PARK CITY, UT (Nov. 4) - The culmination of four years of determination and drive, training and competing and successes and trials is now a mere 100 days away for Vancouver Bound U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes. Now, with the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on the horizon, athletes have taken up shop around the globe to put on the final touches of training for the season.
The U.S. Alpine Ski Team's speed athletes have moved their base to the new snow in the Copper and Loveland areas of Colorado for final preparations leading up to the U.S. swing of the 2010 Audi FIS World Cup which begins Nov. 28-29 in Aspen and winds up Dec. 4-6 in Beaver Creek.
Via her popular twitter account on Monday, double World Champion and World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) tweeted "I start training on Golden Peak in Vail tomorrow!" She was excited to be back on snow after a solid start at the World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria and will continue updating from Colorado through the Aspen Winternational.
The tech team, including Olympic champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) hung back in Europe following the Soelden World Cup to train in an indoor skiing facility in Germany in the lead up to the season's second World Cup in Levi, Finland Nov. 14-15.
A Glamour magazine shoot for X Games halfpipe gold medalist Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO), a visit to NBC's Today Show for World Champion aerialist Ryan St. Onge (Lake Placid, NY) and interviews with the Associated Press for Jeret "Speedy" Peterson (Boise, ID) were all in a days work for the athletes who were in New York last week. The three, along with Olympic champion Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) and World Cup winner Emily Cook (Belmont, MA), will all celebrate the countdown to Vancouver with the USOC in Rockefeller Plaza.
Amid the excitement in the Plaza, Cook was keeping fans in the know as she posted pictures and updates from her facebook fan page.
Bleiler will be hanging with the Coke crew while White introduces the world to his videogame via the Today Show. Fans in downtown Manhattan can also catch Speedy and St. Onge in action as they perform trampoline shows three times throughout the day.
On her way to the city, Bleiler tweeted her plans now that the 100-day mark is here.
"NYC bound for USOC and NBC's 100 Days to Vancouver Countdown. Seriously? 100 Days until the Olympics! better get back to 24hr fitness :)"
Luckily for Bleiler and her halfpipe counterparts, Copper Mountain, the site of the season's first halfpipe Olympic team qualifier the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, has started making snow and the shadow of a 22-foot halfpipe is slowly starting to rise from the slope.
Meanwhile, across the country from the Big Apple, World Championship silver medalist Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) is about to say farewell to the snowy cross country habitat of Alaska and hello to Norway as the cross country team makes its final on-snow preparations for the first World Cup of its season there Nov. 21 and 22.
"That 100 number is one we're all familiar with because we always want to give 100 percent," Randall said. "It's pretty significant because when you start counting down from the hundreds, you start getting closer and closer. It's pretty exciting."
In the world of nordic combined, athletes, including World Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) are biding their time in the gym as they wait for the snowmaking machines at Utah Olympic Park to complete their task of creating enough snow to jump on in the final weeks of training for the season.
Snowboardcross athletes are residing in Park City, UT, as they utilize the Center of Excellence to train for the second World Cup of their season on Dec. 17 in Telluride, CO. According to 2002 Olympic halfpipe gold medalist turned snowboardcross racer Ross Powers (Okemo, VT) he's reminded of the Olympics every day, living in the town where he won Olympic gold.
"Whether I am mountain biking or golfing, I can always see where that 2002 halfpipe competition went down. Everyone here is excited about the Olympics and it just motivates me to work hard and give it another shot," Powers said. "100 days out means it's coming quick. I'm psyched to be out training at the Center of Excellence and I'm looking forward to getting on snow and really giving it a go for the Olympics."
Moguls and aerials athletes are off the water ramps for the season and, while some have made their way to snow, a majority are training in the Center of Excellence alongside the snowboardcross crew as they look towards Dec. 12 for the first World Cup moguls competition and Dec. 19.
While they are scattered across the globe now, the countdown has officially begun to the time when Vancouver Bound athletes will come together 100 days from now in the pursuit of Olympic glory.