Finally they crossed the border into Andorra, arriving at their hotel in the town of El Serrat. It was
here they met up with the other U.S. team members, who were all still talking about the drive, and
rotating in slow circles to take in the mountain landscape. Making the trip were a few of the heavy-hit-ters of U.S. masters ski racing, such as Tim Hill and Knut Olberg from PNSA; Rocky Mountain’s Jen
Kaufman; Easterners Pepi Neubauer and Anne Nordhoy (plus Beckedorff); Central’s Bob Tengdin;
Harold Westcott and Bob Davis out of the Far West, and Intermountain’s Pam Sheeler. There was
so much to see and absorb in such an exotic environment, they said, that the races at times seemed
peripheral. This perspective was reinforced by a heavy snowfall at the start of the series. With chutes
and steep ravines lining the ridges, the masters racers experienced a good dose of Andorran steep
and deep as a prelude to the four-race series.
Once the races were underway, however, every aspect of the competitive events went off like clock-
work. “Arcalis ski area was a big mountain with multiple high speed lifts, good snowmaking, groom-
ing, and the course setting was phenomenal,” said Neubauer, who had every reason to be upbeat as
he swept the Class 9 races and won the overall Group D (Class 7 men and older) super G.
“It was like a World Cup,” Neubauer said. “They had starting tents at the top and an enormous in-
flated arch over the finish, and the announcer was so enthusiastic. I can’t say enough about how nice
it was to go to a place where they make you feel so welcome.”
Neubauer wasn’t the only one who stood out against the best in the world. Beckedorff won the Class
Class 5’s Tim Hill might have had some trou-
ble off the slopes (lost car keys, wrong gas
in car, and accidentally disposing of Olberg’s
passport), but he shined on the racecourses.
Hill collected a pair of silver medals in the
technical events and a fifth in super G.
Knut Olberg was unruffled by the missing
passport incident, didn’t bat an eye when his
ski poles were locked in the car, and coolly
negotiated the seven-mile ascent to the ski
area every morning with Hill and Kaufman.
He raced with the same aplomb, but with
Neubauer in his class, Olberg was forced to play second fiddle. He shined in that role, however, with
three silver-medal performances in one of the more competitive classes.
With hosts so gracious, it was only fitting that the final awards party became one of the highlights of
the trip. “There were drummers and traditional dancers performing outside our hotel,” said Kaufman.
Jen Kaufman celebrates a good day in Andorra with Knut Olberg and Tim Hill.
JENNIFER KAUFMAN; PEPI NEUBAUER
“Then they took all of us up on the
gondola to the lodge at the top of
With the din created by 20 different languages, including the
local Catalan dialect, as background music, the nearly 400 racers dined on local produce, were
entertained by the singers and
dancers, and swapped stories of
their experiences. As Kaufman,
related, her “I’m not in Colorado
anymore moment” came in her first race of the series. She was in the start and fired up to attack the
slalom. The starter apparently began giving her the countdown, but the language was unintelligible
to Kaufman. After a long pause with Kaufman still in the gate, they finally looked at each other and
the starter yelled, “GO!”
For Neubauer, it was the warmth of the people, and Beckedorff said she will long remember the
powder day with 6-year-old Harrison leading a group of racers down one of the steeper chutes. The
people, landscapes, the villages, and the lost car keys were all components of the great adventure,
and oh yes, the races were pretty good, too.
“It was like a World Cup,” said Pepi Neubauer of the professional preparations.
The U.S. crew. Back: Pam Sheeler, Knut Olberg, Bob
Tengdin, Pepi Neubauer, Carolyn Beckedorff, Jen
Kaufman. Front: Tim Hill and Harrison DiGangi.
SkiRacing.com MARCH 17, 2011 | 51