Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Helping out

Speed... Scott likes nothing better. As a coach, I prefer speed events as well. Although the skiing is fast, the daily pace is far slower because there's only one run per day. Nice!

We spent last week at Big Sky, MT where Scott raced two Super Gs and two Downhills. It's good to be home and even better to be back in the Western Region. It's been fun seeing all the coaches and athletes we've worked with for so many years. As an added bonus, the race was near MSU so Bonnie came up for the weekend and Joy drove out from Idaho. A regular family reunion! We rented a house near the mountain and had a good time.

This race represented several things to Scott. First, there was an outside chance to score FIS points given the fact that the field included several current and former USST members. Second, this was an excellent warm-up for next week's NORAM speed week at Aspen. Finally, this was a chance to help our Region with points. If you haven't read it yet, go back to the Nov 30th blog entitled "What's the Point?" For these young racers to progress they need to face athletes with lower points than their own. Many of the racers in this field had 990 points (none) and needed Downhill results in order to qualify for championships later this season. I can remember the days when we hoped for a good points field.

The snow was great the first four days. There was a deep (-27F) freeze for two days following a week of warm weather yielding a hard, fast surface. Scott finished second and first in the two Super G's, and scored some good FIS points. He was also second and first in the two Downhill training runs on the same surface. Then the snow came. On Saturday we all slipped and worked for about seven hours to no avail. The jury correctly postponed the race for safety concerns. Sunday wasn't any better and the wind was pretty fierce. However, after a few hours of work the crew was able to get the races off. Scott finished fourth, .12 of a second off the lead after a bauble on the final flats. The organizers decided to try and get a race off Monday despite a discouraging weather forecast. Scott stayed on to help with the points and incredibly the race was completed, albeit quite late. Scott finished second in that Downhill by .09 of a second.

It was a very profitable week from the racing standpoint. Scott just switched to the doubledeck Atomic speed skis and was able to get dialed in on how they handle. He's really fired up about next week in Aspen. We'll be there seven days for two NORAM Super Gs, two NORAM Downhills and the National Championship Downhill. All we need is some hard snow. Unfortunately, Aspen just received a big powder dump. They've got a great race department though, and very supportive mountain management, so I'm sure they'll work it out.

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