Sunday, October 25, 2009

Men's GS in Soelden

A few hours following the women's GS, Soelden's main street closes and becomes a sea of painted people, drums, horns, banners and rickety homemade wheel barrows stocked with dripping wooden kegs. It's a scene for sure. The first BIG party for the World Cup fan club circuit, which truly is a tour of its own right.

Pretty sure Tom Kelly was there and dropped a vid on YouTube. Hopefully Audi USA marketing chief Scott Keogh caught it too. He flew over the pond just to see our boys rip today. That's cool.

The fan club parade ends at the women's public awards and men's GS bib draw, but the party cranks on until, well, tomorrow.

Soelden, Austria - men's giant slalom - Rettenbach Glacier
The men's tech Team is a fun group to be around, easy going and constantly poking fun at each other. Ted is the ultimate offender, but the coaches are pretty solid themselves. It's like being in a high school locker room and really the only way this Team could work. European racers will go home for a couple of nights following a race, then move to the next training site. Ted won't be home until Christmas.

At the race eve Team meeting, they go through the normal next day logistics, hand out the appropriate credentials and spend at least five minutes or more talking about how to get lunch between runs. Most of the time this involves speculating on whether they can sneak into the VIP tent (the girls were successful yesterday). But it also involves a motivational video produced by Team PT Adam Perreault and coach Pete Korfiatis, AKA Happy 1-9 Productions. The films features fast runs from the race venue, solid training clips and in last nights case, about 30 seconds of dirt jumping a junker car named "Sweet Caroline" at the New Zealand training camp. It was Warner Nickerson's and he got it for free.

Today is Warner's first World Cup start since Dec. 12, 2006 and he earned his spot by winning a time trial last week. It's a first for Tommy Ford as well - his virgin World Cup start - there's a lot of excitement around this two-time Ski Racing Junior of the Year and to be honest, i'm pretty psyched to see him go today too. He's a mellow kid and probably only travels with two shirts (both plaid flannel), but he's been nipping Ted here and there in GS training.

While i'm on the list of first, let's go with Jake Zamansky. The Z-man is staring bib 30 - his lowest World Cup starting number ever. Tim Jitloff is No. 25, Warner 47 and T-Ford 52 with 74 racers on the board. Those are good numbers.

So is No. 3, drawn by Shred last night in front of about 2,000 screaming teenage girls. In three World Cup starts at Soelden, Teddy Ball Game has finished 8-2-3 in that order. It'd be cool to see a 1 added to that string and if it happens, i might buy the first lottery ticket of my life. Even more amazing is the start order for today's race of Swiss Didier Cuche, Austrian Benni Raich then Ligety. Last season's final giant slalom standings read the exact same way. Actually the first five starters mirror the '09 standings. The draw is random. Random.

Daylight savings hit Europe last night, so i banked a bonus hour and so do you early risers. First run start time is 4:45 a.m. ET with second run at 8:45. Get your stat sheets out and start scribbling blurry eyed while watching Live Timing. Light is looking a little flat right now, but that could easily change.



Saturday, October 24, 2009


While Doug is off on a new winter filled with adventures on the World Cup circuit, Kat is at home finding creative new ways to pass the time. Luckily, our wedding photographer was able to help out some with that. Just last week we received over 1500 photos (all edited) from Jon Zander! While I couldn't even come close to posting all my favorites on this blog, I am posting the link with all the images. Feel free to poke around. I believe you can order photos directly from this site. Enjoy reliving our special day.... we certainly have.

Race Day!

Finally Race Day!

Soelden, Austria - Women's giant slalom, Rettenbach Glacier
Julia Mancuso is sick of training. It's been seven months since World Cup Finals, three on-snow camps, multiple conditioning blocks, and countless hours in the gym without one singular opportunity to hold a measuring stick against the rest of the ski racing world.

Not easy for those with competitive personalities.

Welcome to Soelden. At 45 turning gates, the traditional giant slalom opener busts the timing wand onto a short steep pitch before mellowing out on a B line for the Rettenbachjoch midstation. At last night's Team meeting, Head Coach Jim Tracy said, "It's full-on hammer down from the start, send it down the hill or you don't get a second run."

At midstation, the course breaks on a hard left boot turn over a brink and down the glacier throat towards the finish stadium. It's loud down there, cold and petty dark through about 30 in the first run or until Ma Nature's fireball slivers over the peaks to heat things up.

Course crews are shoveling snow out of the finish corral right now, slipping the fresh wet off the slope and getting ready for athlete inspection. The slope is World Cup stone hard and looking perfect - hard to believe that around 10 days ago, the glacier was black, meaning it was a parking lot. Seriously, the last few gates and the finish arena are over a parking lot.

Double World Champ Lindsey Vonn lights it up for the U.S. Ski Team with bib 11, Mancuso is rocking No. 18, youngstar Megan McJames has 31, Resi "Le Tigre" Stiegler 37, racer mom Sarah Schleper 39 and Vermont's Jessica Kelley in 45.

Lindsey is looking for her first World Cup podium in GS, she has W's in every other discipline and titles in downhill and super G. Julia was second here to open the '08 season. Sarah has been crushing it in training the last two weeks. Resi want's to prove she's back - it's her first World Cup race since Dec. 28, 2007. McJ set her personal best here last year with 14th and Jess wants to hit the hill that slapped her with a ruptured disc last season.

Fog is burning off, ORF Hitradio has cranked the system and the line of cars is melting into the clouds down valley. I love race day, especially the first.

Click your cyber boots in at First run starts at 3:45 a.m. ET with No. 2 on at 7:45. Game on.



Nerd out!
The USOC has been doing vodcasts to intro top candidates for the Oh 10 Team, check out Lindsey's and here's Jules.

Oh, and I took some cool interview vids of Lindsey, Jules and Ted from Audi's opening press conference on Thursday, cue those suckers up on

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soelden, Austria

Guten Morgen family and friends. It's official, the World Cup season is underway. I arrived in Soelden yesterday for the annual opening to the Alpine season.

We have men's and women's giant slalom races on Saturday and Sunday, but really much of the action happens today and tomorrow with meetings, press conferences and all sorts of hoopla.

Soelden is a pretty cool town. My friend Hank McKee has a great story about it on, check it out. I took this photo there two years ago.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Moose River

It's been a great couple of weeks for Kat and I. The Adirondacks saw a few inches of snow and we've been lighting the woodstove pretty much on a daily basis. It always makes the house more comfortable.

There's also been a couple of apple pressing parties which has produces multiple gallons of cider for our refridgerator and five gallons of fermentation for our closet. We've never made hard cider before, but it should be good. Chack back with us in two weeks for a sampling.

Kat's been going bonkers baking and I've been able to get out for a couple of good trips in my whitewater boat, most recetnly a sunny run of the Moose River - here's a good shot from Agers Falls. It was a good day.

I'm off to Austria tomorrow for the Alpine World Cup opener...not long and it will be the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Tempus Fugit as they say...