FIS skiers up before the sun 

Ski club follows in national team’s tracks

When is the last time you got up before four in the morning?

Ever day this week FIS skiers with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club have been getting up before the sun to do some extra on-snow training, meeting at 4:30 a.m. to take advantage of the hard-packed conditions.

From the base of Whistler the group takes four-wheel drive trucks and vans to the Olympic Chair, which they then ride up to a snowcat. The snowcat takes them to the Roundhouse, where they put on their skis and head to the Peak Chair. By 6 a.m. they’re already training, racing gates and making speed runs down the face of The Saddle.

"It’s been good up there, we’re getting some good practices in," said Nigel Cooper, a coach for the WMSC FIS team and the program director for the club.

"We’re still getting some winter conditions up there. Once you get to 7 a.m., especially on a clear day like today, the sun is just blazing so it doesn’t last long, but it’s been unbelievable for us. It’s unbelievable the level of support from Whistler-Blackcomb, I doubt whether there’s another club in the world that’s getting this kind of opportunity."

The WMSC is following in the tracks of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, which followed the same schedule for the previous few weeks before heading to Alberta to train on snow at Sunshine Village and do dryland training in Calgary.

Whistler coach Sead Causevic helped to coach the national team camp, and shared his experience with the WMSC skiers.

The five-day camp started on Monday and wrapped up today.

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