The past week has been a whirlwind of activity – training and testing. As preparation turns to the new season, I thought I would share two moments from the season past that left a lasting impression – for different reasons.
Sun Valley – 2016 US Nationals
Greyhawk is one impressive run. The entire race courses in Giant Slalom and Slalom can be taken in from the finish, as well as most of the superG. The layout of the track as it plunges directly in the fall line through varied terrain, when coupled with a snow surface typically reserved for World Cup races, makes for spectacular ski racing.
Big crowds gathered to take in the action. The atmosphere was electric.
The race of the event was the superG which used the brand-new traverse to enter Greyhawk. Watching the athletes tackle the slope made me reflect this was a race like the old days. Each athlete had their own line, dictated by a mix of experience and confidence. Some mastered the tricky terrain and speed, others found themselves catapulted off the track.
This was great ski racing. Tough and a true test of skill. Entertaining to watch every athlete. The use of tactics, too rare these days on the World Cup, was refreshing to see.
The US Nationals will make a return to Sun Valley in 2018.
Zermatt – in the shadow of the Matterhorn
The impressive spike of the Matterhorn dominates the panorama when stepping out onto the Theodul Glacier at 7am. You feel on the roof of Switzerland, surrounded by 4,000 metre peaks in every direction.
But the truly impressive sight are the multitude of race lanes and athletes – young and old – attracted by the quality of snow and reliable terrain for some of the best summer training in Europe. Clubs from both Italy and Switzerland as well as many National Teams make Zermatt their summer training base.
There is no better feeling than arcing turns on fresh corduroy. The morning latte will taste that much better by the second hour over at the Refugio on the Italian side.