Andy Newell: Training Camps 101

Successful training camps 101

For the past few weeks the SMS-T2 team has settled into the rhythm of training around Stratton with several group workouts per week and training with the club level skiers as much as possible.  I feel like it has taken the US a long time to figure this out but we’ve finally got a successful framework in place for developing skiers that follows one basic rule: If you want to get better, surround yourself with faster skiers and learn as much as you can from them. Simple.

That’s the lesson we’ve tried to pass on to the junior skiers in the SMS area but it’s also something we believe to be true even at the US Ski team level, which is why we think it’s so important to come together throughout the summer to push one another at training camps. During this off season the US Ski Team will come together for four different training camps in four different parts of the country: Bend OR, Alaska, Lake Placid NY, Park City UT.  Although the destinations and focus of each of these camps is unique, the basic principle remains the same: get faster by being pushed by your teammates.


Training partners change but goals remain the same.
Training partners change but goals remain the same.

Having just arrived in Alaska for our 2nd USST training camp of the year it’s always good to remind yourself why you’re here and what you want to accomplish. It’s cool traveling out to AK with my SMS teammates and watching the young guys like Ben jump into what will be one of their first US Team camps (just as I did when I came to Anchorage for my first US Team training camp as a high school skier back in 2001.)  Even now it will be tough, and it will be tiring but I’ve learned a lot by attending camps over the years, and as we dive into this AK hammer fest there are a few things I like to remember: training camp 101


  • Come in rested. It’s always better to take an extra day off going into camp so you can get the most out of the workouts.
  • Have at least 1 thing to work on each workout. We’re here to get better so whether it’s a technique goal or a fitness goal it helps to have very specific things to work on and improve
  • Bring earplugs…. Probably going to have a roommate the snores (won’t name names)
  • Know who to follow. It’s easy to ski on your own at home, so when in a group session know who you want to ski behind so you can mimic their technique and work on something different.
  • Choose your battles. You can’t win every workout, so my motto is always keep the easy easy and the hard hard.
  • Bring the guitar. Lot’s of down time, I think I’ve written all of my songs while at training camp it’s a good way to kick back.
Ben skates up a massive hill in todays 2.5 hour ski in Anchorage
Ben skates up a massive hill in todays 2.5 hour ski in Anchorage
  • Eat a lot. Bringing bars and snacks along during workouts and eating directly afterwards will keep you going for the full 2 weeks.
  • Bring extra equipment. During speed sessions with the USST, someone is going to break something, for sure.
  • Nap. I suck at it but it should be considered part of the job. Getting the legs up during the middle of the day is important.
  • Leave your ego at home. Especially since rollerski speeds can be different, you might need to do your distance or L3 at a different pace than the group. Do it and remember that it’s all about how fast you ski in February not July.
  • Have fun. Sounds lame but so true, there’s no point in putting in all this work if it’s not a fun process to enjoy with your buddies. When you’re putting in the long hours together and the hard workouts of the summer you build the strongest bond with your teammates.


At the top with EBJ, Brian Gregg, and Simi
At the top with EBJ, Brian Gregg, and Simi




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