Hotel Portillo in Chile may be closed for the season, but its slopes are still cranking as Ted Ligety, Marco Sullivan, Steven Nyman and the rest of the men's U.S. Alpine Ski Team wrap up their final week of camp in the Andes. Portillo allows the U.S. Ski Team to live and train at the mountain for an additional week after the resort has closed to the public which provides for a variety of speed and technical training options. It is the final on-snow camp for technical skiers like Ligety, Tim Jitloff and Tommy Ford before the team moves to their European Training Base in Soelden, Austria for the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener on Oct. 28. The camp also marked the return to snow for Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller, who has been off snow with a knee injury since late February.Both Sullivan and Nyman have been in Chile since a mid August camp in nearby La Parva. The US racers have been able to train downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom on a variety of slopes, though the final week has been downhill heavy to utilize the private terrain. Consistent cold temperatures at the end of the camp have created good training conditions, despite the minimal snow coverage.
Ted Ligety said: "It will be good to have a few more solid days of training before we race Soelden, but I feel really good. My equipment is running well and physically, I'm feeling like the season could start tomorrow.
It was pretty warm before we got here, so the snow is thin, but it's been surprisingly productive. We have a short downhill track which allows us to work on glide turns, but we've been able to do almost full length giant slalom and slalom."
Marco Sullivan added: "This is week six in Chile for me, but I got a big boost when we moved over to Portillo. It's good to have the full team down here and Portillo does a great job of taking care of us. My back is finally starting to feel solid and I'm really stoked on the progress I've been able to make with Atomic this prep period. I'm sharing a big quiver of skis with Travis [Ganong] and they’ve taken care of everything we've needed to feel comfortable on the new gear.
It's also been cool working with our new downhill coach Andreas [Evers]. He's a true speed coach and has been doing this a long time. He knows what he wants to see and he does a great job of explaining it. We're all getting faster with his help."
Sasha Rearick, the US men's Head Coach summarised: "Bode mainly focused on glide turns and getting his feet back under him while he was here, but it was good to have him training with the group. He was mostly in full jacket and pants, but stripped down for some downhill. He's still pumped on skiing and looking to compete this season.
It's cool to see how this team, including the staff, has come together. It's a great dynamic right now that's produced excellent productivity. We're excited to get to Soelden and then move into the speed season with Lake Louise and Beaver Creek."