VAL GARDENA, Italy (AP) – Bode Miller is frustrated with the U.S Ski Team’s new rules that prevent him from sleeping in his personal trailer as he prepares for World Cup races in Val Gardena, where he’s never won.

The team is requiring skiers to sleep in the team hotel rather than personal trailers. The rule appears designed to rein in Miller, who left the Turin Olympics last winter with no medals but plenty of criticism for his late-night partying.

“It’s a pain. It’s obviously a lot less convenient,” Miller told The Associated Press on Thursday while walked back to his RV after finishing eighth in a downhill training run.

“To be able to stay in it until 10:30 at night and then have to drive to the hotel, sleep there, wake up a little bit earlier in the morning and drive back. It’s just pointless.”

Miller has never finished in the top three in Val Gardena and hopes to improve his record in Friday’s super-G and Saturday’s downhill on the Saslong, one of the five classic courses on the World Cup circuit.

“These races are easy ones to get excited for and I’ve never really done well here,” Miller said. “It definitely is an awesome course – super fun.”

It has only snowed once in Val Gardena this winter and the course has thin snow cover, meaning skiers will feel the bumps more than usual.

“The entrance to the Ciaslat was like racing into a mogul course at 62 mph,” said Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein, who won his first downhill in Val Gardena last year. “The course is very selective. You have to be lucky not to be thrown from your ideal line.”

The Ciaslat is the trickiest section of the 2.1-mile course. Skiers enter the section on a jump, have to turn immediately after landing and make their way through a series of awkward curves on extremely bumpy terrain. Switzerland’s Didier Cuche led both Wednesday and Thursday’s training. Cuche was fastest Thursday in the downhill, finishing in 1 minute, 57.09 seconds.

Ambrosi Hoffmann was second, 0.11 seconds behind, and Olympic champion Antoine Deneriaz was third, 0.21 back.

Buechel finished fourth and Miller was eighth, 0.51 behind, despite slowing down as he crossed the finish line.

Cuche has never finished higher than sixth in Val Gardena over his 12-year career. Cuche has finished in the top 10 in all four races he’s completed this season and is third in the overall standings.

“Cuche has to be looked at as the favorite right now,” Miller said.

“He’s been the most solid all year. It just seems like he’s been putting down more consistently good skiing than anyone else.”

Steve Nyman was the next American finisher in training, in 33rd position. Nyman pulled his right hamstring in a fall in Wednesday’s training and had trouble keeping his line Thursday.

American Marco Sullivan posted fast split times before missing a gate midway through his training run.

“It’s challenging, there’s a lot of terrain,” Sullivan said. “You’re in the air probably 30 times on the course. There’s always something to worry about at each gate.”

Utah native T.J. Lanning sat out Thursday after the stitches holding his broken hand together came apart when he touched the ground while landing a jump Wednesday.

“He came down, took his glove off and you could see the bones in his hand,” team spokesman Marc Habermann said.

Miller won the season’s previous downhill in Beaver Creek.

, is trying to avoid more falls and is consulting more often with nutritionist Adam Carey this season.

“I’ve always taken myself pretty seriously,” Miller said. “It’s just somebody who I believe has a little bit more information to give. Anytime I have questions, it’s someone I can contact.

“I ask him about different ideas like how to get more energy for a quick explosive race like a slalom. What to eat, what to drink. How soon to be drinking sports drinks before races, stuff like that.”

AP-ES-12-14-06 1639EST

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