HAYWARD, WI (July 2, 2008). The 2008 CXC Regional Elite Group (REG) camp kicked off last weekend at Cresthill Resort in Hayward, WI. Over 50 of the Midwest’s best junior skiers are attending the camp as well as the CXC Elite Team and Junior Team. Skiers at the camp receive coaching from US Ski Team coaches Pete Vordenberg and Matt Whitcomb, as well as CXC Elite Team coach Bryan Fish, Junior Team coach Bill Pierce, and St. Scholastica College coach Chad Salmela, and CXC coaches Scott Wilson and Yuri Gusev.
The REG camp began on Saturday, June 28 with a VO2 max test for all athletes. Several years ago CXC purchased their own state of the art Oxygen Analyzer. The test consists of running on a treadmill with an oxygen mask attached to your face that’s connected to a VO2 max analyzer. The treadmill starts easy and increases speed and grade until skiers can’t run anymore. . .not an easy way to start a camp, but as Pete Vordenberg says, “This isn’t summer camp, it’s ski camp!” It took two full days to test all the skiers. Many skiers were able to see how their fitness had improved during the past season, while others took the test for their first time and were able to get test results to use to measure fitness in the years to come.
Monday was a full day of technique work, with skiers dividing up by group and getting attention from coaches in small groups. After the daily warm-up jog, stretching, and breakfast, skiers broke into groups and hit the road for a two hour technique session. During the morning skate, coaches taught drills to practice important skills such as balance, weight shift, and application of power.
After the workout, many skiers took advantage of Placid Lake to cool down after a humid morning of skiing, while others simply ate lunch and napped before the afternoon classic ski. Again, skiers were out for two hours working on classical technique. They arrived back at Cresthill to a dinner of chicken and hamburgers on the grill. After dinner, Vordenberg gave a presentation about the “Pipeline” and how to get to the next level of ski racing. Pete included slides from the World Cup and told a few inspiring stories of recent US success.
The four hours of training on Monday were just a warm-up for Tuesday’s 3000m running time-trial on the track, an annual fixture at the REG camp and a chance for the track stars to strut their stuff. The CXC Elite team athletes led the way with Caitlin Compton and Garrott Kuzzy taking the top time in their respective events. Other juniors posted impressive results, sticking with the elite athletes for much of the time-trial. Elizabeth Simak from Hayward and Chris Bowler from Wausau took the top spots for the juniors. The results from the running time-trial will be used for seeding in the skate time-trial up County Road OO on Friday morning. Skiers who were disappointed by their results in the running time-trial will have the opportunity to show what they’re made of during the six stage strength assessment on Wednesday.
The afternoon ended with another classic technique session and dinner by the lake. CXC’s Yuriy Gusev wrapped up the day with a presentation on goals and an interpretation of the VO2 max results for the athletes. While they have a 10:30pm curfew, Katie Walsh of Stillwater said after the presentation “I’m so tired after today, I’m heading off to bed an hour early.” While many skiers are tired from the long day, Andrew Poffenberger from the Gustavus Ski Team summed it up best: “This week has been a great opportunity to focus skiing and see what it’s like to ski full time.”
As well as athlete activities, a cross section of regional high school and club coaches are attending through the CXC coaches education program. They have been observing technique sessions and participating in round table discussions with USST coaches. Yuri Gusev also presented two discussion topics on organizing athlete training plans and general training protocols. Several coaches in attendance commented that they are really enthused to return to their programs and implement their new-found knowledge.
While it’s been a busy start to the camp, the rest of the week will continue at the same high pace with strength testing, the annual pizza dinner and Coop’s Pizza in Hayward, and a skate time-trial. This year’s camp will end with the REG athletes rollerskiing in the Cable, WI Fourth of July Parade on Friday morning.
By Garrott Kuzzy