Copper starts snowmaking as Olympians look to get jump on training for Sochi
Copper now has a little more than a month to make snow before the Nature Valley First Tracks Alpine Team Naming event on Nov. 8 -- a free-to-the public pep rally to kick off the ski and snowboard season and introduce gold-medal athletes such as Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin.
“The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper was a huge step forward in supporting ski racing in North America,” said Ligety, an Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion. “It's cool to now see that support evolve into a fan event that kicks off our road to Sochi and celebrates the start of the ski season.”
With another fall snowstorm headed into Colorado Friday, Copper Mountain is looking to take advantage of colder temperatures and natural snow to open to the public and allow training to begin on Nov. 1. Nearby Loveland and Arapahoe Basin started making snow last week and should open to the public by mid-October.
“Copper Mountain is the early-season location stateside where guests can experience Olympic mania in the days leading up to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi,” said Jesse True, Copper’s vice president of marketing and sales, “We are honored to host the U.S. Ski Team First Tracks event, kicking off the team’s Olympic season.”
The full-day event on Nov. 8 allows fans to catch the U.S. Ski Team training, participate in a parade and official naming ceremony and then catch athlete autograph sessions and headlining live music in Burning Stones Plaza in Copper’s Center Village.
One fan will win a trip for four to Copper Mountain for the U.S. Ski Team First Tracks event weekend, including roundtrip airfare courtesy of Delta Airlines, three nights of lodging at Copper Mountain Resort, shuttle transportation to and from Denver International Airport, lift tickets, four U.S. Ski Team Spyder jackets and a GoPro camera package. Enter now until Oct. 17 on the Copper Mountain Facebook page.
Vonn, a 2010 Olympic downhill gold medalist, is coming off a knee injury suffered in a crash at the World Championships last season. On Wednesday she said she felt good training on snow in South America recently, is ahead of schedule with her rehab and may be able to race later this month at the World Cup opener Oct. 26-27 in Soelden, Austria.
Miller, also coming back from knee surgery in Vail that cost him all of last season, has said he’s on track to return to his full five-time Olympic medal-winning form. The Sochi Winter Olympics are schedule for Feb. 7-23.
If Vonn and Miller both make it back for the opening giant slalom in Soelden, they would then have another month on snow before World Cup races at Beaver Creek in late November and early December.
The women debut the new “Raptor” downhill course Nov. 29-Dec. 1, with the men returning to the legendary Birds of Prey course the following weekend on Dec. 6-8.
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