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Monday, October 26, 2009

As it turns out going straight and trying to cut off the line does not work in World Cup injection starting 47. Ted gave Tommy Ford and me a good course report just before we went out of the gate. He explained how much time there was to gain on the top flat by skating for the first three gates. I arrived at the start when Zamansky – bib 30 – was in the gate, which is where they changed the intervals from one minute 15 seconds to 40 seconds. After a short warm up, I was ready to get in my skis. Hubert, the Head boot guru, clipped me in and tightened the bolts in my boots. I was psyched and fired up to get after it. I rolled into the gate, rubbed my knees (which were already warm because it was awful hot up there), pounded my firsts together, and pushed out as hard as I could.

I went for Ted’s skating strategy, but wasn’t quite on the rhythm out of the gate. I came into the first break over a little straight, but was able to keep things going. On the first pitch, I started stiviting (sliding my skis at the top of the turn and then engaging them half way thru the turn). It’s pretty much the only strategy on some turns on the pitch, but the real key is to arc out of them and have your pressure in the fall line. With the bumpy track, I wasn’t able to do that with my attacking straight line and before I knew it, it caught up to me. Haft way down the insanely steep pitch I found myself just too low and was forced to hammer on the breaks to stay in the course. I got some composure back coming onto the flats, but it was too late. One of the most important cues for me in recent days has been looking ahead, which I was never able to do. When you’re struggling to stay in the course you focus all your attention on each gate at that moment rather than anticipating what is to come. Yesterday, I couldn’t look ahead until the very bottom of the course, which was far too late.

Either way, it was a great experience and a pleasure to be racing again. In the finish, my father, Jeff, Anne, Heidi, and Ilana were there to keep a smile on my face. We watched Ted crush the second run. He skied exceptionally well on the pitch, but just didn’t have the gliding skills of Cuche on the bottom flat. It was a good start of the season for him.

Other impressive skiing was done by fellow Team Maximum Velocity racer, Lief Kristian Haugen. He had a great second run except for a mistake on the pitch to finish 25th. Not bad for a college skier. He currently skis for DU. Tommy Ford put together some great turns and got a little twisted up on the pitch and finished the first run in 32nd just behind Jitloff in 31st. Only the top 30 get a second run in World Cup so they were both skiing well, but just not quite good enough.

Hope all is well. I’m flying home tomorrow so that’ll be a nice. It’s time to do a little reevaluating and get ready for Finland. Take care, w

posted by Warner at 10/26/2009 11:21:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hello all,

Today was pretty uneventful. I went up to the mountain with Ted to do some free skiing and training. However, the snow was quite soft so training was mediocre and they cancelled the free ski on the hill so we just took a few laps. I was able to watch some of the women today to get an idea of how it’ll ski and it comes down to pushing like hell out of the gate, nailing the two break-overs, and carrying speed off the steeps. The steeps are very steep so saying forward and bringing direction to the pole is imperative.

That being said, my plan is to ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK. I start 47, which is awesome. I was expecting to start in the mid 50s.

It's time to race. w

P.S. If you wish to watch the best way is on www.universalsports.com they have coverage of it.

posted by Warner at 10/24/2009 02:52:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Croatians and the TT (Solden time trial)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The last few days training with the Croatians have been pretty entertaining. They are totally sweet and outrageously hardcore.

We went up a couple days ago to ski and it was miserable. It was dumping snow, zero degrees Fahrenheit, and windy. When the visibility was good you could see two GS gates and when it wasn’t – and the snow was sticking to your goggles – you were lucky to see the next gate right after you passed each one. We had taken a few runs slipping the course and running the lower section, where we were down to the black and blue glacial ice so you could actually what we were skiing on. The next lap we arrived to the top and one of the Croatians coaches said, “You have the same number as yesterday. Do you remember what it was?” My initial thought was what is he talking about there is no way we’re running – or “driving” as they say – from the top in this weather. But I kindly responded with, “Sound good. I’m number 20.” And just like that we were timing in these conditions. It was completely hilarious. On the next T bar ride laughing almost the entire way with Thomas Erhard, our coach here, I decided that this next run when we could still see absolutely nothing and the course was in terrible shape I was going to screw with these guys and go full strip. I was totally psyched with my plan to be more hardcore than the outrageously hardcore Croatians and as I pushed over to the start I saw two of them lined up just wearing their GS suits. Those bastards beat me to it. I ended up taking two runs fully stripped and then shutter down. By then, every other team was off the mountain and we were only allowed to load every third T bar (which didn’t matter because no one was there) because the lefties were nervous the lift would break since copious amounts of snow were sticking to each T bar.

Needless to say, skiing with the Croatians is great. Ivica Kostelic is one of the best skiers in the world and they’re happy to have extra bodies to beat up the course and make it more challenging. Seriously, they’re happy about it. Totally awesome.

Today was the time trail (TT). It was between my friend and only teammate of this season Dane Spencer, which turns out to be pretty brutal. Since Bode is not going to race Solden and Jimmy Cochran didn’t want to race it, there was an extra spot for someone from the U.S. ranked in the top100 so the ski team let Dane and me (the only other two guys in the US with a world rank under 100 that is not racing) hold our own time trial for the spot. Originally, we were both going to have to drive all the way to Saas Fee – 7 hours from here – to compete in a TT. The ski team set the format best 2 runs combined out of 3. Originally after our three TT the winner would be able to stay and train with the national team, while the loser would be sent home. So Thomas Erhard our savior talked to Sasha and convinced him it didn’t make much sense to send us all the way over there for three runs when both of us are here.

When we woke up this morning our day consisted of us being completely silent to each other for the entire time we scrapped our skis, the drive to the mountain, and most of the three gondolas to the top. It felt like eternity. Before we reached the top, I said to Dane whatever happens today it’s great that both of us are still skiing and I’m really psyched for this season. He agreed and it was nice to break through the painful silence of the last two hours.

We reached the course and the Croatians were almost done testing skis. They mentioned that the snow was pretty soft so we slipped down, took two free runs, and it was game time. I went first since my points are slightly better. I sat in the start, went through my routine, rubbed my knees, got my legs active, focused on bending my ski at the top of the turn, and pushed out of the gate. The Croatians weren’t kidding there were some big holes, but I put down a pretty solid run on the top and really nailed the line coming onto the flats. It looked like I over skied it because everyone else’s line was inside mine, but I was able to pressure my ski at the top of the turn and release it where everyone else had a high edge angle. I got to the bottom and had the fastest run of the day. My next two weren’t quite as good and none of them felt very good except for coming onto the flats in my first run.

Thomas Erhard brought over the results and my first and last runs combined were about two seconds faster than Dane’s so in a few days I’m off to the World Cup Season Opener in Solden, Austria.

It hasn’t quite set in, but I’m just psyched to still be skiing and ready for whatever comes.

posted by Warner at 10/20/2009 07:48:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Winter hit Austria.
Thursday, October 15, 2009

It’s -17.5 degrees Celsius at the top of Hintertux. The mountain has been closed ever since I arrived two days ago. It has snowed around a foot and a half down in the valley where we’re staying. As of yesterday morning, it snowed a meter at the top. Right now I’m watching the Hintertux webcam on TV and there isn’t much to see other than fog and snow, but they claim to have another 80 centimeters of new snow, hopefully it didn’t all blow away. Unfortunately, the weather report says we’re getting more snow and colder temperatures for the next couple days. I wish I packed a couple extra layers.

Either way, I’m psyched that I just spent 12 days on-snow in Chile before I came here.

The only real news here is that Herman Maier retired yesterday. At age 36 he spontaneously decided it was time to hang them up. There is some discussion that his knee isn’t holding up that well from a surgery in March, but after a very long decorated career it’s understandable. He will certainly be missed.

Hope you’re all doing well, w

posted by Warner at 10/15/2009 04:44:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Europe Bound
Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hello all,

Sorry I haven’t been staying on top of my updates.

A ton has happened since I left for Chile over two weeks ago – which seems like eons ago – with Stratton Mountain School. I had a great camp with 12 days on-snow and one of them in two feet of fresh powder. We had an epic day of powder on our third day. The mountain was ours as their peak season was long gone. It officially closed for the public a few days later; the only thing that really matters is we had a full day of fresh powder and endless face shots. Jake I hope you’re feeling better. Jake Fisher, a friend and coach at Burke, tumbled through a pile of rocks and broke at least one rib.

After a killer day of powder, we took a day off followed by nine days on-snow (all of the kids took at least one day off, but since the skiing was so good I just couldn’t take one off). I still can’t believe the amount of mileage we were able to log nearly all under a bluebird sky. The camp progressed well as the snow kept getting better. It would warm up during the day to around 60 degrees and then freeze every night so the snow kept getting harder. Our last day, during Stratton’s Annual Condor Cup the snow was money. All and all, my balance improved a lot and now it’s time to start taking more risk. It’s time to go faster.

Anyway, we arrived back in Stratton on Friday night around 11:30 and yesterday I started working on my boots. I woke up early this morning and worked on my boots a bit more to finish them just in time for Jamie to drive me to the Albany Airport to catch a flight to Chicago. I’m writing this on the plane and plan to send it out in Chicago – hopefully I’ll find some wireless in my 45 minute layover – then off to Munich where Dane should be picking me up at the Airport.

He has been skiing at Hintertux for the last few days in very limited snow. Many teams and programs have canceled their trips to Europe because they don’t have any snow, but I talked to Dane today while it was snowing over there so helpfully winter is hitting Austria hard.

The new boot program seems to be working so I now have two new versions to test. Other than the travel and crunch time, my life seems to be relatively steady. It was great to spend two weeks in Chile and be in close proximity to Jamie.

I will be updating you all soon to explain the Solden time trial, which is constantly changing because of the limited snow. I’m exhausted and ready to sleep all the way to Munich. Take care. w


A few of you asked about Cody Marshall. He’s doing exceptionally well. A month ago he called me and said, “I think I can still race this season!” I responded with, “You’re 146 pounds, you haven’t even skied on your new skis (he switched to Blizzard a couple weeks before he fell), and Levi (the first World Cup slalom) is in two months. Come on, let’s be serious.” He responded with, “F… You, I’m 148 pounds!!” Needless to say, he’s recovering exceptionally well and wants nothing more than some competition. He’s being treated like an athlete again rather than a trauma patient so he’s back in the gym with a good plan to get back in the game. His next big step is passing an impact test. He needs to prove that his head is ready to take another hit before he’ll be cleared to ski, which will certainly take some time. Good luck buddy. Keep fighting!!

And Tony, we all hope you’re on the mend too. I talked to Carolyn earlier today and she said you were off to bed. Sleep well and keep fighting. All the best, w

posted by Warner at 10/11/2009 09:02:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments