The first training camp of the BSA's summer program was on the Stelvio glacier in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy. The Passo del Stelvio is the second highest paved pass in the Alps and is a very popular pass for tourists and cyclists alike with the border of Switzerland a mere 200m away.
However we were not there for the driving, instead we were more interested in the cable car station across the road and the glacier it lead to.
The journey started differently for everyone involved. With coaches coming in from Canada and London, and athletes coming from France, Italy and the UK, many miles were covered to coordinate the logistics of setting up camp. By the time the team were all together we opted to stay lower in altitude at the BSA's English Champs base (the National Park hotel) in Isolaccia. This gave us all time to acclimatise, organise the kit, goal set for the camp and recover from the travel.
A couple of days in and we moved base up to the Pass itself moving into the Pirovano hotel at 2757m. This eliminated the 48 daily hairpins on the drive up the north side of the pass and focused the athletes for their high performance camp. It was a small team, 10 athletes in total, 2 coaches, 60 gates and a training lane all to ourselves. The snow cover was brilliant, mainly due to the wintry weather conditions that we were experiencing at the start of the camp, and the turn-around was exceptionally quick. It was also quiet and easy to get some of the more interesting training areas to ski within. Stelvio has 3 main training lifts, with flat to steep terrain, speed lanes and lanes filled with rollers.
The team had a number of days on the slalom skis first working on the goals we had agreed through panelled slalom courses. These were very effective sessions building on some foundations that set the athletes up for the rest of the camp. Days on the hill are quite short at this time of year so the early afternoons were spent eating from the Italian buffet to refuel and resting before the afternoon dryland session. At that altitude it was really easy to get the heart rate up so we tended to opt for intense but short sessions training a variety of types of fitness without over-tiring. The gym and the swimming pool in the hotel helped us out a lot. Each evening started with video analysis and a team meeting before eating a 4-course dinner. The athletes could slot in tuning their skis wherever suited them best and early nights were had by all.
In following this daily routine, before we knew it we were over halfway through our 10 training days and decided to take a day off the skis to recover for the final push of Giant Slalom skiing. We took the athletes down out of altitude for the day and drove over to the tax free town of Livigno for some active recovery activities. The final GS stint whizzed past by training a series of gradients, sets and by adjusting to new equipment for many. The coaches were really happy with the success of the camp, the focus of the athletes and changes that were made. Many of the athletes travelled back home and a handful went back to the new BSA base (Hotel Miage) in Aosta for some R&R before the Cervinia summer camp started a couple of days later. For a taster of what happened there, check out the video in the post below.....
Welcome back to Bradley Morgan, our newest full-time coach, joining us this summer. Brad is a superb athlete with a sub-50 FIS point profile across three Alpine disciplines and a recent career in professional road cycling, some of us already know him as an inspirational mentor and a true enthusiast. We couldnâ€™t be more pleased.<o:p></o:p>
Coach Brad is "looking forward to getting stuck into everything and turning these whippersnappers into rippersnappers!" <o:p></o:p>