Sunday, March 15, 2009


Yesterday we wrapped up the World Cup Finals in Whistler, B.C. This was our test event for the Vancouver Paralympics next year; we were racing on the same hill we'll be on then. I'm writing from the Vancouver airport on the way back to Colorado and don't much feel like writing prose right now — kinda sleepy after a late night out with all the teams. So instead I'll write some bullet points to update you on the pertinent facts, and I'll keep going until I get sick of writing more or it's time to board our flight, whichever comes first. Ready? OK, let's do this:
  • In yesterday's slalom, my U.S. teammate Gerald Hayden landed on his first World Cup podium, taking the bronze behind Suzuki (JPN) and Egle (AUT) and ahead of a lot of really, really good skiers. In the finish I gave him a fist bump and a "Booyakasha!"
  • I seem to have caught a bad case of the DNFs lately. I didn't finish the downhill, GS or slalom. Despite that, I'm pretty happy with how I'm skiing and I think that when I do break out of this rut next season, I'll be racing on a higher level. I haven't trained as much this winter as usual because we've been so busy racing, and I think it's hurt me in the technical events.
  • If you haven't seen them yet, the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic mascots are AWESOME. Quatchi is a friendly sasquatch and Miga is an adorable little anime-ish bear or something, while the Paralympic mascot Sumi (who was in the finish area of our races most days) is a weird hybrid of a sea turtle, an eagle and a bear — kind of messed up but functional in his own little happy way, much like most of us Paralympic athletes.
  • The Sea To Sky Highway, from Vancouver to Whistler, is breathtakingly cool and scenic.
  • I did finish the super combined race, in 10th place (14th in the super G portion and 5th in the slalom — who would've guessed I'd be turning into a slalom specialist?). I managed to finish all three super-combis this season, meaning I finished in a respectable 8th place in the final standings in that discipline.
  • The downhill course is truly badass. Like the Sestriere course from 2006, it has everything a disabled downhill should: speed, steeps, flats, a big banked turn, and even some air. This is probably the fastest course I've ever raced; I was clocked at 111 km/h (69 mph) during a training run, although in the race run I slid out before I got to the speed trap. Despite the DNF, it was valuable experience to run the Paralympic course three days in a row.