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Moving Up in the Downhill


To prepare for this year's international competition, the best skiers in the country—101 of them—gathered at Vail, Colo. last month for two weeks of intensive training under the fierce eye of Coach Bob Beattie. Since it was largely on the basis of intrasquad performances that the 13 youngsters who eventually made the 1965 team were selected, the air crackled with energy. Most of the training time was devoted to down-hill racing, a U.S. weakness, especially in the women's division. "It's the prestige event," said Beattie. "We must improve." Toward that end Beattie named Chuck Ferries, the former Olympian, to help coach the 28 girls in camp. At first many of them were leery of Vail's steep downhill run, but by the end of the session they seemed to be enjoying it. Equally enjoyable was the fact that at Vail there were three boys for every girl.

Trainees Suzy Chaffee and Cathy Allen (43) look fascinated and a Vail husky looks bored as Dennis McCoy demonstrates a downhiller's tuck. In need of practice but not much instruction was Jean Saubert (above), medalist in the 1964 Olympics.

Using her after-ski hours to best advantage, Suzy Chaffee (left), a freshman at Denver University, trades stories with 20-year-old Ni Orsi, the leading downhill skier on the U.S. team.

After racing 20 miles of downhill during the day, Vicki Jones, Sandy Shellworth, Wendy Allen and Suzy Chaffee (left to right) loosen their muscles in the 180° heat of a Finnish sauna.

Frank Emery (left, below) and Olympic slalom medalist Jimmy Heuga console Poppy Mull, a 20-year-old law student who broke her foot during a downhill run the day after Christmas.