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Back in America.
Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hello all,

I’m in Frisco, Colorado. I arrived last night and it’s awful nice to be back in America. Unfortunately, my two ski bags did not make it. They are hopefully over the Atlantic right now, but that is somewhat up in the air. I spent nearly an hour going from desk to desk trying to find someone in Denver that could help ascertain my ski bags since they were “short checked” to Frankfurt rather than checked all the way through to Denver. At the Lufthansa desk I finally found some help and heard that if everything works out they should arrive early Sunday morning. In line, I ran into Mario Matt, who had a bigger problem than me. Since he really didn’t want to lose his boots, he carried them onto the plane from Innsbruck to Frankfurt. However, when he deplaned in Frankfurt he left them in the overhead bin, a total rookie move. Apparently they had yet to track them down. Not what you’d expect from a World Cup veteran. I guess we all drop the ball occasionally.

The last day of racing in the darkness went quite well. I put together a solid first run. The snow wasn’t quite as good as the day before so I did not have the same opportunity to move up into the top 3. I moved up to a three way tie in 14th, which was a perfect place to be only 8 tenths of a second off the leader.

Second run, I hammered out of the gate had a great upper section, then gave a little respect to the first couple turns on the pitch, and then straightened it out. It was definitely a good run. I lost a little speed on the last knoll when I was airborne a bit longer than I anticipated. I moved up to 7th only 4 tenths off the lead and finished second on the second run. I was really hoping to reach the podium, but a top ten in a Europa Cup is a respectable place to be and it will be enough points to give me a decent start number next month in central Europe. I am excited to build off of these results. It’s just great to be back in racing form again. And by the way, my race skis from last year that I have been racing on are ridiculously fast right now. When I was buckling my boots - just before the start - I was struggling to keep them from taking off. I've been using some new wax from Podium and it certainly feels fast.

I hope to train at Vail for two days after my skis arrive before we dive into the Nor-Am GS races in Aspen. I am going to forgo the slalom Nor-Ams that start on Monday. Anyone in Colorado with good training they want to tell me about?

I am still working on finding a group skiing GS at Vail on Sunday and Monday.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 11/28/2009 08:53:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Checking in at Finn Air
Friday, November 27, 2009

Checking in at Finn Air:

By the way, Finn Air is brutal on overweight. They charge 10 Euros per kilo over their 20 kilo allowance per passenger (which is essentially $7.00 per pound). It’s crazy. I had about 100 kilos of luggage. Luckily Andy Romar gave me a little tip about packing. He said they have a special rate of 30 Euros per ski bag so I piled four pairs of skis into one bag and it was light compared to my other bag filled with two pairs of skis, a pair of bindings, all my poles, most of my tuning equipment, suits, and some outerwear. I nearly threw out my back loading it into the van the night before. It was definitely over 100 pounds.

When I checked in my duffel bag weighted 25 kilos and luckily they didn’t weigh my ski bag so I ended up paying 110 euros to get my luggage out of Finland. When I added up what it could have cost if they followed their kilo allowance, it was would have cost me over $1200. I guess I was lucky to get away paying about $160. Either way, I absolutely hate paying overweight.

posted by Warner at 11/27/2009 08:48:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

First Europa Cup of the season...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hello all,

It’s 9:30 and I just got back to my room after waxing my skis. I’m exhausted after the long day. Afternoon races always seem to take forever. First run, I started 32nd and put down a solid run. I skied well didn’t make any mistakes from top to bottom. I’ve been working on being patient and really dropping my knees into the turn to snap off a quick arc and it worked very well. I moved up to 2nd place. Three full days of training up here really made a difference. The only guy ahead of me was Andy Romar from the Finnish Team, one of my training partners during our three days of GS on this hill.

Second run, did not go as well. The set was quite turny and I skied solid up top. Then I came onto the pitch with a great line, made a few good turns, and was a little impatient on the second to last gate on the pitch. I was never able to get my skis to arc and I quickly found myself hammering on the breaks to stay in the course. Only to then crawl along the long flat to the finish. I moved from 2nd to 23rd. The competition up there is super intense as it is for any Europa Cup. Any mistake on this track leaves you miles behind.

Anyway, we have one more tomorrow. I can’t wait to go to sleep.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 11/25/2009 02:41:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Hello from the darkness,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It’s nice to see some friendly faces up here in Finland. After two weeks of hearing an inordinate amount of Finnish – which is definitely not a romance language – I’m listening to a lot more English now that other national teams are in town. Even thought I am the only North American here, it’s pleasant to see some old friends from other nations.

I raced in Ruka a couple days ago and non-intentionally gave away some slalom points, which helped my status with the Finland Ski Federation. After poaching their training for a full week, it definitely gave them something to smile about. The highlight of Ruka was that we saw the sun the second day. No really, I actually saw the sun. It was glorious. It was enough sunlight to keep my going until I hit Colorado.

Finally the reason I came here is upon us. Tomorrow we race a night GS, which is good because the light is much better with lights in the fog than with lights and sunlight in the fog. I’m not sure what number I start, but it will probably be in the 30s. I’m psyched that the season is finally underway. From here on out, racing will be in full swing. Bring it on.

Hope all is well for all of you where ever you are. w

posted by Warner at 11/24/2009 10:41:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Dark and rainy.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hello all,

I’m still up in Finland after serious consideration of pulling the ripcord after a couple brutal days, a Finnish Airways strike that could have cancelled the races, and a bad weather report. But, the last two days have been much better so I’m in for the long haul. The weather has been challenging at best. I’ve been here for a full week and I have not seen the sun yet. It’s up for around four hours a day and there is a thick cloudbank 80 meters above the base of the mountain (see picture below). It’s been quite warm 0-3 degrees Celsius so the snow is relatively bad other than the part injected for the world cup slalom.

The last two days I was able to train with the Rovaniemi Ski Team and the Finland Junior Team on the race hill in GS, which was great. The snow was pretty good on the pitch where it was injected for the slalom world cup up here, but up top was pretty mediocre. All and all, it was great to get some skiing in. We did double sessions the last three days starting with a day of slalom since the race slope was closed due to snow sticking to the gondola wheels.

When I saw Truls Ove Karlsen – while I cheered on Hailey and Kaylin, among other Americans – he said to me, “You know what Finns do in the winter, right? They get drunk and wait for summer.” I can see how this could easily become a reality.

Anyway, we have one more day of GS on the race hill, then we’re off to Ruka for two slalom races. Since there isn’t any training pretty much anywhere near here, the race slope will be closed to get it ready, and I don’t have a car anymore. I’m going to jump into the slalom races. Not to mention, the people I’ve been training with really want my points in the race.

Unfortunately, the weather report for the weekend looks very warm, wet, and foggy. I am really looking forward to Colorado sunshine.

Hope the sun is shinning on your backs somewhere. These are a couple pics from today. Mind you, the one at the start was taken at high noon. Hilarious.

I just received an email from an exhausted Charles Christianson after his drive from Hamburg, Germany to Tarnaby, Sweden (1890 km) where I was planning on going, but decided against it due to the cancelled GS's and no car. He ended it with, "Hope you're well man, I wish you were here. Say it with me, "USA! USA!"" It's a tough journey without a fellow countryman. Say it with us, “USA! USA!”

All the best, w

posted by Warner at 11/18/2009 02:47:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Current Location: Rovaniemi, Finland
Friday, November 13, 2009

Hello all,
After almost two weeks banging around NH, VT, ME, and RI I am back on the road. I arrived in Finland last night and right now I am sitting on a tiny (almost too small for two cars to pass each other) road in front of a red house that seems to be broadcasting a decent unlocked internet connection. So at this moment as I sit in a borrowed car I have a stolen connection to the world. It is nice to be back on the road. I was getting a little bit of cabin fever in the east without much skiing. I did ski one day at Sunday River, but skiing in the east in early November is highly mediocre. Considering the weather and time of year it is impressive how much is open. It is not quite the rock hard groomers I was really hoping for. However, it was really nice to run into some familiar faces. I ran into Mark Godomsky, Dana Bullen, Austin Stonebreaker, George Manter, and the bulk of the Bates ski team.

Later today, I am meeting up with some Finnish skiers and going to Levi since it has the best snow in this area. We will free ski the next two days and watch the World Cup women's and men's slalom races and then start a training block on the race hill when it is finished. Hopefully that will work out well.

I am flying solo since Dane pulled out of this trip a few days ago due to his knee. He decided he would be better off training in Colorado close to Vail and friendly knee surgeons. I can't blame him for pulling the pug.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 11/13/2009 07:13:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments