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Countless challenges at the Nationals GS
Monday, March 22, 2010

On our drive to the hill Terrance Fogarty, one of our hosts in Saranac Lake and course worker, sent me a text, “they are fire hosing and salting.” I read it to Dane and Jon and Dane responded with, “Man, that’s old school.” By the way, it was around 38 degrees out. Since I drew bib 1, I couldn’t have been happier. The worse the course, the better my advantage was so I was pumped. When we went up for inspection, the snow was terrible. It was absolutely bottomless. And they were getting ready to water the top.

After pushing the start back a few times and then lowering the start it still didn’t look promising. Frankly, I still can’t believe that we actually raced today. At 12:00 we were back up at the start, the organizers called for the forerunners, and just like that it was on. Before I knew it, I was in the gate and just couldn’t get my rhythm up top. I skied well in the middle of the course and took a pretty conservative line at the bottom not sure how the snow was going to hold up, but it was fine. The snow was surprisingly good. It was watered and salted and it kept raining on it so it became quite dense. David Donaldson came down after me into the lead and then Tommy Ford moved into the lead by 8 tenths. I was angry. I had an epic opportunity starting 1st and completely sucked. The snow was good, but starting 1 was definitely a huge advantage. I quickly had flashbacks of the last two times I raced GS on this hill. Two years in a row, I lost the Nor-Am title on this hill and I could not think of a single thing nice to say about it.

I stewed for a few hours. Talked to my personal coach, Cody Marshall, who told me to chill out, take a nap, and race for the money (there is prize money for the top 3). I took a nap. This is now day 6 in a row of racing so mentally and physically I was pretty cooked. I really didn’t think we’d have a second run. It took over two hours to get through the 87 starters. I was mid nap – at 2:20 – when I heard inspection was between 2:25 and 2:45 with a 3:00 start. So I throw on my wet clothing and hammered outside into the rain. I went up the lift alone each time stewing the entire lift ride. I inspected quickly; it was basically the same course moved to skiers right 3-5 feet, but had a bit more swing.

I then put some additive on my race skis because I knew I needed every possible advantage. As the race organizers continued to push back the start time, I just stood at the bottom of the hill under covered TV scaffolding staring down at my poles. A number of people came by and said hi, but I had nothing to say to them. I didn’t care who they were and I certainly didn’t want to talk to a single person. After I saw a couple forerunners ski the bottom section, I went up the lift to get some retribution. Up top I didn’t want to talk to anyone so I didn’t. I knew I didn’t have anything nice to say so I kept my distance. All I wanted was to annihilate this hill and course.

It was finally my turn to go, it was pouring rain, I pushed out of the gate, and immediately became a bit late on the upper section. Then I just pinned it all the way to the bottom. On the flats, I was going as far as a few feet inside the line and occasionally T-boning the rut, but kept it going. I crossed the line and won the run. I ended up finishing 2nd behind Tommy Ford and ahead of Chris Frank. They’re both great guys and it was fun to be on the podium with them. Dane finished 5th and Jon finished 6th. I was pretty impressed with how I was able to harness my anger and disappointment. It’s certainly not the most fun way to ski, but occasionally it’s the best or only option. The only other time I was remotely fast on this hill I felt and skied it the exact same way.

Now it’s time to get some rest and go to the best ski race of the season, the Cochran’s “Thank God for Snowmaking Race.” It’s way past my bedtime.

Before I go, I have to thank the organizers and the course workers for all of their diligent work today. There determination pulled off a miracle today.

Good night. w

posted by Warner at 3/22/2010 10:11:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Nationals Slalom
Sunday, March 21, 2010

Today was pretty exhausting. I skied two runs of slalom and both were over a minute long, which is painful long for slalom. Tommy Ford skied exceptionally well both runs to take home the victory, followed by Chowder and Nolan Casper. I finished 8th and then was randomly selected for drug testing, which takes an extra 45 minutes at the end of the day so that was painful. However, my skis are prepped and I'm ready for some GS. I drew number 1 so it's totally on for tomorrow!

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 3/21/2010 09:48:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Nationals Super G
Saturday, March 20, 2010

Super G.

As most of you heard from this morning, I had a very leisurely start to my day. When we finally went up to the mountain, I was pretty psyched on the day and expected absolutely nothing since my Super G has been pretty awful in the 3 starts I’ve had this year. But it was nationals and that’s always exciting.

I was starting 11th, which certainly wasn’t ideal. The track was really turny in one section at the top, the snow was painful soft, and somewhat bottomless in a few sections. The organizers did a good job getting the event off, but the snow was not good. When I put on my skis as the start, they were definitely running. I pushed out of the gate as hard as I could, pinned off two gates, and then came onto the first pitch with way too much direction. It was probably good because the second turn on the pitch was really across the hill. Either way, I kept it together while doing some serious knuckle dragging because the snow was painfully soft. Then came through a left footed undergate (a big turn) and got back online. I hit the flats with a ton of speed and could really feel my skis accelerate. Then on the final pitch I was a little round over the final roll and then went as straight as I could. My skis were holding really well on the soft snow down there and I tucked thru the line into 3rd place.

Travis Ganong, who started 1st, killed it and won by nearly a second. Will Brandenburg, who started 4th, was second and I was third two-hundredths ahead of Tim Jitloff. Any day on the podium is a good day and today was certainly a good one. After the race I spent the next 2 and a half hours cruising around with a US Anti Doping Agency liaison before I could finally pack up and leave the mountain. Luckily, Dane was willing to grab my skis halfway up the mountain.

Tomorrow is slalom and I have absolutely no expectations for that either.

Off to tune some skis, then a parade and awards to follow. Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 3/20/2010 06:31:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

At home at the Fogarty B&B

I’m sitting in bed at the Fogarty B&B in Saranac Lake, NY having a leisurely start to this beautiful day. After hammering out of Waitsfield, VT post rewaxing our race skis and packing up, we made it here last night around 8 o’clock with enough time to get our SG skis ready. Forest texted us today’s schedule around 10 o’clock last night that men’s inspection starts at 11:30. We were all totally pumped to have a nice morning.

Yesterday at Sugarbush was another good day. When we arrived we were expecting a much better group of point holders. However, a few of our buddies, Lief Kristian Haugan, Andreas Haug, David Donaldson, and Fredirick Kingstand, were all there ready to race, but were not entered because of a mix up in Tim Maguire’s emails. Some of them even had responses from Tim – as long as three weeks ago – accepting the entries. Needless to say, we were all a bit bummed out. With them in the race the penalty could have dropped to nine, the FIS minimum. The penalty was 11, instead.

I ended up winning over Adam Cole and Dane. The new boots are working well. I’m starting to get them pretty dialed in. The pair I raced on the last two days is stiffer than the ones I raced on at Waterville. They are more forgiving because they have as much small flex range. Before, in bumpy terrain they somewhat had a mind of their own.

Anyway, off to breakfast and then to the mountain on the lazy-man’s program

posted by Warner at 3/20/2010 08:27:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Dorm livin'
Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hello all,

Today, we raced the first of two GS races at Sugarbush. After first run, I was leading just ahead of Dane and Jon by 4 tenths so it was setting up for a fun, tight race between our traveling crew. The races here are Development FIS races, but we were able to stir a bit of interest and get a few other people with good points to show up. Tomorrow will actually be much better since a few guys – like Lief Haugan – will come over after racing the slalom at Nor-Am Finals.

Second run, I watched as two of the three guys that were really excited to score a race blow out. Niko Harmanen, a Finnish skier, that I was traveling with during my Levi, Finland trip needs some GS results and he blew out. Then Jon packed it in hard on the same gate breaking my second best pair of skis... bummer. Then Dane made a big mistake coming onto the flat. So I pushed out the gate and thought nothing more than, let's attack the bumpy pitch and get ready for Lake Placid. I skied well up top and shutter down a bit before the finish, but didn't give up too much. With everyone else's carnage I ended up winning by over a second.

Right now, we're staying in the dorms at GMVS, which is awesome because it’s free and they have pretty good food that we have been taking full advantage of it. Anyway, I gotta get some sleep so we can hammer another day here, then drive to Saranac Lake, NY, and race Nationals SG the next day.

Special thanks to our super coach of the day Cody Marshall. In his coaching début he put both Dane and myself on the podium. Cody, you better come represent tomorrow!!
Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 3/18/2010 10:26:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Feeling at home in Waterville Valley
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yesterday, I raced on the Dodge Ski Boot, which is made by Dave Dodge, Peter Dodge’s (Dartmouth ski coach) brother, and Bill Doble. It’s a boot made mostly out of carbon fiber. There is some plastic keeping it together, but basically it’s entirely made of carbon fiber. Carbon isn’t temperature sensitive, it is very torsionally stiff, and is very low volume so booting out (when your boot hits the snow rather than just your edges) is almost impossible. It’s very solid in the turn and creates a great platform at the top of the turn. If you want to know more check out: http://dodgeskiboots.com.

I’ve been testing it here and there and decided to race Nor-Am Finals on it without much comparative timing. First run, the snow was very soft. I started 11th and put down a very solid run and never booted out. I won the first run by half a second over Chris Frank who started 1st. My run was not miraculous, it was good and I was up by 5 tenths with a solid field so I was pretty pumped. Second run, the organizers did a great job salting the course to firm it up. I killed the upper section of the course and then on the harder snow I took a conservative line and slid the top of the turn too much. Tommy Ford ended up taking the victory, while I was 14 hundredths behind him. He put down a great run. I scored the best result of my career an 8.83 point race. This year has been challenging to score since I’ve been on the Europa Cup and World Cup tour mostly so it was nice to get a good one yesterday. Jan Hudec finished third a hundredth behind me so I was sandwiched between two Olympians. However, it was a little painful knowing I had a more gas in me, but it was just nice to be back in a GS race. The last one was Kransjka Gora World Cup at the end of January, which was not the fondest of memories for me.

We just finished up prepping our race skis and now we’re off to the Dodge Boot headquarters in Essex, VT to hopefully get a stiffer pair before we race at Sugarbush on Thursday and Friday, then to Whiteface for Nationals to race on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, then Cochran’s on Wednesday, followed by Eastern Cup Finals the next weekend. I’m traveling with Dane Spencer and Jon Olsson these days, which is great. Dane has been a great travel buddy all season and Jon has been pulling his weight in cooking endless amounts of burritos for pretty much every meal. I’m over ground beef. Dane and I are tuning Jon’s skis since he’s not exactly a pro at it. He’s a freestyle skier that decided to come back to ski racing. He actually secured the Nor-Am GS title yesterday, which was extremely impressive since he’s only been skiing competitively for two years after an 8-year hiatus. We have a good team. Dane and I have been joking about how our team name is “Dreamin the Life” now we’re “Dreamin the Life Plus 1.” For more info on Jon you can check out: www.jon-olsson.com.

Chris Frank, who just picked up a World Cup starting right for all of next season in SG, set us up in the GMVS dorms at Sugarbush, VT so we’re regressing to dorm living. Good work Chris on the housing and the Nor-Am SG. Chris and I both graduated from college in 2005 and skied together on SRI in the 2006 season so it’s great to see things coming together for him. I’m totally psyched for you buddy!

Hope all is well, w

posted by Warner at 3/17/2010 10:04:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Waterville Valley in the AM
Monday, March 15, 2010

Hello all,

The end of the season press is on. I’m at home in Gilford right now getting ready for the last Nor-Am GS of the season at Waterville Valley tomorrow. It’s great to be sitting in my own bed the night before a race. Ahhhhh. Since I was on the Europa Cup/World Cup schedule this season, I’m somewhere around 20th place in the Nor-Am GS standing, but I’m psyched to race basically at home. It will be a good field and I’m fired up to be racing again. The next two weeks we’re hammering in a ton of races, but I’ll keep you all posted. Sorry for such a long radio silence.

Let’s pin it, w

posted by Warner at 3/15/2010 09:55:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments