A handful of U.S. cross-country skiers including five from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation's Olympic Development Program (ODP) are back on snow for the first time since the end of last season.
They are midway through the U.S. Nordic Ski Team's fifth consecutive pre-season trip Down Under to New Zealand.
"It's awesome. The weather's been super again," head coach Pete Vordenberg said Friday at The Snow Farm. "We've had tons of skiing and there's more snow than ever; really, this is our best year in terms of snow."
Two-time Olympians Andrew Johnson of Greensboro, Vt. and Torin Koos of Leavenworth, Wash. have been joined by their 2006 Olympic teammates Chris Cook of Wisconsin and Andy Newell of Vermont plus Morgan Arritola of Fairfield, Idaho and Liz Stephen of Montpelier, Vt.
Each has been nominated for the 2007 U.S. Nordic Ski Team, which is expected to be finalized by late summer.
Led by coach Abi Holt, Sun Valley ODP racers are also training at the Snow Farm through Aug. 21. They are Mike Sinnott, Zack Simons, Colin Rodgers, Kate Underwood and Nicole DeYong.
Sinnott, 21, a Dartmouth College racer who comes from Ketchum, was a member of the U.S. team at the 2006 Under-23 Cross Country World Championships in Slovenia. University of Utah racer Simons, 25, was 2005 Super Tour sprint champ.
Rodgers, 25, raced at Middlebury College. Subaru Factory Team racer Underwood, 25, graduated from University of New Hampshire and won the 2005 Craftsbury Marathon. And DeYong, 23, from University of Alaska Anchorage, won an NCAA Nordic Ski Championship silver medal in 2005.