Monday, December 21, 2009

One more for the road...

We've been on the road 10 of 12 weeks and are down to one race before heading home. Although neither of us can wait to get back with Mom and Bonnie, Scott is holding up well. His energy is high and his focus is excellent. Glad we didn't do the Panorama NORAMS.

Scott scored in the second Giant Slalom yesterday, despite two major errors in the second run. He finished 16th of 131 and third for his age group.

Today we switched to Slalom. The snow was good and hard and the two course sets were as different as could be. Scott made the adjustments well and scored his best Slalom result to date, a FIS 43. He was 18th overall and second in his age group. A Slovakian boy who is amongst the top 16 year olds in the world for slalom edged him out by .10. Tomorrow's another day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


"Everybody makes mistakes. It's not so much the mistake as where it happens." Bode Miller, 2006

Scott raced the first of two FIS Giant Slalom races at Nakiska today. He started 30th and was 21st after the first run with a mistake just before the flat section. It was painful to watch him creep along to the next pitch -- tick tock. The same mistake on a different section of the course, and he might have been a second faster. The second run went much better. Scott had the third fastest run on the day and climbed to 15th place (1st for his age group) scoring a 49 point result. I was very pleased how he took the lessons from the first run and put them into effect the second run.

The track held up very well today and their's no measurable snow in the forecast. Temperatures are dropping and we should have perfect conditions for the second race tomorrow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tanned, rested and ready...

I couldn't have written a better scenario. The decision to pull out of the NORAM at Panorama, BC was tough. Glad we stuck with it. Since then we had three days at Jackson, WY where Scott raced slalom two days and trained giant slalom one day. He also ice skated two of the days. Nice and relaxing; he's totally caught--up on school! We left Jackson a day early and drove to Bozeman, MT to visit Bonnie. The kids skated, we all hung out... more relaxation. We then completed the trip to Nakiska, Alberta where he will race for four days.

This morning we hit the slopes early in hopes of finding a race course. The home team was training Giant Slalom so we joined them for four quality training runs on a full length course. We got "home" early, finished school and skis, and even had time for a movie. I'm hoping this psychological and physical R&R has Scott ready for tomorrow. It sure looks like it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Take a hike!

Since "hiking" has been Scott's favorite activity this weekend, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the matter. First, the daily report... Scott had another blazing run today, except for a 5 second hike to get back into the course. Neither of us is particularly concerned at this point, as this race series was to be prep for Canada. Once again Scott attacked hard on the fast line. However, the fast line leaves little margin for error and he paid big. That's OK though, as he knows what he did and he's gradually getting the touch and timing back.

Now let's discuss hiking. When a racer misses a gate, or flies out of the race course, in a tech (Slalom or Giant Slalom) event, he has the option of pulling off to the side of the course and quiting, or climbing back up to retake the missed gate and continuing on course. In competition most racers don't bother hiking, especially in the second run of the race. However, Scott is not like most guys.

Our team rule is that athletes "hike" whenever they miss a gate, whether in training or competition -- whether in Slalom or Giant Slalom. My philosophy is that not doing so fosters a defeatist attitude. It creates athletes who bail out whenever the going gets tough. If an athlete knows that he/she will have to hike if a gate is missed, the athlete will try to save the turn, get creative, make the gate. ANYTHING to avoid a high stress, anaerobic, uphill hike! I can't tell you how many times I've watched Scott save a turn. Often those runs have been the winning runs in a race.

When we were at the Topolino Shootout three years ago, where the top 20 boys competed for one spot on the Children's World Championship team, Scott made an interesting comment during the practice day. As we rode the chairlift he watched athlete after athlete abandon the course when they got a little off-line or late. Finally he said, "These guys are going to lose, they're all quitters." Scott won 5 of the 6 races the next two days. None of his runs was letter perfect, but he knew how to hang on.

One of the best moments in our sport was during the 2002 Olympics at Salt Lake City. Bode Miller had already medaled twice and become an American icon. In his final event, Slalom, he entered the second run leading the field. True to his nature he never let off the throttle, pushing the limits of his ability. He missed a gate, and hiked back up even though he had no chance of placing. He reentered the course and missed another gate. He hiked again. Bode hiked three times that run, but finished. I will always admire him for that day -- better than any medal!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

High Intensity Training

We're at Snow King in Jackson, WY now for two FIS slalom races and a few days of tech training before heading back to Canada. Scott was "in" the NORAM tech races at Panorama, BC this week, but we decided it was best to withdraw and get fully prepared for next week's tech races at Nakiska, Alberta. A lot of folks think we're nuts for pulling out of a NORAM opportunity, but I'm trying to manage the mental and physical stress of competition. It's a long season and Scott needs to be functioning at a high level in March when all the Championships come around.

Jackson is one of our favorite places. We stay in the same hotel every time, know all the local restaurants, like the ski team staff, and of course... they have a hockey rink for Scott! Coming here is good for us. The FIS slalom series this weekend offers Scott some realistic, race-day, preparations without a lot of stress before we head back to Canada.

Scott skied extremely fast today on both runs. I mean really fast. Unfortunately, each run included a departure from the course and the ensuing hike to get back in. Needless to say, he didn't score. Today was Scott's first time on slalom skis since Nov 17th, and he skied very well (despite the blow-outs). He showed he has the tools to win big tomorrow, so we'll go from there. No matter what the outcome, this has been the perfect chance for him to "tune-up."

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Scott (the only one in a non National Team coat -- far right) finally nailed the "Fall Away" turn on the hill and posted a huge finish yesterday at the Lake Louise NORAM Super G. Starting with bib #60, he finished 22nd overall, 5th for all Juniors (19 and under) and 1st for his age group. He earned a 38 point FIS result (good enough to move him to #2 in the world for Super G in his age group) and garnered his first NORAM points. That's a mouthful, so let's sum it up as a happy day for Scott.
After the race the coaches and athletes had to take down 900 "B" nets, roll them, and move to the bottom of the mountain... two hours of hard work. Everyone carried their load, including international athletes and their coaches. Nice to see. Scott and I finally hit the road around 5:30PM headed to Jackson Hole, WY. It was a long drive through VERY rural Alberta and Montana. We encountered three herds of horses on the road (close call) and didn't find a hotel until 12:30AM. We arose at 7AM to resume the trip and made it over the pass into Jackson at 4PM in the midst of a snowstorm. I attended the 5PM Team Captain's meeting and waxed skis, while Scott did schoolwork left over from yesterday. We're now headed to bed. Tomorrow starts with a 7AM chairlift to set courses. Scott races slalom tomorrow and Monday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Good wine...

"Downhill racers are like good wine; they have to age to reach their prime." Cory Murdock, ex US Ski Team downhiller and pro skier. So we're learning... Scott is skiing well, but his unfamiliarity with this track is showing when competing against an older field who has raced here many times before. He just finished his second NORAM level downhill today. We switch to Super G tomorrow.
This has been a great learning experience for Scott. He is getting to run the World Cup track from the men's start, a two minute race and a real thigh burner. He also is learning just how important timing and the affects of micro-terrain can be to outcomes. Each day he's run here (four) he's fixed one problem and found a new one. There's still one critical turn he has yet to master. Notwithstanding, he posted very respectable results of 36th and 37th overall in the two races. He handily topped his age division every day and beat a number of US Ski Team members. Although disappointed that he didn't improve his FIS points, Scott is pleased with the outcome relative to the field and the challenging hill.
Tomorrow will be one of those long days to which ski racers become accustomed. We get up early and finish packing the car, check out of our rooms, follow a similar race schedule extending from 7AM to 3PM, then we go back up the hill to help take down all of the protective netting on the 2 miles course for about three hours. After that we'll hop in the car and try to knock off six hours of the trip to Jackson Hole, WY, where Scott has a slalom race on Sunday.
So, having reread the preceding paragraph, I'm heading to bed!

Monday, December 7, 2009


The 2009-10 season is officially under way for Scott. Today was the first timed training run for the Lake Louise NORAM downhills. Weather was the big story here as athletes contended with minus 35F temperatures and the accompanying "grabby" snow. Top speeds barely passed 70 MPH and the longest jump was limited to about 50 meters.

The field this year is somewhat unusual for a NORAM. Due to the lack of snow in Europe a number of World Cup and Europa Cup racers stayed over for this race. Additionally, the US team is here in force with about twenty athletes. Add a similar mix from the Canadian team, and we're thinking the points should be pretty good come race day.

Scott skied well and finished where he started, 38th. This being his first time on the track, he had some timing and orientation issues which slowed him down. He also had a major goggle fogging/icing issue which imaired his vision. That said, his jumps were rock solid and the turns were skied well. I look for a good jump up the standings during tomorrow's practice run.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Moving Day

We got up early and packed out for the two hour drive to Lake Louise this morning. The goal was to arrive in time to watch the women's World Cup Super G. We missed the first few racers, but did get to cheer on a number of US girls, including Lindsey Vonn who eventually settled for the Silver medal .o3 seconds out of the lead.
The track looks great and I talked to a friend who worked the World Cup and he reports excellent conditions. So now the only challenge will be the weather. The forecast calls for ambient temperatures of minus 35 F for the next couple of days. Sometimes they cancel events under those conditions. We've secured athletic tape to create a mask for Scott's face if he does run, and will be taking all of the precautions for his feet and hands.
The wax testing.. For those interested, we were surprised to find the newer skis to be .15 faster over an 18 second test course. Given that both skis are exceptionally fast, we'll be using Scott's newer, slightly stiffer (for ice) skis this week. We have the coldest wax we own on the bases and have had great success with this wax in snow temps down to -19 F in the past.
So finally, after weeks of training and preparation, the first timed downhill run is tomorrow. Can't wait! Oh yeah, the photo is of the bottom 1/3 of the course.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Does the photo look cold? That's because it is. The kids have been training in speed suits with temps ranging from minus 20 degrees F to the balmy 11 degrees F we enjoyed today. Managing clothes and warm-up breaks is a major focus, although the kids are largely expected to self-assess at this age. One athlete didn't do so well, suffering second degree frostbite on his big toe. He's now sidelined and I doubt he'll be ready to race at Lake Louise.
This has been a great week. The project is being run by the Western Region coach, Jeff Pickering, and he brings just the right mix of control and levity for this group. We've had some great course sets on good, hard snow, and minimal, to-the-point, meetings in the evening. I think the athletes will leave here well prepared and adequately rested.
For Scott's part, this has been an important week. His knee shows no symptoms of inflamation, so he's able to ski full bore. He's posted strong times against very fast company, and is having a great time with the group. He's in excellent position for a good week at Lake Louise.
A big part of ski racing is managing resources. One resource is the athlete, which needs to be healthy, well fed and mentally composed. These things don't just happen, there is a lot of behind the scenes planning that goes into it. Hence my compliments to Jeff. Another major component is equipment. I'm pretty excited about where we are in that regard. We've been "running in" Scott's new Downhill and Super G skis this fall, while leaving his "uber fast" skis from last year on the rack. I'm really pleased with how the new skis are running and was able to secure an opportunity for timed testing of all the skis tomorrow. So Scott and I spent tonight ensuring that all his skis are tuned and waxed identically for the tests. Although I suspect the old ones will still be quicker, I want to see how we're coming on the new ones. Don't laugh -- this stuff is exciting to geeks like me!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Final prep begins

After a wonderful four days at home with the girls, we're back on the road. We left Monday for Panorama, BC and a preparation project for the Lake Louise speed events. This is perfect for Scott, as he missed several training days the final week in Colorado and hasn't been on speed skis yet this year.

Today he did two hours of untimed Giant Slalom down Showoff (the trail beneath the lift). The snow is rock hard, but still reacts well to edging... perfect. He skied well and had his timing back by the second run. The project head, Jeff Pickering, asked the athletes to "stay off the gates" this first day, and banned the wearing of armor. Unfortunately, that's not Scott's natural instinct so he now has nicely bruised forearms. No big deal...

After training Scott "ran in" his 2009 Super G and Downhill skis. Although they have more than ten coats of wax (including three hot box sessions) he won't be racing those next week. Last year's skis are running really fast so we'll stick with them for a while longer.

Tomorrow Scott will train Super G with the BC Ski Team (untimed) then switch to Giant Slalom the second session, which will be timed. We're gradually ramping up, with more intensity each day.

We love Panorama for training, but the internet service is abominable. Scott is struggling to get just a day of work done, let alone get ahead for race week. He had 26 pages of Physics which took nearly two hours due to load time. Now, after the group meeting, we're back in the base lodge plugging away.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The long and winding road...

We're finally home with the family for the Thanksgiving weekend. Scott's been training on snow six of the past eight weeks, and we're both ready for a little rest. The home mountain opens Friday and we're looking forward to visiting and skiing with our friends.

The final two weeks in Colorado were difficult for Scott. He was with a National Development project at Loveland Basin for Slalom and Giant Slalom training on injected (water added to create ice) snow. The camp started well, but by the third day the inflamation in Scott's leg returned and he finally stopped fighting it half-way through the project. The rattling on hard snow combined with the effort required to set an edge in the ice prevented him from getting the situation under control. So while I continued to work on the hill, Scott got ahead in school, iced his tendon, and rested. The project was still fun for us as he got to hang out with the guys and I worked with a great group of coaches.

Monday we load out again. This time we're headed to Panorama, BC for a final week of speed training before the opening NORAM downhills at Lake Louise. Joy will join us the second week (Hmm, I though mothers didn't watch downhills). Scott's knee is healed after a week off snow and he's anxious to get the show on the road. If it's anything like last year, he'll be at the final race in April before we know it!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Search for Speed

The second week here is always a lot of fun. Old friends start to show up... the friends we don't see all summer. Scott's run into a number of kids from our Division, plus a few friends from others. I likewise have seen several coaches I know from the circuit. The place gets crowded too. The only safe place is slipping a course or racing.

Today was a great one for Scott. We set Giant Slalom the full-length of the hill, connecting two training lanes. His focus today was to see how deep he could run the line without losing everything else. His first run was clean and fast, then he started running a little deeper (starting the turn lower relative to the gate) each run. By the fourth run he had shaved 2 seconds off a 61 second course -- significant. So tomorrow he'll continue to work on this and find the break point where aggression kills speed. I've attached a photo from today, plus posted some of todays film footage on YouTube. Check it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

On the Road Again

Well, I'm a little late getting back on the blog; we've just finished the sixth day of training in Colorado. We are presently training with Michel Pratte and Matt Kerr, and will continue to do so next week. Then Scott joins the US Ski Team for two weeks of training at Loveland, Colorado. None of this could happen without the generousity and patience of our good friends JJ and Laura Johns, who host us while training here.

Scott had a great first week with sunshine and good, hard, snow. He continued the patterning from Zermatt, and put down the gas. Several special oportunities enhanced an already great situation. Matt got Scott included in a full-on Giant Slalom session with the Bristish Columbia Ski Team one morning. The combination of a 1 minute plus course, bibs and timing created intensity and brought out the best in everyone. Scott fared well against this elite group. Later in the week, US Ski Team member Colby Granstrom (an 18 point Slalom racer) joined us for a day of Slalom and two days of Giant Slalom. Miles Fink-Debray, a top Giant slalom racer, also joined us for the Giant Slalom days. Scott measured up well with the big guys and learned alot. There is a fun dartfish video of Scott and Colby at Search with "Scott Snow ski Colorado Nov 2009"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Relaxing" at home

Ever wonder what racers and coaches do when they're off the road.... Relax? Sleep in? Catch a show? Not quite. See all those skis? Each of them has to be worked-up when they arrive, then waxed as many times as possible before seeing competition. Our goal is eight wax cycles (wax, scrape, brush) before touching the snow, with three of those being hot boxes. Four of these sets now have more than 15 cycles, the other four sets are at eight. Finish a set... start over. It's not as bad as it sounds -- check out our cool wax room. We built it last year beside the garage at road level. Easy in, easy out. We added music and a small flat screen to help the time go by. Five days until we're back on the road.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zermatt Finale

We closed out a successful trip to Europe with three days in France. Visited Chamonix, site of this winter's World Juniors, then took an excursion into rural France to get the Cadillac of gate keys from Jean Claude Dalloz. Finding him was an adventure in itself, but the prize was worth the effort! So now it's 11 days at home before a month of training in Colorado. See you then!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em...

Today was a real mixed bag. Scott woke up with the left knee still a little sore. He did a good warm-up in the valley, then did four warm-up runs, a course inspection, and four timed runs on the glacier. He skied really well -- he's pressuring the top of the turn and skiing the long line consistently now. However, after four full-on runs he decided it was time to quit. I agreed and raised him one by cancelling tomorrow's training. I figure it's smarter to take four total down days, then work back into strength training at home. We've accomplished everything we came here for, plus more.

So we'll be heading to Zurich early, which gives us another day to explore the French Alpes in a rental car. Should be fun! Next training will be in Colorado for the month of November. See you then.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mother's don't let your babies grow up to be...

Weight lifters! Scott only did two runs of Giant Slalom today because his left knee was hurting. Nothing new, it happens if he doesn't make an effort to warm up the leg. Why? Well, three years ago at Panorama, BC he went to the weight room with his cohort, Peter Hoffman. Some older racers were there working out, so Scott felt the need to "compete" as it were. He proudly came back to the room telling all the things he did, including leg extensions. I never recommend those to anyone due to the chance of injury. Anyway, both knees hurt that entire season. He has been slowly recovering from the abuse, the right knee is fine, but the left needs a little extra attention each morning.

Great dinner conversations tonight with Michel and Matt. Amazing the prespectives they bring to the sport with their experience at every level including the World Cup. Politics, personalities, training and management concepts -- I'm soaking it all up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Return to Giant Slalom

On a day that promised high winds and questionable weather, we wound up with sunshine and great training until about 1PM. We set a 27 meter course shadowing the Austrians on our right. The course ran great and the athletes quickly adapted to GS after four days of slalom. Scott had a super day, working on pressure at the top of the turn. All 8 of his runs were within .3 seconds of each other. His final 5 runs in a fairly chopped course were within .13 seconds. He went home happy!

Just being here is a motivator. Watching these Swiss kids ski and work at their craft is impressive. They're focused and have really strong fundamentals. Heck, I've seen 40 kids here who would be Buddy Werner winners. So for an athlete like Scott it sends the clear message that he better work hard, because these Euro guys will be tough to beat. I suppose its like any sport; one needs to get out of the small pond and see what the other fish look like. This has been a very profitable trip by all measures.

Tonight the Masters attending the camp depart. I hate to see them go as they are a great group and it's good for the younger athletes to be around them. We have three days left on snow, one GS and two slalom. I have videos to post, but the internet is on super slow right now. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More sunshine!

I don't know if I can handle this. Even with suncreen, I've got raccoon eyes. It was colder today and the snow was really hard. We set a 58 gate slalom with three hairpins, one flush and a delay -- street legal in FIS terms. Scott has been working on patterning his line all week in both GS and Slalom. He's working on running the line long with initiation outside the corridor. He's got that down, but to accomodate the learning he hasn't really been putting the gas on. Today we told him to pressure the top of the line more and let it go. Wow, he picked up about a second per run. He only skied six runs today, but they were all flat out. So tomorrow we'll try to go to the same place with Giant Slalom. Should be fun.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why are we here?

Hey, another great day of training in the sunshine! But today I'm going to talk about something else... what brought us to Zermatt

To answer the question, I have to go back a few years. We stopped skiing in the summer several seasons ago, defying conventional wisdom. I truly believe one sport makes an athlete better in another. Different movement patterns, less likelihood of muscle/joint damage from repetitive activities, and most importantly, no burn out. Also, you're only a boy once and baseball is a normal state of affairs! So we just operated on winter ski training until two years ago. That year Scott was invited to the Topolino Shootout, an assembly of the top 13-14 year old athletes to decided whom would represent the USA at the children's international ski championships in Italy. Scott and I conspired to form a plan for success and decided some intense pre-season training was needed. Now there just aren't a lot of places to go in November, so I did a web search and found Michel Pratte race camps. After reading the web site and conversing with Michel, we decided it was worth a try. That year Scott won the Topolino Shootout taking 5 of 6 races and represented the USA in Italy. That sold us on training in the Fall.

Fast forward to this year, our third working with Michel Pratte. Michel is a former World Cup tech racer for Canada. His cohort in crime is Matt Kerr, a former World Cup coach for Canada. Together they form a team with which Scott is very comfortable. What I like is that they don't chase cosmetics. They assess the issue and cut to the heart. So, for the past two years Scott has trained with these guys for two weeks in November. While he's training, I hang around helping with course maintenance and learning from the master coaches. It's been a successful formula. But this year we decided Scott needed four weeks on snow before joining the USST at Loveland Basin for training on injected (read ice) snow in late November. Michel had a two week camp planned in Zermatt, plus his normal two weeks at Copper Mountain, CO, so here we are.

A secondary reason for being here is to further acquaint Scott with survivng and travelling in Europe. It won't be long before he has to come here alone to compete, and I want him to be past the "Wow" factor.

If Scott's lucky, this may be his last year training with Michel and Matt (US Ski Team schedules conflict). However we are both richer for the knowledge gained and the good friendship with these great coaches.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Slalom #2

A productive day. Last night I had Scott view the retraction chapter on the USSA Slalom video. That, plus a little more time to get acquainted with his skis, paid dividends. Today he kept his feet grounded during transition which produced some pretty sweet runs. He now has his groove back and is looking forward to timed runs tomorrow.

I got to meet a legend while riding the tram one day this week. Coach Kostelic is the father of Janica and Ivica Kostelic and coached them all the way to the World Cup. Combined they have more than 50 WC wins plus several Olympic Medals. It's a great story about dedication and perseverence while coming up in Croatia during troubled times. They didn't have much money and lived in their car while travelling the circuit. They were even known to climb up into the engine rooms for the lifts after closing and sleep near the warm motors. He's still coaching Ivica and definately does things his own way. We had a great conversation.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Slalom transition

Well, I had to skip a day. I was toast yesterday and did some personal "maintenance" in the form of a nap! We wrapped up the first Giant Slalom session yesterday with a full-on timed course. Scott skied 8 runs through the course and I was pleased with his skiing for this time of year. What I liked best was his intensity. His final run, in a rutted course, was only .05 seconds off his fastest run. He wanted more but we folded it up.

Today was his first day on slalom for the year. He again was contending with the small sweet spot for his new gear (stiffer boots and skis). Tremendous power in the skis, but he sometimes had trouble keeping the feet grounded in transition. That's time lost. By the end of the day he was doing better. We'll watch the USSA Slalom coaching video tonight to reinforce the concept. They have a great section on retraction.

The head case. Technical ability is only part of the deal in sports. And the higher the level of competition, the bigger the role mental strength plays. Scott was disappointed in his skiing today (no one else was) and brooded all the way home. Now the "commute" home from the glacier consists of three T bar rides and three gondola rides. Takes 90 minutes. By the time we got off the T Bars, I couldn't handle it any more and checked out on my own. I can't stand negative thoughts. Scott got the message and caught up to me as I slogged up the hill back to the hotel. He's growing up and he'll do just fine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Second day of GS Gates

Another banner day. The snow warmed a little yesterday, then froze really hard overnight creating excellent race conditions. Temps stayed cool all day, so the course held up well.

Scott logged 11 full-on, 50-60 second long, GS runs. He's getting the hang of the new gear. Still has the occasional timing issue, but in all put down some super runs. We're setting courses at 25 meters for the first 3-5 gates rolling into a pitch, followed by about 27 meters the rest of the way. Pretty good off-set to make them work and bring force across transitions. Speeds only running around 40 MPH, but good for the objectives. Tomorrow we'll run full timed courses to end this GS sequence.

Every day I get more excited about the equipment set-up. Scott has the strength to use the stiffer boots and is learning the smaller sweet spot and quicker responsiveness. Can't wait to see these work on injected snow.

The "day three doldrums" have definately set in. Everyone is looking a little haggard around here. We'll get through tomorrow, then switch to Slalom for four days. That, plus some acclimatization, should bring back some energy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Photos from Zermatt

First Gates

Great day on snow. Started early with 6:30 tram to the glacier. Filled with WC coaches non-plused by the scenery. I was amazed by it. The Matterhorn was a muted shadow against the late night sky. Everything was still and beautiful. OK, enough of that stuff, let's talk skiing.

Great hard snow and plenty of vertical. Set a 38 gate GS today in two sections. Trained for about 4 hours. French team on the left, Crotia (with Kostelic) two lanes to the right. Scott was feelin' it. His stiffer boots/skis combo allows him to ski the longer line, yet still complete the carve. I think the summer of monster workouts played a role in this as well. He had three stellar runs, a few good runs, and a couple where he experimented and over-reached. A solid second day on skis and already noticeably faster than last year.

Tested one new wax product and it was fast. Will do comparative tests between the two products day after tomorrow. Getting a lot done but the combo of hiking, skiing, sun and altitude is taking it's toll. Hey, maybe I'll lose weight...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First day on snow!

What a great day! Sunshine, moderate temps and high quality snow. The group free skied today and got their feet back under them. Scott is pretty excited about the new set-up this year. The skis are stiffer and have a smaller sweet spot, but when combined with the stiffer (150 flex) boots, they're "like the difference between your Subaru and a Porsche. " Hmmm, I wonder when he drove a Porsche. I'm also tired of my fine ski car being maligned... Notwithstanding, the "Porsche" was a little touchy at first, but by day's end Scott was dialing in. Tomorrow I'm out of here by 6:30 AM to set a GS course and we'll see for sure.

The training area is great. 12000-13000 feet high on a glacier. Well groomed. Two fast T Bars to ride, lots of space. About six national teams are here right now. We skied to Italy for lunch (Yes, the Thor's sticker is still on the top step, Brandon) then returned for two more hours.

The commute is a trip. We hike 1 KM downhill to the Tram, ride three different trams to the top, walk through a 100yard tunnel and emerge at the glacier. Coming home took about 90 minutes including the uphill slog with gear. Yeah, this'll get us ready for ski season.

Prepped the skis tonight for the first of our ski wax tests. Have two products fresh from the shop to try.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Matterhorn

We're settled in Zermatt and what a great day! It stated a little early though, with Scott waking at 1 AM due to jet lag. He went to the hotel gym and lifted weights for 2.5 hours while I tried to get back to sleep. At 4 I threw in the towel and we took the 5 AM train to Zermatt. Never rode a train up such a steep grade. Extraordinary scenery with hanging glaciers, water falls and chalets hanging from the most improbable spots. We're in the hotel now, reunited with skis, bindings back on and adjusted. We ski GS tomorrow. Three gondolas to the snowfields. I hear the snow is cold and hard. Can't wait!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The idiot has landed

Yeah, that would be me. I packed everything except the power cord to the computer. Best FEDEX can do is Sep 30, so these posts will be brief unytil then, and absolutely no pics. Anyway, we arrived on time and intact. Hung around Zurich today (Museum, cafes, etc) and head to Zermatt tomorrow. More to follow!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Another "restfull" day of packing. Well, the ski bag and each of the suitcases are exactly 50 lbs now --Lord knows what's in which one after all the adjustments. Of course the downside is that our carry-ons are about 40 lb each. Oh well. Amazing what it takes to train for two weeks -- I think I took less for a year in Vietnam!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Two days until winter begins for the Independence Racing Team. It's hard to explain the effect of this accelerated schedule. Tuning and waxing 8 sets of skis since early August, walking around the house in ski boots for two hours a day to ensure fit, hours on the phone programming six months of travel, stacking wood and cleaning chimneys while everyone else is still boating and playing golf... but it's all worth it! Soon we'll be in Zermatt, standing on real snow by day and consuming fondue by night. So welcome to day one of my new blog. Scott has one of his own which will give the racer's perspective. Mine will be the reality of travel, tuning, coaching, waxing and parenting -- ho humm.