Historically, skiers and snowboarders only got a very limited amount of runs down a race course before a race itself. But over the past two years, U.S. Ski and Snowboard has been working with Strivr, a VR training startup based in Menlo Park, California to give U.S. skiers and snowboarders a tactical advantage.
“STRIVR is used by some of the world’s most respected organizations, from Fortune 100 companies to professional sports teams. The STRIVR platform utilizes immersive technology (like VR and AR) to help individuals learn faster and more effectively, improving reaction time, pattern recognition, and decision making in the real world.” – Strivr
The VR allows skiers and snowboarders to ski the run many times over. This repetition of a ski course has proven to be very beneficial to the racers. Strivr claims some athletes have improved their reaction time by 20% after training with its tech.
“In simple terms, through the work U.S. Ski & Snowboard is doing with STRIVR in VR, the organization now has “mental access” to each course their athletes compete on, meaning they can mentally prepare for the race they are going to ski: the positions of the gates, the terrain, the way the turns appear—all this mental preparation and visualization is crucial to this sport at the highest level. Before STRIVR, it was impossible to get these repetitions unless you just closed your eyes. Now it’s completely possible and very advantageous for athletes competing right across the U.S. Ski & Snowboard sport spectrum.” – US Ski and Snowboard
There is no true substitute to on the snow training, but VR will remain an important training tool for Team USA.