KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Alpine skiing coaches are also expert tree climbers.
That's because lofty perches provide better and more expansive views of lengthy downhill courses, letting them see the best lines down the mountain for their skiers.
Coaches from most of the big teams at the Sochi Games have claimed a tree along the Rosa Khutor course. On some trees there's even room for more than one coach.
U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearick explains the process.
"You first go up, put the rope up, and do the old telephone pole technique with spikes on your feet," he says. "Then the next days, you put your fixed line up and you just (climb) up, like you're doing a big wall."
Rearick's spot is on the Big Pan section of the course, midway down and just above the key Bear's Brow jump. He estimates that his perch is about 100 or 120 feet above the ground.
"There's advantages and disadvantages," Rearick said. "The advantage is I can see a lot more of the course. ... You can see the difference in line relatively well. The disadvantages are you don't see the angle when the athlete comes in and picks the ski up. So that's what we actually changed today, we put some different video spots to look at where you pick the ski up before the roll. On the ground. Coaches on the ground."
— By Andrew Dampf — Twitter http://twitter.com/asdampf
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