Bad Weather Scuttles European Camps


Pitztal, Austria, Oct. 24, 2000--Continued bad weather-the heavy snows and rains which plagued much of central Europe in the last two weeks-forced an early end to U.S. men's and women's preseason camps in France and Austria. Things looked better for the start of the Cafe de Colombia World Cup season Oct. 28-29 in Soelden, Austria.

"We got smoked by the weather (in Tignes, France) and sent the guys home on the 14th," said men's slalom and GS Head Coach Jesse Hunt. "Unfortunately, we just didn't have any luck at all. We lost some training days and the training we did get was pretty soft because of the snow that had fallen. It was a tough camp for us."

In Pitztal, women's Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj said Tuesday the poor weather had broken and his group of three tech skiers-Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO), Caroline Lalive (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Alex Shaffer (Park City, UT)-was enjoying solid training conditions. The group was training with the Austrian women "and we've been competitive...a little inconsistent, but generally right in there."

The sunshine and good snow were in sharp contrast to the rotten weather at mid-month. Downhill and super G Head Coach Jim Tracy had good training in Zermatt, Switzerland, and then ran into foul conditions on the Pitztal Glacier; Frank Kelble's C Team racers were able to train only a few days on Austria's Hintertux Glacier, Cernigoj said.

"Jim's group in Zermatt had a lot of luck and got four or five days of downhill and super G, but Frankie didn't have as much because of the weather in Hintertux. They only skied a few days. Then both of them came to Pitztal and tried to ski for a few days, but that didn't work out. It was foggy on top, pretty windy, and looking at the long-term weather report, we decided the best thing was to go home," the coach said. "It was just too bad to continue the camp. That was a tough decision but it was absolutely the right one; even three or four days after they left, it was still bad.

"Now, though, after 10 days or almost two weeks, it's been perfect weather," Cernigoj continued. "The (bad) weather cleared out and it's been a perfect situation for training for the tech group. We're pretty happy with the way things have gone."