You know what has been the best part of my day over the past week? The three seconds after I cross the finish line and before I see my time. Things are just not feeling right for me in the technical events, slalom and GS. We raced two of each here in Queyras, France, and tomorrow we drive back to Munich, then fly home to the States on Monday. I finished both giant slaloms, but I never felt like I was skiing cleanly except on the flattest parts of the course, and I finished each run over five seconds behind the leader. I thought the slaloms would go better, but instead they went worse: each day, I finished the first run outside the top 15, then resolved to get more aggressive for the second run but skied out and failed to finish.
Today has been a good off day. We hung out at the L'Eldorado Restaurant adjoining our hotel and watched Lindsey Vonn (nee Kildow) win the classic women's downhill at Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy. That was just a warm-up for the even more classic men's downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, the Hahnenkamm, which Bode almost managed to win — he tied for second behind Switzerland's Dider Cuche — despite making the majority of one turn with both skis off the ground, running along a safety fence, a good meter above the snow! We watched in horror as the second racer on course, our countryman (and for some of us, good friend) Scott Macartney, crashed badly off the final jump of the notorious Streif course. Scotty Mac, who was celebrating his 30th birthday today, landed so hard on his head that he broke his helmet in half and then slid, unconscious, across the finish line. Ironically, he still managed to finish in 33rd place — just 0.16 seconds away from scoring World Cup points. The mood in the finish area looked somber on TV as medics airlifted the still-unconscious Macartney to a hospital in Innsbruck. We all hope he suffered no more than a concussion and that he gets back on his feet again soon.
When I get back to the States, M. and I will spend two nights at my place in Winter Park before heading to the X Games in Aspen to begin training for the Mono Skier X competition.