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Friday, January 29, 2010

Today could have gone better. I skied pretty well up top, let it run coming off the first pitch, lost snow contact over a roll, my skis didn’t hook up, and just like that I was out of the course. The snow is very grippy and aggressive here. It’s only slick on a couple gates, but it’s good snow. We’re expecting some natural snow tomorrow so anything could happen, but I have another start. Dane also has a start tomorrow. He just arrived over here from a few FIS races in Italy. Yesterday, he was complaining about his skis being slow so I told him to pull a pair of my race skis from last year out of our van and give ‘em a go. He was 14th after first run then won the second run and moved up to second. So at least a pair of my skis were kicking ass today.

After first run, Nolan Kasper and I went back to the hotel to change and then returned for the second run. Ted totally killed it. He made a couple turns on the pitch that were outrageously impressive to win the race (he’s won here the last two years). Charlie his brother is over here so it was fun to be there for that. Tommy Ford had his best performance of the season finishing 21st, while Jit finished 27th. Zamansky and Nolan didn't qualify.

Another day of full speed ahead tomorrow. Hope you’re all doing well, w

posted by Warner at 1/29/2010 02:25:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Kranjska and Olympic Team
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I have a start in Kranjska Gora. There are two races and I have at least one start. We’ll go from there. This season I’ve really been living day to day so frankly it doesn’t make a difference.

Earlier tonight, we had a team meeting to go over tomorrow’s plan. I’m with the Europa Cup group and World Cup GS crew here in Hinterreit, Austria training. Forest Carey, one of the best guys in ski racing, talked about today’s plan and told everyone the Olympic Team. There is a couple extra people on the list – from what I understand – because some nations have decided to field smaller teams so the U.S. is given extra spots. Everyone expected, one’s objectively qualified or are the best 4 American’s ranked in each discipline, along with Will Brandenburg (to race Combined), Jake Zamasky (to race GS), Erik Fisher (to possibly race DH), Tim Jitloff (to be the back up GS/SL guy, Bode has the final GS start as of now), Nolan Kasper (to race SL), and Tommy Ford (to race GS). There was only Tim Kelley and I in the rooms that weren’t that psyched. It’s good to see a few extra guys get the call, but it was somewhat challenging to swallow it. I was fast today in training so that was nice.

Time to suck it up and let it all hang out in Kranjska. Later, w

posted by Warner at 1/27/2010 02:02:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hello all,

After the second day of racing in Maria Alm, we came here to do some dryland and be off snow for two days. The second day of racing in Maria Alm I had a decent first and second run. It certainly wasn’t lightning, but it was fun to be part of an American sweep. Tommy Ford won, Jit was second two tenths back, and I was in third two hundredths behind Jitloff. The last two days have been pretty relaxing here in Patsch we watched Kitzbuhl on TV the last two days.

Today we watched the slalom and saw Nolan Kasper break into the top thirty in his second world cup start. He moved from 60th to 25th and then ended up hiking second run after straddling. But either way, it was impressive to see him make such a big move. Good work Nolan and who knows that might be his ticket to the Olympics.

I gotta run. Dane and I are off to Hinterreit for potentially a couple days of training and hopefully the call up to race Kransjka. I’m expecting a call tomorrow. Hopefully this one will come.

Hope you’re all doing well. w

posted by Warner at 1/24/2010 11:34:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Turning up the good in Maria Alm
Thursday, January 21, 2010


We’re in an apartment building parking lot in Saalfelden, Austria picking up some internet so this will be quite short. Today I won a GS in Maria Alm. It was sweet. I started one first run and had a six tenths lead over Jitloff, who started 2. It was definitively a good run. I gave myself room at the gate the whole way down and didn’t have any problems. Second run, I skied pretty well and was very solid at the top. I stivited two turns on the pitch and had good speed the whole way down. When I crossed the line, I looked at the scoreboard, saw the number 2 next to my name, and I used a few choice words under my breath. As it turns out, this particular scoreboard puts up your rank on the second run and not overall so I won the race and finished second on the second run. I was quite entertained when a couple guys in the finish said I won. Jitloff was second seven tenths back ahead of some Norwegians.

Hope all is well where ever you all are. We race tomorrow on the same hill, w

posted by Warner at 1/21/2010 12:53:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Train travel, Ski Cross and Kirchberg
Monday, January 18, 2010

The morning after the Adelboden GS, I woke up at 9:00 AM and started packing up my stuff and talked to Jake Zamansky my roommate. He looks over at me at says, “Is there a reason why you’re up right now? Do I have to drive you somewhere soon cause I’d much rather be sleeping.” Indeed I did need a ride. As long as we left by 10:30 I’d have plenty of time to reach the 12:04 train out of Bern. And after some initial resistance he started packing. Jake was packing for a flight home the next day and I was packing the absolute bear minimum for train travel to the skier cross. Train travel is fantastic. It gives you a chance to chill out, see the scenery, and not worry about anyone’s driving ability. It’s the leisurely way to travel. However, carrying skis, tuning equipment, ski clothes, and whatever else from train to train with only a few minutes from one stop to the next is miserable. I packed three pairs of skis, a medium size tuning box with my edge machine, wax, brushes, files and an iron, then my back pack with boots, ski attire, a book, a few items of clothing (definitely not enough), and a tooth brush. The less you pack the better until you start to smell like a dirty European.

Anyway, after packing my stuff up I left the room and took one of the ski team Audi’s down to our tuning room (2 kilometers away) to start packing up my bench and skis. I packed everything I was not going to need into one of the Audi’s that hopefully Tommy Ford was driving to Paganella on Monday or Tuesday (I didn’t see any I left behind for six days). After some efficient packing, I was ready to go at 10:20. Jake was nowhere to be found his bench and skis were all still lined up. At 10:35, he rolls in swearing about someone’s terrible parking job and how he backed up in them. His bumper had a huge dent. Knowing it was partially my fault since he would still probably be sleeping we spent the next 20 minutes prying metal pipes up thru his bumper until we finally popped out the dent. Jake completely psyched about the idea of not paying the insurance deducible was finally able to settle down and start packing up his stuff. We finally rolled out of Adelbdoden at 11:03. We started the drive quite leisurely and plugged in Bern to his GPS and as we approached we started taking more risk passing cars aggressively until we reached the train station at 11:52 with 12 minutes to spare. Unfortunately for me, it was the wrong train station so we finally found the right one in the GPS, which was 10 minutes away. Jake increased the level of risk driving on a sidewalk, passing more cars, and running a number of red lights. When I looked at him he just laughed like a good friend and said, “Dude, I’m just trying to get you there on time.” We pulled into the station at 12:01 I grabbed my ski bag, tuning box, and backpack and started running. I finally found the ticket counter in a complete sweat, lowered my gear, and talked to the ticket salesman who informed me my train was gone and the next one was leaving in two hours. I asked him when the 12:04 train left and he graciously explained that it left at 12:04, it was now 12:05. Damn it.

I took the later train and was expected into Grenoble, France at 6:30, which would work out relatively well as one of the skier cross vehicles could pick me up, it would only be around an hour out of the way. After a ton of waiting around - I had too much equipment to explore – I was on my second train about half an hour from Grenoble when I heard an uproar on the train. Since the conductor only spoke French, I asked a few people around me what the deal was and they told me the train wasn’t going to make it to it’s final stop. Without worrying, I had only another half an hour on the train and the train was expected to go all the way to Villach. Five minutes later it pulled in to Chembery, France and everyone got off. Damn it. There were no more trains to Grenoble. I called Tyler Shepherd, the skier cross coach, and he called group that was picking me up and told them the good news. It would only mean an extra hour of driving for them. I waited in the packed Chembery train station sitting on my tuning box next to my skis for nearly two hours before I saw my ride. I was so incredibly happy to see Pat Duran, JJ Johnson, and Caitlin Ciconne. And just like that I was part of the skier cross crew. It was so refreshing to see them and become part of their crew.

We continued on with Pat Duran navigating our every move, which was not always the best strategy. After we finally passed Grenoble, Caitlin noticed we blew by a sign for Briancon (the direction we were going). After turning around countless times, we spent a total of 27 minutes – yes, nearly half an hour – trying to get back on the correct road. It should have been a five-minute mistake. Duran, our fearless leader, kept explaining we were “on track.” I finally grabbed the map to take a look; he was navigating us on the European equivalent to a map of the United States. Boston and New York would have only been an inch apart. Damn it. We were finally back on track and arrived at our hotel at 9:30 just in time to get dinner. My short 5 hour trip took 10.5 hours, but we were finally in Alpe D’Heux, France. Not to mention, we drove up the Alpe D’Heux road which is one of the main mountain stages of the Tour de France. It was pretty neat to drive up the ridiculously steep stage road.

The next morning, we went up to the hill to check out the track. I couldn’t believe how flat it was. We inspected the course and checked out what looked like huge kickers. As a ski racer, we ski over a lot of different terrain, but it’s certainly different to see a massive jump with a lip in front of you. There were 8 jumps, 5 whoopty-do sections, and three long turns. It quickly became painfully clear my turning ability was not going to give me much help. I watched St. Johan skier cross on TV a week before and it was fully injected, steep and looked like a hill just for me. After watching that Ted and I really wanted to try a skier cross. During training I took three runs. In first run, I cased (or came up short) on nearly every single jump because I was scared of skying off them. During the second run, I felt pretty natural and my third run I actually had fun. After our training was over, I hung around and watched the rest of the teams train so I could dial in my line and get a better idea of what to do.

Skier cross is all about being tight in the air, pressing every single roll, landing on the back of each landing, generating speed through all the terrain, and having a good start. Speeds are low since wearing pants and a jacket are required. In the finish they check to make sure each item of clothing is legal (baggy), it’s pretty hilarious. Since I was only doing qualifying the next day, I didn’t worry about being on a course with other skiers. In qualifying you’re on the course all alone. Only the top 32 from qualifying end up moving onto the heats. The heats consist of four rounds where four racers go head to head and only two move on. That was something I never had to worry about. Over video that night, I came up with a pretty good plan. The next morning we inspected and had two training runs before qualifying. In the first training run, I was totally on it and skied quite well probably not top 32, but I nailed all the jumps and just wasn’t very tight in the air. In the second run, I launched off one jump and pulled out because I didn’t have enough speed for the next kicker.

During qualifying, I just felt out of rhythm. I’m used to inspecting and then getting fired up and racing it. So what happened was my best run was my first run in the morning. In my qualifying run, I pressed one jump I needed to jump and landed on the uphill portion of the landing and lost all my speed. I had a decent run other than that, but finished miles off the pace to only beat a small handful of skiers.

All and all, it was definitely worth doing. I had a great time, learned a ton, and wouldn’t mind doing another someday. It was a very nice distraction from the cancellation of Adelboden.

I caught a ride back to Italy with the Aussies and now I’m back in Patsch after a Europa Cup GS yesterday in Kirchberg. I skied pretty well in a couple section and finished 14th with a solid field. It was a 1:25 second GS course. They started from the top which made it run quite well, but it painfully long. On the steep pitch, I found myself not arcing very hard, which bummed me out a bit. We have three more GS races near by in the next four days so that should be a nice way to keep things going. The Olympic are out of the question, but now I’m just trying to finish this out. Hopefully I can get a spot to race the two world cups in Kranjska at the end of the month (they are planning on rescheduling Adelboden for Kransjska, but it’s too late to be part of the Olympic qualifications).

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 1/18/2010 12:22:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 1 comments

quick hello
Saturday, January 16, 2010

So the last week was fun and entertaining. I am in Kirchberg right now getting ready for a Europa Cup GS tomorrow. I will give a longer update soon to explaining the skier cross. I was traveling via train and just tracked down my computer and the rest of my stuff today so I'm psyched to have some cleaner clothes to wear. Either way, for some reason I'm awful tired so I'll explain everything probably in 24 hours.

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 1/16/2010 12:56:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Not a quitter
Saturday, January 09, 2010

So you will probably find this hilarious, maybe as hilarious as I find it.

Due mostly to a TV rights issue, they're not going to reschedule the GS. I would have been really bummed out if I was a few tenths faster today. But either way, I did ski well. Without rescheduling, I have no chance of racing in the Olympics as an alpine ski racer.

However, I just got off the phone with Tyler Shepherd the head coach of the U.S. Skier Cross team and I'm going to be training and hopefully racing, if I qualify, in a world cup skier cross on Monday thru Wednesday in Alpe d"Huez, France. Now I just have to find a ride there (it's only 5 hours away).

Skier cross is a relatively new sport under freestyle skiing, which let's someone like me jump into a world cup based on my FIS points. Qualify for the Olympics through skier cross is very challenging because it’s a freestyle event that mean it competes with moguls and aerials for spots. But it's brutal as once you qualify there are 4 racers going head to head on a course with lots of rolls and jumps. I have nothing to lose so why not give it a go. I might get down there take a training run and say this isn't for me, but until then I'm ready to through a hail mary.

I'm off to hammer out an eccentric lifting session with Mike Kenney in a couple minutes then I'm probably going to have a beer or two. Thanks for all of your support through the last couple weeks. It's been really fun to read all of your emails even if I didn't respond.

I'll keep trying, w

posted by Warner at 1/09/2010 12:51:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Back in the hotel room...

So today was challenging. The fog was our nemesis as we kept pushing the start back, bummer for those of you that woke up obscenely early to watch. Finally, they moved the start down and started the race. I was pretty fired up and ready to attack my plan. I pushed out of the gate, had great grip and skied really well up top. Through the rolls I got a bit back and lost some altitude, but kept fighting onto the flat, where I set it up too much. I wasn't going all that fast since I made mistakes coming into it and then I brought my line really far out for the final epic pitch. I was just on my edges too long down there; but all and all, I did ski very well. I could have pulled the trigger harder at the bottom and it would have been better; but after watching most of the first seed on TV from the top lodge, it was clear that clean skiing onto the bottom pitch was fastest so that's what I tired to do.

I ended up finishing around 3 tenths off qualifying, but they ended up canceling the race anyway because of the fog. There is a chance they'll reschedule it on Monday maybe, hopefully.

Waiting with bated breath. w

posted by Warner at 1/09/2010 08:56:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

My chance.
Friday, January 08, 2010

Hello from Adelboden,

We rolled into town yesterday after 2 good days of training out of 5 in Reiteralm. We were on a different hill every day, which was good except for when the snow was soft. Either way, the two days were very good. Luckily, last night it didn’t snow so we were able to have a free ski session on the race hill, which makes a huge difference. Before the free ski started, Leif Kristian and I asked Bode what the answer was in free skiing and his response was, “hammer the top pitch and then the second pitch, but make sure to shutter down before you hit the rolls in the fog. I’ve seen more people ruin their seasons during the free ski here than another other hill, except Solden.” Good advice since there is an outrageous amount of blind rolls on the hill.

It’s really nice to get a few runs on the hill to feel the injected surface and get an idea of how your skis are going to react. I was able to get three runs on the hill. My final run I went full strip down to my GS suit to get the speeds up. Blardone, Mr. intensity, took four runs in his GS suit. As for the fog, it will definitely be an issue tomorrow as the weather calls for some snow.

Anyway, I’m fired up for tomorrow and I think it’s pretty neat that my season and one of my career goals all comes down to one race. There will definitely be movement in the Olympic spots. It is time to capitalize on this opportunity.

Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 1/08/2010 10:49:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Back with the ski team
Saturday, January 02, 2010

Hello all,

I'm back on the road after a pleasant holiday season. I left New Hampshire on New Year’s Eve for one of the lamest New Year’s on the books. I sat in the last row next to a young Hungarian mother with her 6-month-old daughter on her lap. It made for a relatively long flight, but earplugs, eye covers, and ambien mollified the issues. I was the last of the ski team group to arrive in Munich, but luckily Pete Korfiatis was waiting for me. We packed up his Audi swung by Patsch, Austria (a couple hours out of the way) where I left most of my gear and went on to Reiteralm, Austria. We skied today, but the hill wasn’t in very good shape so we just ended up free skiing. Free skiing is a pleasant way to start Europe trips so I was completely satisfied.

Right now, I’m full dialed in with the ski team for at least the next week or two. All the tech guys, minus Bode, are here training for a few days.

I’m a little sick and awful exhausted from the jet lag so I’m ready for a nap.

Hope you all had epic holidays. w

posted by Warner at 1/02/2010 09:51:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments