Downhill Women Find Plenty of Snow

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Zermatt, Switzerland, Oct. 9, 2000--While Austria - where they're headed next - has been walloped with a big dump of snow, U.S. womendownhillers in Zermatt have had excellent, if abbreviated, conditions for training.

"We're really lucky," DH/SG Head Coach Jim Tracy said Monday, "because in Austria they're pretty snowed in. Frankie Kelble, C Team coach, ata camp in Hintertux, Austria and his girls have had only a couple of free-skiing days. Two days ago, it was just a little foggy for us and we stilltrained, but Frankie got almost a meter of snow...and it seems there's been something rolling through about every three days.

"We're getting really good training, but it's just a little short because they've closed the top flats, so we've got only about two-thirds of the downhillcourse...but we're flying; they girls are really going! One went 134 clicks kilometers per hour today, 133 yesterday...they're moving, really goinggood!"

The six women include Picabo Street (Park City, UT), Kirsten Clark (Raymond, ME), Alison Powers (Winter Park, CO), Megan Gerety(Anchorage, AK), Jonna Mendes (Heavenly, CA) and Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO). Kelble's group stopped at the Calspan WindTunnel in Buffalo, N.Y., for two days of testing; it was their first trip to the wind tunnel, Tracy said, "and went well - and now they're trying to applywhat they learned to their skiing."

The Zermatt camp follows a strong on-snow camp in Chile where the team also had good snow conditions. "The Chile camp was really good; theyhad tons of snow and we had three downhill courses going with our men and the Austrian men, so there was a lot going on and plenty of room to doit. I was really happy with that camp, but one thing that's made it even better is the way the girls have been skiing here," Tracy said.

"We've had a great downhill camp here, but y'know you can ski great in August but if you don't carry that to the next camp, then you have to takesteps back and get going again. But we've kept it going here and we're hoping to get a few good days in Pitztal Austria until the 16th."

The U.S. women leave Zermatt Tuesday and head to Austria's Pitztal Glacier for super G and GS training. "If we can get three days of good skiing,we can get a lot accomplished," Tracy said.