AST Journal: Gavin Preziosi
After what has been the strangest off-season we have ever had to navigate, the AST was able to manage a successful camp to Saas Fee, Switzerland.
The team set off to Zurich on September 25 for a scheduled 18 days of training up on the beautiful Saas Fee glacier at 3500m above sea level. Talk about a shock to the lungs! After climbing 1800m in 25 minutes, with all of our gear and a bundle in tow, the coaching staff just about fell over! I’m happy to report that we adjusted nicely after the first few trips up and through the mountain (there’s actually a train that takes you up through the mountain after two gondola rides).
The camp started with five perfect days, the ones that all ski racers and coaches dream about: hard snow, sunny skies and happy faces. We all soaked in this return to snow and something resembling a normal season. This was surely going to be a camp for the ages, until a meter of snow fell which left us with three consecutive down days and skepticism on what we would get out of the camp.
As it turned out, 10 more consecutive days was what we had in store and we were determined to get the most out of this opportunity. Was it challenging? Absolutely. But everyone put their heads down and worked hard each day. Of course, we had to monitor fatigue and ensure the environments were appropriate each day, but I am proud of the effort everyone put in and the steps that were made.
All in all, I would chalk this trip up as a success. The team of athletes and coaches came together organically and were able to set the tone for the season. With the exception of one minor injury, all athletes are home healthy and ready to go for November.
I’d like to thank our wonderful host at the Hotel Tenne for their hospitality and food, the soccer field for some outstanding games, saves by Jimbo and the kneipp for its freezing cold rejuvenating dips. Of course this camp would never have happened without the 18 athletes and their families who put their trust in us to travel during these times. Thank you all for the opportunity and the lasting memories.
As we enter our North American ski season I want to assure you that once you get familiar with wearing a face mask all the time, it really is not that bad. Humans are extremely adaptable and I was shocked at how comfortable it all became as time passed.
Let us all stay safe and ski fast! The AST looks forward to seeing you all on the hill!