It's all downhill for Beckmann

Beckmann's years in Lake Placid paid off in 2004 when he was selected for the U.S. Ski Team's C squad.

"I was in the Bahamas vacationing with my grandparents when I found out," said Beckmann. "I was out snorkeling when my grandmother called out to me and said, 'It's your parents on the phone. They said you made the team.'"

In a matter of weeks, Beckmann was at the U.S. Ski Team's Park City, Utah facility training with Olympians such as Daron Rahlves and Ted Ligety.

"It was definitely a little bit of a shock to me, but it was exciting at the same time," said Beckmann. "I learned a lot from training with the other skiers."

Beckmann made his mark quickly when he placed sixth in the downhill at the 2004 Junior Worlds. The following year, he won the silver medal before his gold medal-winning run in 2006.

The transition from the Junior Worlds to the World Cup has been a slower process for Beckmann. In order to crack the U.S. Ski Team's A squad, he's devoted himself to an off-season strength training program in Park City and a grueling pre-season downhill training program that puts him on the trails as the sun is just rising over the Colorado Rockies.

"We're hitting the chairlift at 6:20 in the morning while it's still dark," said Beckmann. "You get on the chairlift and look down at the trail and say, 'It's a little dark to be skiing.' But the sun is up by the time you get to the top."

Two sessions of downhill runs per day have left Beckmann's body sore, but he said he still enjoys it.

"We have pretty intense training, but it's something I always look forward to," said Beckmann.

Beckmann is also looking forward to a potential berth on the U.S. Olympic team for the 2010 games in Vancouver, but he knows he needs more World Cup experience first.

"I'm hoping to make a few World Cup (races) this year and punch my ticket to the World Cup team," he said.""

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