Some of the best junior cross-country skiers in the U.S. were in the Sun Valley area the past week for a training program to help them hone their skills for international and future Olympic competition.
Hosted by the Sun Valley Ski Education Association, 43 junior skiers participated in the weeklong U.S. Western Junior Cross-Country Development Camp.
Development coordinator Rick Kapala, who coaches the Sun Valley Junior Nordic Ski Team, said many of the participants are future Olympians and have already competed nationally and internationally.
Five Sun Valley ski team members qualified for the camp: Taylor Sundali, Reid Pletcher, Mike Matteson, Alexa Turzian and Mali Noyes.
The camp consisted for training to learn world class techniques, race strategies, endurance physiology and nutrition. For summer training, cross-country skiers use roller skies that help imitate the movements needed on snow.
The participants are top members of various ski teams west of the Mississippi River.
"What we want to do is bring the best kids together," Kapala said. "The goal is to have a training camp where the best kids see each other and push each other to perform at a higher level.
"Cross country skiing is such an individual sport, but it's good to get the kids together," he said. "A lot of them have competed against each other before, but this gives them a chance to socialize and learn team work and develop camaraderie."