Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tues & Wed

Wow I suddenly blinked and its Wednesday night already. Time flies when you're with the best damn ski racers in the world!

Tuesday the guys had a full-out Downhill training to bottom, full strip, timing with two splits, balls to the wall, ALL OUT! This is some serious speed training they have here. Great track to prepare for every DH on the World Cup circuit. Its got the speed, pitch, and huge airs necessary to get the guys dialed in. The coaches were thrilled today with how well everyone performed under the new conditions. This is going to be a very successful camp for the team.

I forgot to bring my camera up on Tuesday (whoops) but I'll be sure to take twice as many photos and videos during my final day here at Portillo. The plan for tomorrow is for most of the guys to train DH from 8-11am and a few of the more tech-specific guys are going to get some GS in from 8-9 before heading over to the DH track. I'm also going to jump in on the GS training but only after slayer-pros like Ted Ligety, Tommy Ford, and Jake Zamansky set a rippin line for me.

Today (Wed) was a day off for the staff and athletes. They typically do 3 hard days followed by a day off to recover. However, not a day off for the ski technicians or NBC crew. The team has 4 technicians working non-stop to make sure these guys have the fastest skis this season. They do a ton of work behind the scenes and deserve mucho credit. Here's a photo but only includes about 1/10th of the athlete's speed skis that were brought to the camp:

The team had lunch at Tio Bob's which is a very scenic outdoor grill here at Portillo. And yes NBC got every second of it! They definitely love the team and have been working tirelessly for the Olympic ski racing promotion.

I got to take a couple free-runs with the guys today. Fun to hang with them outside of "work" haha. The guys are awesome and very grounded. This is a video of me making some big SG turns down the Kilometro Lanzado:

I won't be able to update tomorrow but will have plenty more to add once I get back to the US. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let the fun begin....

Hello ski racing fans!

The team has been hitting the snow pretty hard in the mornings yesterday and today. Breakfast at 6:30am, on the hill by 7:15, 8:15 start. All business. Sunday the team trained GS for about 2 hours in the morning to get their timing down and then free skied on their DH boards late morning. I helped out with GS training in the morning and watched the guys rip it up! Awesome to be right in the mix and a part of the team during their training.

Today (Monday) the team trained DH on a gnarly track with lots of terrain....a couple big airs towards the finish. They sectioned the course today and will run full length tomorrow. It was overcast most of the day so the snow stayed rock hard and fast for them. Its only the first real day of training but the boys look very strong!

Video of Marco Sullivan slaying today:

The weather yesterday was a typical warm Spring day here...60 deg F and sunny. Not great for training but excellent for free skiing. The ski area holds some incredible terrain. I did plenty of exploring yesterday and absolutely skied my face off. Steep steep it! I was tired today though....rough life I know. Here's a photo of a chute I made a couple laps on:

Media Frenzy.....
You can definitely tell its an Olympic year for the US Team. NBC has been filming every minute of the trip for a prime time special on the team before the Olympics start. They sent down a crew of 14 people for 4 days. They've got mics and cameras everywhere and are connected at the hip to the athletes....especially Ted Ligety. Its been pretty funny but very exciting at the same time. Some great PR for the Team.

A little about the resort here too....Portillo is how skiing should be. The people here are wonderful and very friendly. The employees take care of any request you have and do it with a warm smile. The food is absolutely amazing too. Portillo has been a family owned resort since about 1930. The resort here is all inclusive and holds only about 500 that means there's no more than 500 people on the entire ski area at once! Can we impose this in CO??? Its so beautiful and I'm so lucky to be here.

Thanks for checking in. I'll have more in the days to come...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arrived and settled

It took nearly 24 hours traveling door-door but we're here and this place is absolutely amazing! The Andes are incredible and absolutely dwarf the Rockies. The scenery is incredible and everything is so green near Santiago. Here's a photo of Mount Aconcagua (the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at 22,841 ft) in the distance during our 2.5 hour drive from Santiago - Portillo.
I met most of the Men's US Team at the Airport in Atlanta which was badass. The're all awesome and nice guys and were eager to hear about how I won this trip. Coaches, docs, and trainers have been welcoming too. Great group of people!

We weren't able to get on snow today but played volleyball in the gym here with the team to work off the steam from traveling all night. Looks like we'll have early mornings to get out while the snow is rock hard. Haven't gotten the daily itinerary yet but looks like speed training (Downhill/SG) in the AM's and tech training (GS/SL) and dryland conditioning in the PM.

Here's a quick video of most of Portillo:

Oh and here's the view from my hotel window.....enough said.....I'm spoiled!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Portillo, Chile Baby!

Hello everyone who may be following this!
Today is Wednesday Sept 15th and I'm leaving for Portillo, Chile to ski with the US Ski Team in less than 48 hours! This is going to be an absolutely amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip that the US Ski Team, Nature Valley, and NASTAR have put together for me. I can't thank these sponsors enough for this highly anticipated experience.
This trip was awarded to me last March after I won the raw time at the NASTAR Finals Race of Champions in Steamboat Springs, CO. I consider myself extremely lucky to have this opportunity to walk in the same shoes as our US athletes as they're preparing for the World Cup season 2010 Olympics.
While I'm down there, I'm hoping to get to know the team and how a typical day is run during their intense pre-season training. Want to get involved but not too much as its all business for them down there. I'd like to see how they run their strength and conditioning as I run my own personal training business and I'm very into health and fitness. Hopefully they'll gimme a shot...
Finally, I wanna get the full Portillo experience and ski hard all day and party all night! Excited to experience the culture and ski some intense terrain which few resorts in N. America hold. I'm sure I'll get some good photos and videos so stay tuned.....
Robby Zehner