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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


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