Signature moment for U.S. Ski Team |

Signature moment for U.S. Ski Team

Bryce Evans
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Mark Fox/Summit DailyU.S. Ski Team racers Tague Thorsos, right, Steven Nyman, Marco Sul­livan, Erik Fisher and Chris Beckmann sign autographs during a meet and greet at the Breckenridge Recreation Center Thursday evening.

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. ” Athletes commonly say that putting on a Team USA jersey doesn’t just signify the level they have reached in their sport. It also comes with a sense of honor and responsibility for representing their country.

That’s why, when the men of the U.S. Ski Team participated in a “meet and greet” at the Brecken­ridge Recreation Center Thursday night, it was an opportunity to connect with the people that they are competing for, the fans that support them.

“It’s great to be able to give back and see how excited they are to see us,” said Chris Beckmann, 22, in his fourth year with the team.

“It gets us really fired up to go out there and do well,” teammate Will Brandenburg added.

The U.S. skiers still have a bit of time before they can start competing, which is why the team is cur­rently training in Summit County.

They have been hitting the slopes at both Copper Mountain and Loveland, while doing some condi­tioning work at the rec center.

While locals are hitting the gym, they are sharing the facility with former Olympians such as Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan as well as up-and-coming skiers like Travis Ganong, Beckman and Brandenburg.

“The people here have been great,” Brandenburg said. “That’s why it’s fun to come out and sign autographs and be able to see the look on kids’ faces.”

The signing Thursday night, assistant coach Ben Black said, was the least the team could do for getting to train at the rec center.

“We were looking for a place that we could do our conditioning and obviously the facilities here are fantastic,” Black said of deciding on Breck as a base for his team’s dry-land work. “… We worked out a deal where [ the rec center] would comp all of our passes by us doing these poster signings and giving back to the communi­ty. It’s been a great partnership. … The boys love coming here.”

Over the past few weeks, the skiers have also gotten pretty used to being in the rec center.

The team has been on a weekly training schedule that includes three on-snow days with conditioning every afternoon.

“We don’t push the guys too hard with it, because our focus is the on-snow train­ing,” Black said of the conditioning. “We come in here and will have some fun playing basketball or walleyball, some days.”

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