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Cool Summer: How Winter Olympians Train Without Winter

Three Winter Olympians shared how they're training in the lead-up to the Beijing Games.
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With Tokyo in the rearview mirror the Olympic world is focused on Beijing, where the Winter Games open in just three months. How do winter Olympians train when there is no winter? SI checked in with three elite skiers to see how they spent their summer, um, vacations.

(Interviews by Lila Bromberg and Dan Falkenheim.)

ASHLEY CALDWELL, FREESTYLE SKIING, PARK CITY, UTAH

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The three-time Olympian and former child gymnast has an extremely varied summer regimen that includes mountain biking, hiking and running; bungee-corded trampoline routines; lots of jumping off 10-foot ledges (to practice landings); and 60-foot aerial routines that end with a splashdown. “It’s definitely way less scary than the snow,” she says.

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JESSIE DIGGINS, CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, STRATTON, VT.

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The owner of the only U.S. Olympic gold in her sport—she and Kikkan Randall won the team sprint in 2018—spent much of the summer on wheels, roller-skiing through the mountains to, she says, “home in on those specific bursts of speed or power or muscular endurance that are really unique to our sport.” She’s also been weightlifting, running, biking and swimming—and she grabbed some snow time with an August trip to the Oberhof Ski Tunnel in Germany.

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MIKAELA SHIFFRIN, ALPINE SKIING, MAUI, HAWAII

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When the World Cup season ended in March, the two-time Olympic gold medalist was already thinking about Beijing. “You get to those last races and all the athletes are saying, I can’t wait to have a short break and go home,” Shiffrin says. “I was just thinking, I have some work to do.” She stayed limber during a quick Hawaiian vacation with stretching and beach soccer drills, then headed to Colorado for summer ski and conditioning camps: “[I’m taking] advantage of the time that I have to get my fitness exactly where I want it to be.”

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(A version of this piece appears in the October 2021 issue of Sports Illustrated.)

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Full Frame is Sports Illustrated's exclusive newsletter for subscribers. Coming to your inbox weekly, it highlights the stories and personalities behind some of SI's photography.

To get the best of SI in your inbox every weekday, sign up here. To see even more from SI's photographers, follow @sifullframe on InstagramIf you missed our story on how Luka Dončić Trae Young shared an SI cover without ever being in the same room, you can find it here.

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