August 02, 2012 (Austria) – There’s something very special about Dachstein. I haven’t been there for years but it holds a special place in my heart. The towering Dachstein glacier with it’s majestic ramparts knifing the sky is a scene I have implanted in my memory from the year’s I traveled their with the US Ski Team for late summer training camps.
Far below, in the town of Ramsau, the charming mountain village that played host to the 1999 FIS World Nordic, the grassy fields below are being hayed this time of year giving off a sweet aroma – I still can recall. Memories are powerful things. It has always been one of my favorite places.
Yet, it’s the skiing that proved the biggest draw of all, and athletes from around the world were there, including the Russians, and in the pre-internet days it was the place to be to learn new training protocols and discuss the latest technical virtues and just chat with international friends. Chatting with Andy Newell yesterday he filled me on the Dachstein scene of 2012.
“For us the Austria camp has been solid so far,” Newell said, ” it’s definitely closer and cheaper to come here than New Zealand but the skiing conditions are not nearly as good. The last few days on the glacier have been warm sunny and soft skiing. Which is not necessarily a bad thing because I think I need to practice skiing in conditions like that, but sometimes I miss the extra blue conditions of NZ. Still Ramsau is beautiful in the summer and we have been playing some golf and getting in some awesome dryland training too.”
Dartmouth grad Eric Packer and Newell are staying an extra five days in Germany to take advantage of the cold skiing conditions in the tunnel and get a few extra days training with the European athletes.
US Head Coach Chris Grover told SkiTrax the camp has been going well. “We’ve had a great start to our camp here in Ramsau. We’ve spent five days so far on the Dachstein glacier and will ski one more day before heading to Oberhof for the 2nd half of the camp on Friday.
“Conditions on the glacier have been pretty good and we’ve spent the afternoons dry-land training here in Ramsau. Athlete in attendance are Simi [Hamilton], Andy, Noah [Hoffman], Tad [Elliott], and Eric Packer. Everyone is doing great. While we are here in Ramsau we are focused more on easy distance on the glacier,” Grover stated.
In one more day the US men’s squad is off to Oberhof where they will concentrate on a bit more on intensity training at lower altitude. “We’ve been in New Zealand for many years at this time during the summer but decided to mix things up and have a different experience this year in order to keep things fresh.
“Financially, this camp was made possible by contributions from the Oregon Nordic Ski Foundation, the National Nordic Foundation, the U.S. Ski Team, and the athletes themselves,” added Grover.