COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (CBS4) – While the Winter Olympics are still more than three months away, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has already started training at Copper Mountain.

Copper Mountain has the longest training facility in the world right now and the U.S. Ski Team hopes that will mean gold.

“It’s amazing here at Copper. They always do a great job at putting down an amazing piece and now having this hill is just epic. It has everything; you have the flats, you have the steeps. It’s a great warm-up,” U.S. Ski Team member Steve Nyman said.

Nyman has been to two Olympics before but this time he wants to taste victory.

“I want to get a medal, and I’ve been to two Olympics so far, I’d like to really push for a medal this go around,” he said.

Nyman, along with about two dozen other members of the U.S. World Cup team were practicing on the downhill course on Thursday, along with Lindsey Vonn, who is still working her way back from a devastating knee injury she suffered in February. She looked fast on the course.

There are only four skiers that make the Olympics from each country in each discipline, but some Colorado natives are hoping the speed center at Copper will help them get there.

“I really like this time of year because I get to be so close to home,” said Alice McKennis, a Glenwood Springs native. “I grew up skiing at Copper Mountain a little bit, so it’s nice to be in the home state.”

“I grew up on Colorado snow and Colorado weather, Colorado altitude, so it’s my home,” Aspen native Wiley Maple said.

The training is exhausting.

“You’re using every muscle in your body to hold the forces in each turn, and you’re going turn to turn and just forcing your body through all these G’s, it’s rough,” Maple said.

There will be a couple opportunities to watch the skiers train in the next couple of weeks. Also, for the first time ever the men’s and women’s teams will be racing at Beaver Creek just after Thanksgiving.


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