Road to the Olympics: Ski teams training in ramps and pools


This story was originally published on August 14, 2017.

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect.

The U.S. ski team has to practice, but how do they do that in the summer, without snow?

The team did well at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, winning 12 medals, five of them gold. They hope to make another “splash” four years later.

“In the end of the summer here we’re doing the exact jumps that we’ll be doing hopefully for a gold medal jump at the Olympics,” says Mac Bohonnon.

In other words, no snow! No problem. Not in Park City, Utah anyway. In summer, the athletes use water instead.

“We still work on our landings here and looking at the ground and making sure you’re prepping for that landing. This facility is huge for us. It’s the best offseason training you can get,” says Ashley Caldwell.

“There are a few very similar ones. One in Canada, one in Switzerland, a few hidden in China, places like that. But at this level, definitely not,” adds Jon Lillis.

Part of Utah Olympic Park, it was built in the early 1990’s and used during the 2002 Olympics hosted by Salt Lake City.

The biggest question…what’s it like to land in water?

“Some people kind of forget that water really isn’t that soft, especially when you’re coming down from 60 feet in the air,” Bohonnon says.

“The bubbles definitely help aerate the pool and soften that landing for you. But at the end of the day I definitely get sore. Your ankles and your back. But no pain no gain, right?,” continues Caldwell.

Utah Olympic Park is hosting the U.S. Olympic team trials for ski jumping and Nordic combined. In December, with snow on the ground.

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