Saturday, October 21, 2006

the push

First of all, check out this sweet 360-degree panorama image of Hintertux Glacier that I just found on their website.

Today was our fourth day on snow here in Austria. The last three days we've trained GS on the same narrow lane. One of the things about training in Europe is that teams set their courses very close to one another, and it can be a nerve-wracking experience skiing 30 m.p.h. down a course, with another skier two meters away skiing a parallel course at the same speed — not much room for error. It's funny how much has been made lately of the American trend toward doing everything faster and more recklessly, when it's the Euros who seem to be faster and ruder with everything they do.

A prime example is the phenomenon known — on our team, anyway — as "the push." The push happens every morning around 7:45 in the parking lot of the Hintertuxer Gletscherbahn gondola, when several hundred junior ski teams crowd into a small area between metal barricades, vying to be one of the first on the gondola when it opens at 8:00 a.m. It's one of those sights that has to be seen to be believed: something happens to make one or two people decide that the gondola might be about to open and pandemonium breaks loose, every kid and coach grabbing his or her equipment and pressing forward against each other to try to get as close to the lift entrance as possible. It's a free-for-all that's simultaneously hilarious and pretty disturbing. I'm sure people have been trampled in the push; this is exactly how people die at rock concerts.

1 comment:

Walt said...

Carl, that's got to be one of the best blog entries ever: an awesome pic, a link to a fascinating book and a behind-the-scenes look at what's going on.