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Koos: XC Skiing in New Zealand

Fri, Aug  8, 2008 - By Torin Koos

PARK CITY, Utah (Aug. 7) - Recently, Torin Koos, along with some of his teammates on the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, took part in an on-snow training camp in New Zealand. As Koos trained in New Zealand, his teammates did the same in a variety of places including Alaska, British Columbia, and Idaho. The following is Koos' account of the camp he attended as well as the status of his teammates elsewhere.

 
The New Zealand crew. L-R: Cook, Wadsworth, Newell, Koos. (Photo: Paul Murray)
 
"I can't believe only the Canadians and Americans are here. The Euros just don't know what they're missing," said U.S. Ski Team Coach Justin Wadsworth midway through a morning classic technique distance session at the Wairaou Snow Farm on New Zealand's South Island.

Outside, the temperature reads -4.2 C. The snow is hard-packed powder. The team is striding in the blue and purple kodachrome of hardwax kickers. Driving the pace in front, Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) is locked into his music, alternating between Core Mega and The Offspring's latest offering. Behind him, conversation ensues.

"As a team we really feel New Zealand provides the best on-snow training in the world," said Wadsworth. "We've been to the Haig. We've been to Dachstein. New Zealand's got them all beat. It's the absolute best skiing in the world. Sitting at 1600 meters, it's not too high. You can get in quality speed and interval training without it taking too much out of the body. At the Snow Farm, we get all kinds of conditions, not just skiing on melting glaciers. The trails begin right out your door."

Moments later, talk of the Summer Olympics takes over. Wadsworth will be in Beijing in person, compliments of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). "Oh, it's going to be sweet. I just got an email today. I'll be staying in the Forbidden City, in the heart of it all. Included in the message was a picture of a blacked out, stretched out Audi. The IOC wanted to make sure that an A8 with a personal driver would be sufficient. I told them it was.

"It's going to be inspiring to see the competitions. I'll be thinking and watching the Games almost from an athlete's perspective. I want to take in everything I can. I'm going to see the swimming finals for sure, then branch out and see events new to me like table tennis and judo. I want to learn as much as I can."

Following four days of physiology testing in Park City, Wadsworth, head physiologist Randy Hill and three national team skiers - Cook, Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) and Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) - headed to the Southern Hemisphere on July 18 for a three week on-snow camp. National team member Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) is on the Eagle Glacier, outside Girdwood, Alaska with the Alaska Pacific University Ski Team. Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) headed to Squamish, BC to work alongside his personal coach Zach Caldwell, roller-skiing and running on the 2010 Vancouver trails.

The Continental Cup Team is in Sun Valley, ID for a nine-day dryland camp. "In Sun Valley, we'll hook up with the local club for all our training sessions. The camp has a volume emphasis. We're putting a priority on getting in some cool long distance adventures while mountain running and bounding," said Continental Cup Coach Matt Whitcomb. "We'll have twenty people together in our training groups. This ensures the focus in sessions like the double pole intensity and 10K freestyle time trial is high.

"I'm also looking forward to the Wiffle Ball World Championships. The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation has challenged our title as the best wiffle ball-playing cross-country skiers in the world. They take their wiffle ball seriously up there but with athletes like Leif Zimmermann [Bozeman, MT] and Liz Stephens [East Montpelier, VT] lining up for us, we've got the ringers to keep our title. In all seriousness, I'm excited to get our up-and-coming athletes together and see how much progress they've made since our last camp in Bend."



Andy Newell leads the pack with Chris Cook, Justin Wadsworth and 2006 Australian Olympian Paul Murray in tow (Photo: Torn Koos).