Five mogul skiers from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will leave for Australia on Friday to kick off snow training.
“Mainly, it’s our first on-snow training camp of the summer and fall, but there is an opportunity for us to ski at Australian Nationals,” said head coach Lars Johnson. “But the main reason is to train on snow, on site, on a moguls course to give these kids opportunity to transfer from water ramps on Bald Eagle (Lake) to snow, and Australia is best for that.”
Steamboat’s Landon Windler, 17; Bubba Antkiewicz, 17; Kenzie Radway, 15; Spencer Belsky, 18; and Maggie Ryan, 20, will be traveling to Australia, along with other scheduled trips to Switzerland and British Columbia before the U.S. Freestyle Selections on Dec. 16 in Winter Park.
Each athlete comes into the camp with different goals. Ryan is coming off of a shoulder injury, so she’ll be focusing on technical work on the skis with minimal jumping.
Radway, the youngest of the group, is transferring her 360 and backflip from the water ramp to her first big international ski camp.
Windler, Antkiewicz and Belsky are like Radway, each coming in to focus on new tricks to transfer from water to snow and on a more difficult mogul course than they’re used to at Perisher Ski Resort.
“The one in Australia is quite challenging so being able to practice is quite the challenge,” Johnson said. “And becoming consistent in everything that they’re doing from jumps to skiing, becoming comfortable with the tricks they will be learning and getting those ready for U.S. selections.”
The group will spend three weeks in Australia, including 14 days in the snow and two days of traveling to get there. Four attend school online, while Windler will be missing his first week of public school.
Each day starts at 7 a.m. with a commute to the mountain for a four-hour training on snow. Then, athletes retreat to the gym for one to two hours before reviewing video, doing schoolwork and having dinner.
“Pretty rigorous schedules, since the sole purpose is training,” Johnson said.
The training concludes with the Australian Nationals, where both male and female reigning Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalists will compete. The competition will also play host to the Canadian, French and Japanese national teams.
It’s a taste of what the winter sports athletes hope is next in their careers — a spot on the U.S. National Team.
“We’ll be surrounded by Olympians,” Johnson said. “It’s a great opportunity for these kids to ski alongside their idols and see what that whole next level is on this trip.”