December 22, 2006
Olympian Coaches Camp
MARQUETTE, Mich.—Three-time Olympic alpine skier and 20-time World Cup medalist Kristina Koznick (Burnsville, Minn.) will be a guest coach at the Central Division Tech Camp Dec. 28-30 at Marquette Mountain Ski Area in Marquette. The training camp has already reached its capacity, drawing 80 youth from eight states across the Midwest. It will concentrate on techniques for slalom and giant slalom.
“She [Koznick] is considered America’s top female slalom skier,” said project leader Kristian Saile, who has worked with many of the nation’s best alpine skiers. “She made the national team at only [age] 15; she was the youngest American woman to ever compete in an alpine World Cup. She’s a four-time U.S. skier of the year and a five-time national champion, but she’s had some bad luck around the Olympic Games. An injury kept her out of Lillehammer. In Torino, she was a medal contender, but she hurt her knee before the Games.”
Participants will be separated into two groups according to age: 12-15, and 16 and up. There was no application process for entry as it’s considered a “grassroots” camp. However, some of the region’s finest skiers are expected to attend, including athletes from St.OlafCollege in Minneapolis.
“For the younger skiers, the camp’s focus will be on developing fundamental skiing skills,” said Saile. “For the older athletes, it’ll be a refresher on fundamentals, but it will focus more on tactics.”
Saile will coach the older group while fellow camp organizer Rob Worrell, the Rocky-Central regional development coach for the U.S. Ski Association, will work with the younger skiers. A dozen other prominent coaches from the Midwest will serve as small group leaders. Six to eight volunteers will also help with the three-day event. The recently retired Koznick will work with all groups, offering her expertise and inspiration to the up-and-comers.
“Just like these kids [participating in the camp], she’s from the Midwest, which isn’t known for its mountains, but she was able to succeed,” said Saile. “She’s going to talk more about her experience as a skier, the challenges she’s faced and the accomplishments she’s made in a camp presentation Thursday night.”
As the central alpine competition and development manager for USSA, Saile and his co-worker Jill Rogers are no strangers to hosting world-class athletes and events. They’ve organized numerous training camps, junior championships and international races. They’re expecting 700-750 athletes, parents and coaches to travel to Marquette for this season’s junior championships at the end of February.
“We always like to have our camps and competitions in Marquette because MarquetteMountain is willing to give us a huge section of the hill and we have our central regional office in the USOEC [United States Olympic Education Center],” he said.
Saile hopes that having camps and competitions in the Marquette area will attract more people to the sport and foster their development.
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