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Ending the season in Europe
Thursday, February 28, 2008

After finishing up a couple successful races in Madesimo – I finished a decent 11th the second day – I drove four hours to Patsch, Austria to train the next three days in Mutters (two days of slalom and one day of GS) The snow was a little soft, but the training turned out to be killer with Dieter Bartsch, who is an older Austria coach with a remarkable resume. It was a perfect opportunity to reiterate my focus of keeping my shoulders down in GS and getting better timing in SL.

I had a pleasant flight home and was able to reflect on a solid Europa Cup GS season. Last year I didn't score a single Europa Cup point, while this year I scored 89 point, which is currently 21st on the EC GS standings. I'm pretty psyched about that.

I’m back at home now and certainly happy to be here. From here I go to Georgia Peaks, Canada, a 12 hour drive away, next weekend and then it’s hammer time until April.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 2/28/2008 01:22:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

A good day in Italy
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This morning was pretty average. I woke up, scrapped my skis, had some breakfast, and went out on the slopes early to get at least one training run in one of the two training courses. The snow was soft, hero snow that broke up pretty quickly so getting up there early was imperative for a decent warm up in the gates. I felt all right on my first run and decided a second run just wasn’t in the cards as swarms of Europa Cup skiers hammered run after run in the training courses.

The set was pleasant. It was pretty tight on the pitch at the top and then it opened up all the way to the bottom. Anyway, first run I had some trouble and wasn’t happy with the way I was skiing. The skis I raced on were a pair of really stiff Atomics that are great on hard injected ice, but they’re really hard to bend at the top of the turn in soft snow. After a few minutes of contemplating what to do with my skis, I left the hill and went back to our hotel – a short walk down the road – to scrap a pair of softer skis I’d only used as warm up skis earlier this season. They’re not the newest model, but they’re soft and well skied in so I thought screw it, I’m going to race second run on those.

Usually when I call an audible midway through the day it doesn’t work out because I spend way too much time trying to prep a pair of untuned skis and don’t spend enough time relaxing and getting mentally prepared for the second run.

I used the softer skis anyway and spent most of the hour break before inspection getting them ready. I inspected, took a free run on the softer skis, rubbed on some additive (start wax), and hoped for the best. Luckily, my first run wasn’t too terrible so I was still in the flip – 29th place –starting 2nd. Tim Kelley was staring first so we got each other fired up at the start.

Staring early like this on a day with soft snow is a huge advantage. I pushed out of the gate as hard as I could and cut off Timmy’s line down the first pitch can carried good speed on to the flat. Over a couple of blind rolls I through a short pivot (slid the top of the turn rather than arced it) which was painful, but without a grove I was able to put down a great run. I ended up moving from 29th up to 6th and scored the most Europa Cup points of the season. I was 2nd on the second run (two tenths out). Timmy also had a great second run. He finished 5th on the run and ended up finishing the race in 21st place.

Anyway, the audible paid off and I’m psyched to hammer out one more day of racing on the same hill. Game on.


posted by Warner at 2/20/2008 04:04:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

A sad couple days for Team Maximum Velocity
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Team Maximum Velocity, Roger and I, have certainly had better days. On Monday, Roger and I set up training at Mutters, a small ski area just outside Innsbruck. It was a beautiful day, the snow was hard, and it was just the two of us training on the first course I’ve ever set. On our second run, Roger came over a knoll on a right footed turn a little late, lost snow contact, and when his skis reestablished snow contact his down hill ski hooked up sending back and then into the air. After he tried to get up and couldn’t, I skied down to him and knew it was a bad day.

Roger completely tore his ACL and meniscus. After his meniscus torn, it slid into his joint so he couldn’t straighten out his knee. Roger went into surgery on his meniscus only 5 hours after the accident after getting x-rays and an MRI at various private sports clinics around Innsbruck. He’s going to have surgery on his ACL at home in the next couple weeks. Nina Bartsch, the daughter of the head coach at Mutters, was our personal liaison and took us around the city to make sure Rog got the best service. It is astonishing how streamlined the private sports clinics are in Austria. So all said and down, we were certainly in the best possible place for this type of accident.

I just dropped Roger off at the Munich Airport in Germany and I’m off to Kranjska Gora, Slovenia for two slaloms that start tomorrow. It’s a bummer to see my only teammate pack it in for the season.

Hope you’re all having a better start to the week. W

P.S. I’m sure Roger would love to hear from some of you. He’ll be back in the States later tonight and if you’d like drop him a line at 802-578-6330.

posted by Warner at 2/13/2008 05:12:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Ahhh that states...
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The last two weeks have been a pleasant break from the throes of travel. I spent a few days in Stratton weathering the Flu and hanging out with Jamie, a week at home getting some great training at Gunstock, a night skiing at Cochran’s, and a couple days racing at Stowe in the UVM Carnival.

From getting a chance to ski at Cochran’s Ski Area to cheering for the Alma Mata at Stowe, it was a refreshing stay in the states. Cochran’s Ski Area is a struggling mountain that is certainly worth checking out. They just raised enough money for snowmaking this summer and it’s nearly completely open. It’s a tiny venue with 5 trails and two surface lifts, but it’s full of heart. When you walk into the lodge you’re drawn to the countless World Cup and Olympic bibs from the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan to the Schladming World Cup Night Race two weeks ago hanging from the relatively low ceiling. It was rejuvenating to see a ski area designed for one reason and one reason only: the kids. They have over a hundred kids on the mountain in their afternoon ski program that runs with different groups every weekday. This area is not about charging high lift ticket prices, catering to the wealthy, or herding people out of the lodge that aren’t buying enough lunch. It’s all about the kids. Cochran’s Ski Club culminates each day with a “bomber run” where the kids 8-13 push as hard as they can – one at a time – from the top of the mountain, crouch into their tucks, and don’t get out until they reach the lodge at the bottom. Every Thursday night the families congregate around the 25 inch TV in the corner of the lodge to watch video of the most recent Vermont J4 competition over pizza.

It was just so energizing to see a ski area running entirely for the kids. So many resorts throughout the world are only focused on pecuniary accumulation by selling off real estate. It comes at no surprise that Cochran’s is the only non-profit ski area in the United States. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Anyway, after taking part in the bomber run on Thursday evening, which was actually pretty rugged at 5 o’clock in the dark over ungroomed terrain, I stayed with Roger for two days and raced the UVM Carnival. The first day I ended up winning the GS by around 1.5 seconds after putting together a legitimately good second run. In the slalom, I was in second behind a freshman Colby skier, Vincent LeBrun-Fortin, after the first run. Second run, I was putting together another legitimately good run and came into a tight section five gates from the finish when the tight set caught up with me. I tried to snap off a tight arc and found myself on my hip. I quickly got out of the way to cheer Vincent on. He crossed the line and took second a few tenths being Charles Christianson, which was huge for Vincent and Colby. I was bummed out I didn’t finish, but psyched to see a young Colby athlete on the podium. All and all, it was definitely a refreshing stay back in the states.

I hope all is well. I’m in Patsch, Austria getting ready to pick Roger up at the Airport in Munich and then starting our 10 hour drive to Jasna, Slovakia for two Europa Cup GS races on Thursday and Friday. Game on. w

posted by Warner at 2/05/2008 05:23:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments