As first reported by SNEWS on May 20, 2011, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s proposed speed training center at Copper Mountain Resort is now a lock.
On July 20, the USSA announced that it has entered into a long-term partnership with Copper to open a full-length downhill training center, most notably with a run from the top of the Super B lift to the bottom of Rosie’s Run, covering more than 2,000 vertical feet. The USSA said it plans to have the run open by early November each season, beginning this fall.
“The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper will be a game changer for U.S. athletes,” USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt said in a statement. “It will provide unparalleled training for our elite athletes prior to the World Cup season and play an integral role in our strategic development plan for the next generation.”
The project will be managed by the U.S. Ski Team in conjunction with Copper, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 10, each winter. The new infrastructure required to complete the project will include a new automated snowmaking system and all of the netting, grooming, safety, communications and timing equipment necessary to create a World Cup downhill.
Marolt said the Speed Center will not only be open to both Audi FIS Alpine World Cup athletes like Olympic champions Bode Miller (who has said he is returning for another season), Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety, but will also serve as a facility for USSA clubs and regional programs.
In May, he told SNEWS that building the Speed Center is part of a long-term strategy to identifying and promoting the emergence of more top-level skiers on home soil. “With what we have in Park City, and the Center of Excellence, and this training center at Copper Mountain, the next step would be to create our own academy and bring the best young kids in to train there,” Marolt said.
Located in the Super Bee area of East Village, which includes Rosi's Run, Andy's Encore and Oh No, the steep, north facing slopes, high base elevation and early season temperatures is expected to provide a much needed continuation from summer training in Chile and New Zealand.
“This is a very exciting project for Copper. The natural attributes of the Super Bee area, combined with an internal Copper team that has experience with race training and a proven track record on snowmaking, were very appealing to the U.S. Ski Team,” said Gary Rodgers, President of Copper Mountain Resort. “This long-term relationship will further enhance Copper's role in early season race training.”
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