have a strong focus on giving the kids the skills to
succeed in the future,” says Lewis. “Top current athletes
like Nyman, Vonn, Svindal, and Mancuso will relay their
performance stories to share with the campers, and then
Kelley [Lewis] and I will discuss the mental strategies with
the campers to help them develop their own for success.
It could be visualization, breathing, pre-race routines, or
learning how to deal with a start-stop when you’re in the
starting gate. I still have all my journals from when I at-
tended GMVS onward. It really makes a difference when
athletes hear from Julia [Mancuso] about a string of bad
races, and how she overcame those past performances
with belief in herself.”
Lewis says that athletes come to camp knowing that they
A young racer learns the basics of Olympic lifts.
are going to push themselves. “When they break through
perceived barriers,” he says, “it builds huge amounts of
confidence.” One look at the photos from the conditioning camp will show you that campers are having fun while
they work on such key skills as agility, plyometrics, core
strength, acceleration/deceleration movements, and flexibility.
“These athletes are at an age where they should not be
focusing on one sport,” says Lewis, bringing up a a key
component in long-term athlete development. “They need
to be doing a million different sports and exercises, as it
will help them later on when they might choose a sport of
choice down the road.”
The 180 spots for this year’s camp sold out in a just one
hour. Lewis says his staff is an important part of that success, noting that 95 percent have been an ELITEAM
camper at some point. “I’m most proud of inspiring kids to
challenge themselves” says Lewis. “And while it’s cool to
say that people like Mikaela Shiffrin and Warner Nickerson
are past campers, it’s even more exciting for me when I
hear from an athlete of 20 years ago and hear how they
still remember the camp, and what it did for them.”
Slalom in summer.
SkiRacing.com APRIL 16, 2012 | 68
Mental training and
fun are two reasons
why the camp filled up
in an hour this year.