World Cup Wraps Up
As the World Cup season dripped away in Lenzerheide, the soggy snow and
foggy skies raised a number of issues for the FIS to consider. The first is fixing the
racing calendar — a situation in which officials have been kicking the can down the
road. Politically, it’s easy to do business as usual and not address tightening the
schedule, making travel easier and ending the season earlier. Currently resorts are
asked to run the World Cup Finals very late in the season. While weather can be a
factor anytime, spring at low altitude may not be overly sensible.
The FIS rule that states races cancelled in the Finals cannot be made up also needs
some rethinking. For the FIS, the rule is convenient. Everyone is tired after a long
season, and there are no more stops on the World Cup circuit. But under this kind of
rule, if one French Open semifinal match were to be rained out, then the winner of
the semifinal event that was played would be named the winner! It may be a bit of a
stretch, but you get the point. Why not add a few lay days to the Finals, just in case
bad weather strikes?
In my opinion the FIS pros made the right decisions in cancelling the races. The conditions were terrible. There is no reason to ruminate about Lindsey Vonn’s loss of the
overall title. It was disappointing to see the final opportunity to capture a fourth overall
title disappear, but in many ways the title slipped away over the course of the season.
The FIS should be concerned about four titles being awarded by weather, and should
work toward a solution that allows racing, and not the elements, to decide who wins.
This issue wraps up the World Cup season with Hank McKee reporting on the men
racing at Kvitfjell — including a bit about the flare-up between Swiss star Didier Cuche
and men’s World Cup director Guenther Hujara. Eric Williams, following the women
racing in the Czech Republic, reports on a newcomer to the U.S. Team.
Lenzerheide has held some great Finals in the past but weather took this one away
from the racers. The high point for the U.S. came when Julia Mancuso fired down the
Beltrametti piste to secure her first downhill win in four years. It was a terrific victory
and a great effort on the part of the prolific medalist.
The NCAA college circuit held its finals in Stowe, Vt. Bryce Hubner reports that the
Buffs of Colorado put the title away early and that, save for the Vermont Catamounts,
Ski Racing’s Power Rankings stood the test of the season. Speaking of teams, Bill McCollom discusses the foibles and joys of high school racing in his Finish Line piece. Bill
also brings you masters results and tales from Copper Mountain.
The Sun Valley Ski Education foundation (SVSEF) hosted a bang-up nordic national
championship, testing the mettle of all involved. Tim Reynolds brings you the story.
Dave Peszek spent time with Sun Valley freestyle coach Andy Ware and found out
why his program is becoming so popular and how it is different from the norm. He also
explains how the coaches want GS skis tuned for moguls. That’s right — on Baldy, it’s
GS skis for freestyle.
The Freestyle Nationals were held at Stratton and, not surprisingly, U.S. Ski Team
veteran and Ski Racing staffer Emily Cook took the aerials title for the fifth time while
Hannah Kearney followed up her crystal globe performance with another national moguls title. Eric Williams brings you the details.
The next issue will be our last of the season. Eric Williams will have returned from the
U.S. Alpine Nationals in Winter Park. Hank McKee will be covering the Whistler Cup,
which often gives us a clue as to juniors to watch. The editors will also be presenting
Ski Racing annual awards and chatting with Patrick Riml about his thoughts as the
new USSA alpine director.
As usual, Ski Racing’s website will have up-to-the-minute news as the season winds
down. With all the late season snow, enjoy spring! Squaw Valley is staying open until
Memorial Day and Mount Hood has been pounded — just to mention two areas.
— G.B. Jr.
SALES AND MARKETING
PETER Q. GRAVES
GARY BLACK JR.
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