The skiing here has been unreal lately. Many feet of snow has been falling followed by sunshine breaks providing for epic conditions. Everything is skiing great. I have been skiing with anyone who wants to show up at 10 am at the top of the Funitel as part of the “Ski with Jonny” days. You would think it might be slow and boring but even with groups as big as 40, we have been having a great time. After the first few warm-ups we get after it and I have been really impressed with the caliber of skiers. Come on out if you are around. squaw.com
Since I spouted off last wed. on my radio show (Sirius 28/XM 52 Wed. 7 pm eastern) I shot off to Beaver Creek Colorado for the Alpine skiing World Cup. I have only been to two other alpine world cup races, one was the Olympics in Torino. The other was a ladies race in Aspen.
The Birds of Prey downhill is the highlight of this world cup, the only stop in the states. I was skiing around The Beave enjoying my 1st day on snow getting ready to watch the start of the downhill. When it was time I tried to ski over and watch it but they would not allow spectators anywhere near the thing, You had to take a bus from the base to get to the spectator area. For real, I was going to miss Bode Miller go.
I did the natural thing and ducked some ropes and got myself up tight to the part of the course they call the brink because it drops off significantly. I skied this area before and it is definitely steep and dangerous at high speed. When I got in there no one seemed to care. There were just a bunch of coaches hanging out and I have lots of stickers on my helmet so I fit right in. I watched form there for awhile then the guy who lays down the dye for the course recognized me and told me to head down to The Pumphouse for a better view. I did, poaching some pow turns on the way which were overrated on my non pow skis. Any way I missed the cut because there were people standing guard and I ducked into the other area and skied right into a euro guy getting ejected by patrol. I told the patrol the truth, that I ducked and I wanted to see Bode, just as I said that, Bode crashed in front of us. Too bad, I really did not even get to see him rail a turn.
The course workers were, cool, we took some pics and they let me slide in the course and work my way down to the Golden Eagle jump. The racers come in hot to that thing and go about a hundred feet to slap ice before they crank a hard left. Downhill racing is hairball. It’s like moto racing with you feet attached to the pegs. When they crash sometimes their skis release sometimes not. A couple guys got hurt but the Americans were alright, best result was a 7th for Nyman. On the bus ride on the way home from the course people only were talking about Bode and his crash and that he had been out late. Par for the course. I did see him shortly before I left the only bar in town, The Coyote around 12am. I woke up the next morning thinking to myself, damn what if I had to race downhill today. Scary.
Overall the Alpine WC scene was great. Even though you really can’t even see the races which is pretty lame ( they should definitely find a way to get people on the side of the course) just being there among an international crowd and having the racers doing there thing is cool. It is definitely, primarily, a social event with the racing merely a topic for discussion.
The skiing was great for early season. Lots of little soft bumps. I was out with a bunch of snowboarders and I kind of felt sorry for them. It just is the wrong piece of equipment for the conditions we had. Even on the groomers it looked kind of brutal. You know I love snowboarding but it does not makes sense for like 80% of the conditions. Even the good snowboarders in our group were slower and they look like they are getting punished the whole way. Thank god this is the case because skiing would be really dead by now. I think downhill racing and moguls have saved skiing because those are the two most common activities on the mountain they just happen to be much better on skis. Powder still rules on a snowboard as long as you have a steep pitch and never get stuck in the flats. I swear I’m not a hater! But I do like physics.
Super g was like groundhog day for the Americans, Bode screwed up and Nyman was the top finisher. I flew out on Sunday, the day that the dependable and talented Ted Ligety was to race Giant Slalom. He performed, coming in 2nd by 1/100 of a second. That is tight. When he finished he could not believe it. He looked visibly frustrated. I watched it live thanks to universal sports. I was in the airport in Vail on the county’s free wireless watching the race live streaming through NBC’s Universal sports formerly WCSN. It was awesome, loved being able to do that. I walked on the plane with my computer open watching the race as I walked. When I went to sit down the old guy sitting next to me made an old man wise crack that I must be important to be walking and watching my computer all the way onto the plane. Then I told him what I was doing, and how. I explained to him Wi-fi and he was thoroughly impressed and watched with me. Of course, at the end he exited by saying happy streams or something cheesy like that. Getting old must be a bitch, in fact this guy launched into that right away explaining that his buddies are all dying or have some issues. His suggestion to me was to have friends of all ages so you don’t lose them all at once.
Speaking of technology I rode into Beaver creek from the airport in an escalade that was super pimp. Direct TV playing while Sirius/XM was on the radio and I had the wi-fi rolling as well all at the same time. I took a pic, check it out.
Let’s look to the future:
Long rangeforecast for squaw. The ten day looks like: Snow starting on Dec. 13th for tahoe 90% chance o snow on xmas
Taos 13 inches
Silverton 12 inches
Wolf creek 10 inches