WHISTLER, BC (April 20) - The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team wrapped up the 2009 season on snow as athletes took to the terrain of Whistler to train on what will become their Olympic stage in less than a year.
"We had an awesome camp with our group with 10 athletes up there. We got really good skiing in, really good jumping in, and it was just good to train up there," said World Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY).
For the World Championship gold and bronze medalist, the camp was an opportunity to get in some last minute time at the venue where he won a World Cup earlier this season.
"It was our last opportunity to get some training jumps on the Olympic hills and ski the trails. Especially with the jumps, I think that's an advantage,"
The Team spent time training on the Olympic jumps, cross country skiing the trails and even found the time to alpine ski with athletes from other national teams which, according to Demong, was an opportunity to get to know their international counterparts.
"There were four other national teams there. So, we got to not only train there together and wrap up the season, we also got to know the teams more on a personal level. Even though we all compete together all year, there's always that underlying stress," Demong said.
"So it was a nice last camp of the season. Everyone did some alpine skiing and we were able to sit down and talk together in a relaxed atmosphere."
In the end, Demong said he was just happy to be in Whistler, a venue where he hopes future World Cup and World Championship events will be held. He was the winner of one out of the two events last January.
"Whistler is my favorite venue in the world. It's just such a beautiful setting with great conditions, awesome hills, awesome courses," Demong said.
"The bottom line is they can continue to host World Cup and World Championship level events eventually if they can find the support to do so."
The Team heads next to Steamboat Springs in early June for jumping on plastic ski jumping hills.