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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


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