The United States National Skiing Team began practising for the winter season very early this year -- and without a trace of snow around.
The United States National Skiing Team began practising for the winter season very early this year -- and without a trace of snow around. The Black Haw Ski Club of Madison, Wisconsin, has given the national team full use of its special facility, an artificial ski slope.
Although European skiers have been using artificial slopes for some time, this is the only one in North America. The surface of the slope is made up of plastic fibres coated with a continual stream of water, and the ski jumpers must coat their skis with a special liquid detergent to reduce friction. The feel of the artificial slope is almost the same as that of snow, and this allows the national team to practise their competition techniques in advance of the snow.
Lengthening the ski season in this way and allowing the ski-jumpers to begin their practice in the warmer weather of September are expected to increase the United States' chances in international competition once the real snow season gets under way. The national team has already begun to step up its training programme in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, in January 1976.