The U.S. Ski Team asked and Copper Mountain answered. The popular Colorado resort has partnered with the United States Ski Team and has built an exclusive on-snow alpine ski racing venue that will provide full-length downhill training by early November each season.
"The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper will be a game changer for U.S. athletes," USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt said. "It will provide unparalleled training for our elite athletes prior to the World Cup season and play an integral role in our strategic development plan for the next generation."
The big guns were out for the recent grand opening, including Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso. The Speed Center is in the Super Bee area of Copper’s East Village.
"This is a very exciting project for Copper. The natural attributes of the Super Bee area, combined with an internal Copper team that has experience with race training and a proven track record on snowmaking, were very appealing to the U.S. Ski Team," Copper Mountain Resort President Gary Rodgers said. "This long-term relationship will further enhance Copper's role in early season race training."
U.S. Ski Team and Copper officials along with top U.S. athletes attended the ribbon cutting for the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper. Photo Courtesy of Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort.
The U.S. Ski Team has controlled access to the course until Dec. 10. The U.S. athletes will train there as will other USSA clubs.
U.S. athlete Bode Miller races the downhill course at Copper. Photo Courtesy Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort.
The project cost $4.3 million for two miles of trail with a vertical rise of 2,300 feet. It has seven miles of fencing, 4,500 new Reliable Racing Netting Poles and 87 new snowguns aimed at it. The entire downhill course takes up 44 acres.
Copper Mountain is a leader in the industry when it comes to innovative training and competition venues. USASA hosts its National Championships there each year. The U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is coming up in mid-December.
U.S. Athlete Ted Ligety hits a jump on the new downhill course at Copper. Photo Courtesy Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort.