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US Nationals
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hello all,

The last couple days up here in AK have been quite mundane as far as the volcano goes, but the ski racing has been exciting.

In the slalom, David Chodounsky, a 2008 Dartmouth graduate, came from behind and put down a great second run to win the national slalom title. It was fun to watch and great to see him put it together. Jimmy Cochran took second and Cody Marshall was third (I was 7th and skied pretty well with a mistake on the bottom).

Today in the GS, I put together a solid first run and was psyched with the way I skied on the bottom of the course to be 2 tenths off Tim Jitloff in third. Second run, I was ready to crush and rack up another victory for the college grads, but I had some trouble on the bottom of the course in the soft snow. I ended up finishing on the podium in third behind Jitloff and Tommy Ford, which was the exact same podium from last year. I really wanted to win, but I picked up $750 for my spot on the podium so that’ll have to do for now.

Hope you’re all doing well. I’m definitely skiing well and there are a few races left in the season in Colorado and California. Now we just have to hope Mt. Redoubt isn’t going to tarnish our plans of flying out tonight.

Take care, w

posted by Warner at 3/31/2009 08:42:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Welcome to Anchorage
Sunday, March 29, 2009

During the last two days in Park City, we were only able to race one GS. The first day the snow was completely rotten from warm weather followed by six inches of wet snow that insulated it. However, yesterday was a good day. I started 4, which was great because the snow was peely (meaning the snow was pretty soft and didn’t hold together). Either way, I had a pretty solid upper section on the steeps and was able to let it run onto the flat. I won the first run by six tenths. The snow was getting harder as the day went on, but since the upper section on CB’s, the race hill at Park City, is quite steep and fast no one was able to arc the top of the turn so it quickly became inundated with chatter marks. I was in the gate and they had what seemed like a long hold after Thomas Zumbrunn, who was is second place after first run, packed it in and did a complete yard sale on the upper pitch. I was up top wondering what to expect. I tried to stay in the present, keep my composure, and take each turn as deep as I could. I skied ok, but I really just stayed in the course. I ended up finishing 3rd on the run and winning the race by 1.6 over Scotty Vennis and Kyle Kung to score a 10 point GS race, which is my best GS result ever so that was a great finish to the series. The great guy award goes to Leif Haugen who fell, fought to stay in it, and finished in 7th place 3.2 seconds behind (he definitely helped the penalty).

Today we were lucky. Sam and I arrived after two layovers and a long volcano delay to be the last plane to land in Anchorage this afternoon. Mt. Reboubt situated across the Cook Inlet about 100 miles from Anchorage continued to erupt today. As we were coming in on our approach we could see a large reddish-brown ash cloud beginning to engulf the city. The flights up here are really touch-and-go right now, but somehow we just made it. Luckily, all of our skis and bags made it, which is a far better fate than some of our competitors that arrived earlier today without a single bag after being stuck in Seattle for a few days. As we were driving, it looked like tiny particles of snow, but as we stepped out of our rental car – at the local grocery store – we were latterly blinded by the ash. We ran inside trying to inhale minimal amounts squinting and covering our eyes with our hands. It’s a very abrasive substance. In the grocery store a friendly mother gave us each a dust mask – there seems to be a shortage up here – and we continued on way to south to Alyeska.

We’re in Girdwood at the base of Alyeska now at the Christianson residents. The national downhill finally got off today after four days of too much snow and fog. As the final few races were on course the ash cloud blew in. The snow here is completely covered with a thin layer of ash and the few people that skied in it after the race explained it to be like skiing on sandpaper.

But all and all, we made it up here. A winter blizzard watch is in effect from 2 AM to 10 PM tomorrow. We’re planning on racing slalom in the morning and I drew 5 so we have that going for us.

Hope you’re all doing well, w

posted by Warner at 3/29/2009 01:08:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Westward bound
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Although Whiteface took a lot of wind out of my sails, the season is far from over. There are still some great opportunities ahead. I’ve been hamming the last few days and my GS is making some headway. Yesterday, I raced in the Canadian National GS in Mont Saint Anne and finished 3rd behind JP Roy and John Kucera. It was nice to beat the Canadian Nor Am squad, but Kucera put together two strong runs so I ended up too far off the pace to score a point race. I’m in the Manchester Airport – taking advantage of some free wifi – getting ready to fly to Salt Lake for two days of GS racing, then off to Alaska for US Nationals (where apparently there is a volcano erupting blowing ash 50,000 feet into the sky limiting some travel to AK, but all is on for now), Colorado spring series, and Mammoth spring series. My goal during next few weeks is to score at least one low point race in GS. Game time is upon us.

I’ll be in touch, w

posted by Warner at 3/24/2009 11:19:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Final challenge
Saturday, March 21, 2009

Although Whiteface took a lot of wind out of my sails, the season is not over. There are still some great opportunities ahead. I am going up to Canadian Nationals in Mont Saint Anne for the GS, Park City for two GS races, Alyeska for US Nationals GS and slalom, then Colorado spring series. Game time.

I’ll be in touch, w

posted by Warner at 3/21/2009 10:29:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Nor-Am GS
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Today was the last GS of the Nor-Am series and my chance to lock up my World Cup spot. I woke up ready to kick some ass and be smart. I’ve been working on giving myself room at the gate and pole planting so that my hips are over my skis at the top of the turn so that was my focus, but I also knew I needed to finish today to pick up some more points. I pushed out of the gate first run, had a pretty conservative line and skied well all the way to the bottom. I definitely did a bit too much sliding the top of the turn, but it was a solid run. I crossed the line and saw Jeffrey Frisch in the finish give a little fist pump so I knew I wasn’t faster than him. He and Brad Spence were the only other guys in the hunt for the two world cup spots on the line. I skied up to the scoreboard to see that he was 1.89 seconds ahead of me and I just couldn’t understand where I lost so much time. I guess whenever I hold back I’m just outright slow.

I was in18th place after first run so second run was a complete all out push. I skied ok up top, but I wasn’t all that happy with it, but I was able to ski really well from there down. I was cutting off the line pretty hard and arcing well. When I crossed the finish line I saw that I had a pretty good run, but I sat there and waited until Jeff came down… waiting… waiting… waiting. He was in fourth place after first run so it was indeed a ton of waiting. I was watching him ski down, hoping he would blow out or make a mistake, but he did not. Although I beat him on the run, the margin was too big to over take him. He ended up finishing in 3rd place on the day, while Brad Spence finished 6th and I finished a disappointing 12th even with a 4th on the second run. So I finished the Nor-Am GS season in 3rd. My goal of the season was to win.

It was a rough day, but at least I’m not in the red room. I had the wrong strategy and lost. I’m here with my brother, mother, father, Dennis, Becca, Sam, Ryan, Heidi, Sam’s parents, Sweetser, and Jeff Kirchoff so we’re all going to have some dinner and a couple beers.

Tomorrow we race some slalom.


posted by Warner at 3/14/2009 07:53:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

SG today cancelled
Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today they ended up canceling the race because it was too dangerous. The snow was perfect, but the course was set too fast going into a right footer over a jump that ended up being far bigger than expected. Two of the first five racers went off of it with a loaded ski having the correct direction and landed in the fence. Bib 2, Sam Sweetser, packed it into the fence and came away with the ice equivalent to road rash as the snow ripped through his DH suit, long johns, and underwear. Bib 5, Tyler Nella, went even further than Sweetser and landed on his shoulder in the B-Net. I was starting 10 so I never had an opportunity see the track.

Either way, we’re racing Super G tomorrow (so there will be no Super Combined). I start 3 so that should be sweet. There was a scheduling error on the FIS site and the GS is on Saturday. The slalom is on Sunday.

Hope you’re all doing well, w

posted by Warner at 3/12/2009 07:26:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hello all,

Sam and I have been in Whiteface the last few days in warm, soft conditions, but it looks like the temperature is going to drop and give us a chance for a killer series. Hopefully the hill will set up well, but either way training is over and it’s time start racing again. It’s been nearly a month since the last Nor-Am event so it’s nice to finally see them upon us. The next four days we’ll be racing Super G, Super Combined, Slalom, and GS.

Let’s get it on, w

posted by Warner at 3/11/2009 06:01:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Back in NH, gearing up for Nor-Am finals
Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I just spent the last few days in Lutsen, Minnosota racing some Mid-Am races. My goal out there was to score a GS result and make a few bucks. They pay their pace team which is a rarity these days, so I did walk away with a few dollars in my pocket, which are quickly started dwindling on the drive from Philly to Albany in a rental car after US Airways cancelled our flight and booked Chris Frank and me on a flight 24 hours later. Either way, without any other good race series going on we were able to rally the troops and get a few good skiers there so at least one of us would score a result so my goal was plausible. Before the race series I prepped all my skis in NH, waxed my race skis a week before the event and miraculously nailed the wax so I was ready (apparently skis run better the longer the wax sits in the base, to a certain extent so my skis were going to be fast). We showed up to the mountain and saw more of a hill. Lutsen is outrageously flat. Frankly, if any of you know a good flats skier it would be a killer place to pick up a result. I started 5 and after hiking up two flights of stairs to the start shack, they needed a little extra vertical to reach the FIS minimum for GS, I was ready to get after it. I pushed out the gate hammered to the first gate got into my tuck. I took an aggressive, straight line because the snow was pretty good and put together a great run. I got to the bottom and was psyched with the way I skied. I quickly skied over to the board to see where I stood. After first run, I was in a disappointing 10th place.

After a week of never breaking into the top 5, I left Lutsen with my head up. One of the most important things in ski racing is being able to have a short memory, keep things in perspective, and accept your performance whether good or bad. I know I’m skiing well. I just couldn’t get it going on the flats.
I’m back in NH right now and getting ready for some training at Sunday River, maybe a GS race at Sugarloaf, and more training at Whiteface before Nor-Am Finals.

Hope you’re doing better than the Dow, w

posted by Warner at 3/03/2009 06:48:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments