LA PARVA, Chile - Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht and the U.S. Ski Team opened their first on-snow training block last week in Chile.
Normally the men's speed program trains in New Zealand this time of year, but opted for two training blocks in Chile instead.
Weibrecht, a Lake Placid native, is returning to snow after a successful ankle surgery in the spring.
"It's awesome being back on snow," Weibrecht said. "I've been here a few days, and I'm trying to get my feet back underneath me. Everything feels great with my ankle. There are no issues skiing. I don't even think about it anymore. Last year was rough because it was something that was always there. I'm just happy to be past it."
Weibrecht was joined by Audi FIS Alpine World Cup winners Steve Nyman of Sundance, Utah and Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley, Calif., along with Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley, Calif. It was Nyman's first time on snow since tearing his Achilles tendon last fall.
Newly named head coach Andreas Evers reported outstanding early progress as the athletes moved from gliding drills to giant slalom and super-G training.
This was the first opportunity for Weibrecht to work with Evers and the new men's coaching staff.
"Andrew has shown incredible improvement just in one week and Steven (Nyman) is also improving everyday," Evers said. "Marco (Sullivan) has had some issues with his back in the past, but that seems to be behind him and we're moving forward. Travis (Ganong) is in great shape and skiing very well."
Weibrecht arrived four days early to begin his return to snow. Nyman and Sullivan will stay in La Parva a week longer to continue training.
Weibrecht was scheduled to return to Lake Placid for his wedding Sunday, Sept. 2. He was to marry Denja Rand at Whiteface Club and Resort, which his family partially owns.
The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup speed season opens Nov. 24 in Lake Louise, Alberta, prior to the Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 Audi Birds of Prey race week in Beaver Creek, Colo.
"So far, the team is looking really good, our coaches are working well together and I think we will see continued improvement throughout the camp," Evers said. "It's a new group of athletes for me, but it's a great group to be working with."