COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. -- Just two weeks before its scheduled opening, the winding downhill course remains mostly covered in mud with hints of scrub brush poking through the only traces of snow in sight.
In years past, it would have taken a blizzard for this slope to have a shot at being skiable anytime soon.
Only, this isn't any year and this isn't any trail.
The U.S. Ski Team has invested millions to partner with Copper Mountain and launch its own training run at the resort from Nov. 1 to Dec. 10. There are 87 automated snowmaking guns on standby, prepared to work around the clock to blanket the nearly two-mile course and guarantee Olympic gold medalists such as Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Bode Miller and Ted Ligety an early base of solid snow under their skis.