OST Camp #3: El Colorado, Chile
Submitted by OST Men’s Coach Cam McKenzie on behalf of OST coaches Kip Harrington and Katie Twible.
September 6, 2018 — Earlier this week, the Ontario Ski Team wrapped up their third on-snow project of the 2018-2019 season. Alongside fellow Ontario skiers from SOD, NCO, the U16 High Performance Program, and several OST alumni, the team based their training at El Colorado in Lo Barnechea Region, Chile. For a second year in a row, the facility continues to provide some of the best training found anywhere in the world at this time of year. Although it has been a below-average year for snowfall in the area, it meant the surface that remained was consistently stable, grippy, and, overall, world-class.
Generally, it was a camp filled with hard work, excitement, opportunity, and success. The focus while on snow was to continue to emphasize the technical and tactical fundamentals that we have been working on throughout the prep. period while increasing the intensity and challenge of the environments in which the athletes are performing. During the camp, the team was introduced – for the first time this season – to full-length course sets, variations of terrain, and performance-on-demand through timing and race simulation. The athletes responded well to the increased intensity and demand. They continued to find stronger, more balanced positions on the ski and demonstrate better tactical understanding, all the while increasing their power output and speed. Most impressive was the level of consistency the athletes demonstrated during the camp. While challenge and intensity increased, finish rates and performance remained high.
El Colorado also saw the OST’s first speed training of the season to the excitement of all team members. El Colorado offers an exceptional introductory speed environment with elements of terrain, technical sections, gliding and high speeds. While there are always some nerves associated with getting back on the “long boards” and increasing speed, the athletes where enthusiastic about getting some wind in their faces and continued to push their limits throughout each session on the track. Our Super-G training also provided an opportunity to train with some of Canada’s most talented and successful racers from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. The women’s speed team were welcoming, encouraging, and offered their knowledge and experience to the OST athletes during our training together. It is always an honour to train with some of the best skiers in the world and it was certainly a highlight of the camp. .
In other positive news from the camp, Brianna MacDonald (Osler) joined the women’s program for her first on-snow project of the year as she returns from an injury suffered late last season. On a shortened camp with a lightened workload, she performed exceptionally and showed both technical and performance improvements beyond the expectations of the coaching staff. Additionally, the OST Men finished their camp with one GS race in El Colorado and one SL race in La Parva. While results were difficult to come by, Sam Duff and Britton Quirk showed confidence and composure in the preparation and performance not usually seen at this point in the season. The race was good source of learning and evaluation and left the guys hungry to get the poles over the wand again.
This next month we will see the OST athletes return to the gym for another block of prep period condition under the guidance of David Bentley and the Canadian Sports Institute Ontario (CSIO). Following the team’s time on snow in Chile, the athletes are feeling strong and confident on their skis and motivated to get back on snow in Europe in October. It’s great to see this level of enthusiasm and energy from the team.
Cam, Katie & Kip