Lindsey Vonn rockets into sport’s stratosphere
with Soelden win BY ERIC WILLIAMS
Lindsey Vonn has reason to smile: a 0.80-second lead that delivers her first World Cup GS win after 51 attempts.
SOELDEN — This tiny Tyrolean village is as Austrian as it gets. Sheep graze in the green fields behind
quaint inns with such names as Hubertus and Garbershof. The few stores in town sell cured meats and
local cheese, and close at 6 p.m. The thousands of larch trees that populate the steep mountainsides
of the Oetztal valley turn a brilliant gold each year, signaling the end of October — and the return of the
alpine World Cup opener that has called Soelden’s Rettenbach glacier home for the past 14 years.
As Austrian as Soelden is, it rolled up its sleeve for a substantial injection of the Stars and Stripes recently.
Just as posters of Bode Miller went up around town in early October, announcing the coming “Weltcup,”
the U.S. Ski Team announced that Soelden and nearby Obergurgl-Hochgurgl would be the team’s European training base through the next three years, a deal brokered in part by new U.S. alpine director and
Soelden native Patrick Riml. The American skiers wasted no time making themselves at home, scoring
several days of valuable training time on the race slope in the week before competition.
The gringos really marked the territory an adopted home on race weekend as Lindsey Vonn did something no one (including herself) saw coming, and Ted Ligety did exactly what everyone expected when the
duo won both giant slalom races. As the U.S. ambassador to Austria, William Eacho, waved an American
flag in the stands, Miller and Julia Mancuso claimed top-1 0 results.
“It’s fantastic here, Soelden’s our home now and after winning with both the men and women, it feels
SkiRacing.com OC TOBER 31, 2011 | 23