Sur Vus/ Hello All,

We are now moving into our 2nd week here at Stams. Last Saturday we went up to Seefeld to cheer on the Stams Nordic Team! Cute little Tirol town near the German Bavaria border. We realized how big Nordic skiing is in Austria/Germany, thousands of Cross Country enthusiasts!

Sunday Stams packed us lunch for a day of SL and free skiing at Kuhtai… We worked on transitions, ankle flexion to extension in the fall line. 12M vertical distance plus, so we had time to find a good transition. Then we did a couple hundred garlands on both skis and one ski in the PM.

Monday was SL skiing at Jerzens with Stams…Load the gates up, drive up a crazy road, unload gates, haul the gates up one gondola and one quad. This is the daily process at Stams, reminds me of my Team Summit days where we trained at 4 ski areas.

We skied some tight SL in soft snow with a super hard layer of man made under the powder. The Austrians are very balanced in these course sets and conditions and it is because of their amount of volume in these rutted environments (all summer on glaciers that do not allow salt?). Some of the Vail womens team unannounced chose to go powder skiing where there was no temptation from the Stams girls.

More SL on Tuesday, tight course sets with lots of rhythm changes as we dodged some previous GS ruts…..All were more comfortable in the ruts, winter weather and the Austrian peer group.

Wednesday we were introduced at an all school meeting….we presented Arno Staudecker the Head Master with some gifts from Vail. The Vail team received hats and t-shirts with the Stams logos….Vail then went into the class rooms and presented an overview of the Vail Valley/VSSA/SSCV. Then off to GS (eat lunch, load the gates, up the crazy road, two gondolas, try to set parallel to a 34M vertical GS that the Stams coaches did not want to deal with), on a very winding, meandering trail, lots of rhythm changes again, and lots of ruts….great leaning situations in tactics, and balance! Great day!

Had an informative meeting with Jorgen, one of the Stams FIS coaches… sounds like Austria is behind the world in Slalom and they hope to build a SL dedicated training area which would include a “mogul” Slalom (rutted/rough/moguls) SL lane, an injected lane, and normal machine made surface lane. Very similar to Gold Peak set up. Now many of the hills for training are open to the public and are not dedicated to the racers.

Video is even more challenging for Stams, “no time” with school, conditioning, ski prep, etc. The coaches often leave their cameras in the dorms for overnight viewing…I suggested Sprongo.

I have not observed the “sense of urgency” that is often accompanied with Europe in ski racing? Very laid back staff here at Stams, “were in no hurry”….Some complacency in Austria perhaps??? I truly believe what were doing at Vail is on track, we keep steering in the same direction, we can crush these guys!

Ciao, Rob