Tuesday, November 22, 2005
After a busy summer of training at home and abroad, the members of U.S. Ski Jumping Team hope to see their hard work pay off during the opening of World Cup competition this week in Finland.
Steamboat Springs jumpers Clint Jones and Tommy Schwall will join teammate Alan Alborn for the first Special Jumping World Cup competitions in Kuusamo, Finland, on Friday. The American skiers also will compete in a second competition Saturday.
"I will evaluate their performances to see who goes on with the rest of the World Cup tour and who goes up the road to start the Continental Cup," coach Corby Fisher said.
Either way, the U.S. team plans to have skiers competing in World Cup and Continental Cup competitions as it moves closer to the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, in February.
In an effort to make sure the team is prepared, Fisher said the American team plans to attend World Cup competitions in Kuusamo and Trondheim, Norway. However, Fisher said weather conditions could limit the team's stay in Europe. If the snow conditions don't improve, the U.S. team might end the first of three competitive periods in Harrachov, Czech Republic, and return to the United States, Fisher said.
But if the team is doing well or if snow conditions improve, the squad might hang around for a World Cup event in Engleburg, Switzerland, just before Christmas.
The U.S. team also will send Jim Denny and Skyler Keate, who will join assistant coach Larry Stone, for Continental Cup meets in Roveniemi, Finland, on Dec. 4 and 5, and in Lahti, Finland, on Dec. 7 and 8.
"Luckily, the World Cup and Continental Cup tours both start in Finland, and after a week apart, meet up in Harrachov, so we can gather the guys and train as a team. It will be a good atmosphere that I know will pay off in terms of results," Fisher said.
It will be important for the Americans because the first period of winter competition is the start of the Olympic qualification process, and those who perform well will have a head start on representing the U.S. Ski Team at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Italy.
"We are all looking forward to this winter, and we are ready to rock and roll out on the tour," Fisher said.
Fisher said his team was able to practice on plastic until late October, but like the rest of the world, it has been waiting to get back on snow.
"The whole skiing world has been scrambling to find early snow this year," Fisher said.
The team got a few training jumps in late last week when the jumps in Park City opened for the season. Fisher said his jumpers were able to conduct get a few sessions that should help when the season opens this week.
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