By: Mystique Ro
It is now late October, time for the 2019 Skeleton National Team Trials. The critical point of the season where athletes race for a spot to compete on a circuit. This year, there are only nine athletes per gender competing. What makes this year’s trials interesting, is that the competition is split between two locations: Lake Placid, New York and Park City, Utah. This is huge! While many athletes would call Lake Placid their home track, there are still quite a few who would call Park City their “bread and butter”. For the past few years, Park City was unable to host NTT as their track was not ready to start the season. Ice prep is laborious and an expensive endeavor that needs constant maintenance. That being the case, Park City has been pretty strict regarding when they would open their track up for races.
So what does this mean?
Well, one might call this a move to even the playing field, but I personally see it as a way to test different sliding styles. Lake Placid is a track full of turns that come rather quickly while Park City works in big sweeping motions and high top speeds sooner. The ramps at the start are very different. Lake Placid has a long ramp that requires big powerful strides whereas Park City requires a quick turn over as soon as the first step with a quicker load.
All this creates a recipe for an interesting race environment. Literally, anyone’s race-anything can happen! Come November 4th, the National Teams will be announced and the season of international competition will begin. There is so much on the line but also so much to gain for everyone. I’m excited to race and support my teammates. The first snowfall is on the horizon, and we all know what that means: Winter is Coming.