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Almost Home
Monday, February 27, 2006

I’m stashed away in Detroit for the next few hours indulging in copious amounts of food, champagne, and free internet access at the Northwest Elite Lounge before I catch a flight back to Boston. I’m still not entirely sure how I slid into this brilliant little establishment, but who cares. Free food just works.

The last few days have been a bit crazy. Our “simple, three hour drive to Madesimo, Italy” turned into an adventure when we ran into blizzard conditions navigating the open passes through Switzerland (we only arrived at one closed pass before turning around in pursuit of an alternative route). All seemed relatively well until we reached the final access road to Madesimo; it was too steep with too many switchbacks for our 8 passenger van. After getting stuck a number of times we spun a U-turn and rallied up the 3 mile access road backwards sliding all over the road until we turned a corner and were rear-ended by an out-of-control mini van. The damage wasn’t too bad, but we were forced to buy a pair of chains for 160 euros less than 400 yards from our hotel. Bruised and battered we finally crawled into our hotel room 6+ hours after we left Germany at damn near 10:00 PM. Moral to the story: always travel with chains. But it didn’t faze us; we’re used to a lot worse during the college carnival series.

I started 52 in the GS and had a good first run. It was really clean without any mistakes taking a relatively high line because the soft track demanded it. However, I missed the flip (top thirty start in reverse order in the second run) by two hundredths of a second. Second run went just like the first and I finished 34th on the day in my first Europa Cup.

The second day we raced slalom. Although no one on our team qualified for a second run (only the top 60 qualify), it was still a good day. I raced on yet another brand new pair of slalom skis and made a few mistakes so not qualify wasn’t disheartening. We were racing against a full World Cup field (I started 70th one worse than the World Cup in Beaver Creek). Anyway, the new skis are better and I can’t wait to get them up and running.

Take care, w

posted by Warner at 2/27/2006 10:43:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments


The last three days have been plagued with tough weather and inconstant snow. In the night slalom on the first day I drew bib 3, which was great (the top 15 ranked racers in each race start in random order). The snow was extremely soft, soft enough to stick a pole in the snow at least three feet down without reaching anything remotely hard. With such a good bib draw it was essential to drop the hammer and try to put some distance on the field in the first run and then just ski well in the second run. I pinned it and nearly did a front flip after I hit a hole in a poorly lit section of the course before I was ejected from the course 25 into the first run. The German that started first won the first run by 4 seconds, while 70 percent of the field didn’t finish the race.

The second and third day could have gone better. My slalom race skis broke last week and I’m racing on a brand new pair that hasn’t been skied in so my slalom definitely isn’t up to par especially in soft snow. Fischers, my ski of choice, ski best after they’re broken in so it looks like they’ll get better hopefully soon. All and all, this series turned out to be less than ideal, but my GS has promise. In the GS race today I blew out, but was skiing well.

Tomorrow we leave for Italy to compete in two Europa Cups (a GS and a SL) before we scoot home on Thursday. This will be another chance to race against some world class athletes since a bunch of Olympic slalom skiers will be using the race as a tune up for Torino.

posted by Warner at 2/27/2006 10:35:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

The Ligety
Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I’m not going to lie. I have a hangover right now. After watching Ted’s triumphant combined race last night, we hit the town, hard. It was truly amazing to see good ole Ted strike gold yesterday. I just can’t believe how well he’s skiing and how much speed he’s creating. He is the fastest slalom skier in the world right now, possibly ever. For those of you who don’t know Ted Ligety won the Olympic Gold in the combined.

If the Olympic skiing coverage is any good in the states and you had the opportunity to watch the combined (one downhill run and two slalom runs), then you might have acquire a better understanding of what the sport of ski racing is all about. It’s a crazy sport, an emotional rollercoaster and nothing can be taken for granted. One moment you’re sitting on gold, up by two seconds and the very next you’re standing in the finish looking at the board wondering what happened. Bode Miller and Benni Raich, the favorites to win, were both disqualified after they straddled, but that’s what ski racing is all about.

Yesterday we raced a GS at Hinterreit, one of our favorite training locations, and I skied well. Things are starting to click again. I finished 13 with an exceptional field and it will only get better from there. I figured a few things out free skiing and I’m starting to get more ankle flexion which means I can snap turns off with more precision. Not to mention, the injected ice rinks that we’ve been racing on makes you a much better skier. Small errors become catastrophic ones on injected snow.

We couldn’t get any hill space today so we’re taking it off (i.e. not skiing), but doing some dryland at Rif and tomorrow we’ll start getting ready for two slalom races on Friday and Saturday (the races at St. Michael were cancelled so we’re off to Germany tomorrow for a night slalom on Friday and a day slalom on Saturday). Then we’ll be off to Italy for a couple Europa Cups early next week.

Long live The Ligety, w

posted by Warner at 2/15/2006 12:51:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

A learning experience
Monday, February 13, 2006

The last few days we were racing and training slalom on injected snow in Obdach, Austria. Injected snow is basically pure ice. Creating such a hard surface involves fitting an injection system to the back of a snow cat injecting high pressed water into the hill every two inches. It makes the whole hill look and feel like an ice rink which produces a better, fairer race since the snow doesn’t deteriorate, at all, from one racer to the next.

Both days of racing I had a little difficultly getting up to speed without mistakes. These days proved the rust doesn’t come off with a few runs. In the first race I skied conservatively in the first run and the second run I turned up the intensity only to make a few mistakes. I did cross the finish line which is always a good thing. Although I was way off the pace, I learned my knee can hold up to the most intense slalom training and racing out there. The second day I blew out in the second run, but was finally arcing some slalom turns.

Either way, we’re back in the saddle and another lesson learned. We are taking tomorrow off and race on Tuesday in a giant slalom at Hinterreit, Austria. Then we’ll be racing slalom on Thursday and Friday in St. Michael, Austria. Both ski areas are relatively close to our home in Salzburg. We’ll be up to speed soon.

It’s time to pin it and not worry about anything else.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 2/13/2006 12:00:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

A little problem with rust.
Saturday, February 04, 2006

Well we’re back in the saddle and it’s rusty.

After one good day of training in Hinterriet, Austria, I met up with the rest of SRI (our ski team) and jumped into an Italian GS race in Ravascletto. I can’t tell you how nice it was to be back in the gate. The first run I did a lot of pivoting, but made a few good turn. The second run I skied conservatively and was way off the pace. Either way, I was skiing in Italy with a smile ear to ear. I was still a little nervous about my knee before the race, but those fears are gone. It just felt fine.

We’re taking this weekend off which will be really good for us as a whole. The boys had a tough week of racing and they need a few days to cool down and forget about the tough series.

Next week we have a few days of training planned and some high caliber FIS races scheduled at the end of the week. It’s game on.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 2/04/2006 10:59:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments