Lake Louise is the site of the opening World Cup downhills in North America each year. First the men come through town, then the ladies, and finally, as long as all the preparations have been made, the NORAM circuit bats clean-up... literally. The final day we get to tear down all of the "B" netting!
We live for speed weeks. Although Scott is a four event athlete, speed is truly his forte. He loves the wind in his face and flying off bumps at 80+ mph. We both enjoy the pace. Days are simpler than at technical events. Lengthy inspections, lots of mental preparation, only one run per day, then afternoons of preparing skis for the next race. Everything just seems more layed back. Of course for some people these are stressful weeks, but Scott's so comfortable with speed that this is more like a week at the amusement park.
He's skied well thus far in the two training runs. Yeah training runs. The rules require that any competitor completes at least one timed run through the exact course which will be used on race day. They normally schedule two days in case weather intervenes, but this year he got to run both days. Scott's skis are running well. He was fastest through the traps yesterday and today he handily won the final glide split. Tactically there have been some issues. Yesterday he missed his line on a big fall away turn and took a scenic tour enroute to the next gate. It cost him a bunch of time and he finished 39th. Today he fixed that problem and finished 13th... in the hunt. A win or podium here is well within reach if he puts it all together.
As I mentioned earlier, mental preparation is a big part of this event. At 80-90 mph there's little time for indecision. Athletes must have the course memorized to the most minute detail. Being a foot off line in some segments might put one into the fence. At a minimum, it will cost precious tenths of a second in a game of hundredths. As a coach, I focus on being positive, sticking to a regimen and helping the athletes create tools for remembering their line. But the most important thing after tactics is doing whatever is takes to help each athlete get into the proper frame of mind for the race.