Have you ever wondered how a U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete stays busy over the summer months? Bring in, George Steffey. As the valedictorian for his graduating class at Stratton Mountain School in 2015, George is a local inspiration to skiers and riders alike, reminding us all that hard work, determination, and putting your mind into full focus will create outstanding opportunities for yourself. Congratulations on being selected to the 2020-21 U.S. Alpine Ski Team. Stay fast, George!
With a global pandemic in full swing, this summer has certainly been unusual. Our typical trips to Europe, South America, and New Zealand were obviously not possible with the travel restrictions in place, so we were limited to gym training and domestic on-snow camps. Fortunately, the U.S. ski resorts were able to pull off some better than average training on our home turf. After successfully completing our first on-snow camp at Copper Mountain in June, our team was able to get several more weeks on-snow in July and August at Mt. Hood’s Timberline resort. With several days of freezing temperatures at night, we had many productive days of training with hard snow and blue skies.
While the pandemic certainly challenged us to hit our gate count and target number of days on snow, one thing I won’t be lacking going into the season is fitness. Fewer days on snow has meant more time in the gym. At the beginning of the summer, my team formed a “bubble” in which we skied, worked out, and lived together. We’ve spent a lot of time with the same bunch of guys, but they are some of the best teammates I could ask for. After working out alone all spring, it’s been fun to be back in an environment with teammates and coaches pushing each other to be better at everything we do. In general, our strength and conditioning focused on training aerobic capacity and baseline fitness this spring, followed by strength and power this summer, and finally has concluded with strength endurance and power endurance this fall. Nearly all of our workouts were outside which was fun and chilly at times with a few September mornings below freezing!
As an avid outdoorsman, my recreational activities were, for the most part, unchanged this summer. One perk of having our on-snow training in the U.S. this summer was that it allowed for some awesome fishing opportunities in Oregon and Colorado. I was also able to get more familiar with the fly fishing in Utah, as Park City is our home base when we aren’t on snow. On the weekends I would often drive up to Wyoming where camping, fishing, and hiking are truly epic. One of the highlights of the summer for me was a night I had fishing the North Fork South Platte River in Colorado, where I had a non-stop dry fly action!
After a long hiatus from skiing in Europe, I am finally on my way now to the snowfields and glaciers of Austria to begin prepping for the World Cup opener in Soelden. With a great summer of on and off-snow training behind me, I feel confident and ready to start this next block of training leading into the race season. As I write this, Hintertux, the resort I am headed to, just received nearly a foot and a half of snow. Fingers crossed for some hard snow and clear weather moving forward, but I will get the job done with whatever I can get out there.