Moguls Hit The Bumps in Zermatt
Athletes who have spent a lifetime committed to their sport are about to embark on the season winter athletes anticipate every four years. In order to be the most prepared in the lead up to the Games, U.S. Freestyle Ski Team moguls athletes put the finishing touches on their moves as they trained on snow in Zermatt, Switzerland in the lead up to being Vancouver Bound.
"Now it's time to put the whole package together so when we start competing in December we are good to go," Moguls Head Coach Scott Rawles said. "People picked up competition packages to be ready to go once the comps actually hit. It's coming up quick it's less than two months away. It's exciting."
According to Rawles, while other camps have been more about fitness and basic maneuvers, being on snow in Switzerland was for tactic and tricks.
"People did new tricks, put them in their competition runs and really put the focus on getting ready to go for the World Cup and selection events that will be coming up in December," Rawles said.
One such athlete is 2002 Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) who is in the hunt to make another Olympic team in 2010.
"My focus was to do a better job with jumps. I also worked on a lot of turns and techniques," Bahrke said. "I just put everything together and got it World Cup ready. I worked on a lot of bits and pieces."
Luckily, the Team experienced good weather for quality course and training conditions.
"The course we had here is one of the best ones we've seen the last few years. We got snow a couple days before we arrived, and conditions were great," Rawles said. "They were challenging conditions, but I've been really impressed with everybody. Everybody's stepped up."
"The course was way better than it was last year. It's really like a World Cup course and this was really, really good preparation for the upcoming season," Bahrke added.
The presence of other national teams is something that Rawles said also will help the Team as they work toward the Games.
"There were other distractions going on and it's really important that we go through and see the process," Rawles said. "It took over an hour some days to get on the hill, there were lots of race teams there and there was lots of commotion. There was stuff that can effect the athletes and I think itís a good exercise for everyone to go through, particularly leading to Vancouver where there will be a lot of distractions."
Now, athletes will continue training back in the U.S. in the lead up to their first World Cup competition Dec. 12 in Finland.
"I definitely get more nervous than a lot of my teammates. I really want to do well this season, so every time we get back on snow I get nervous about anticipating this up coming season," Bahrke said. "But I just have to play it day by day and just hope that what I'm doing is the best thing for me you know and that it will carry on into the season."