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Stars training at Mt Hutt

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Two of the biggest names in world skiing, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal and American Bode Miller, have started summer training at Mount Hutt for the upcoming World Cup season.

One of the biggest racers in the "White Circus" at 1.89m and 97kg, Svindal showed his all-round skiing ability by pipping Benjamin Raich for the overall World Cup title last northern winter with 1268 points to the Austrian's 1255.

The 25-year-old was a double gold medallist at this year's world alpine ski championships in Are, Sweden, winning both the downhill and giant slalom while placing fifth in the super-combined. He also won a silver in the combined at the 2005 worlds in Bormio, Italy.

While Svindal is part of a Norwegian team of seven athletes training at Mount Hutt through until August 22, Miller announced this year that he would be leaving the US ski team and skiing independently.

Now 29, Miller two years ago became the first American since Phil Mahre in 1983 to win the overall World Cup title.

In the process he won seven individual cup races, becoming only the second man to win in all four main disciplines in the same season.

He was fourth overall in the 2006-07 World Cup standings, including winning the super-G speciality cup. A double gold medallist at both the 2003 and 2005 world championships, Miller also won two silvers at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

The high-profile American disappointed with his failure to win a medal at the 2006 Bormio Winter Games – his best result was a fifth in the downhill – and he came under fire at the time for a "party lifestyle".

Miller has won 25 World Cup races and registered 53 podium results.

Mount Hutt race department's Paul Marks said spectators could watch the world's fastest skiers in action between nine and 10 each morning.

Top German slalom skier Felix Neureuther, coming back from shoulder injury, was also training at Hutt.

The Austrian women's and men's teams and the Swiss women's ski team will be using Mount Hutt's training lanes later in the season.