has a steep middle section sandwiched between a relatively flat upper section and a parking-lot-like lower section off the face of the glacier. The transitions are tough, and it can be difficult to find
the right tactical approach to stay ahead of whatever sneakiness the course-setter might have had
in mind. This year Ligety aced the first run at Soelden, took the first-run lead, and, with an air of
calm, went back to the top and skied an even better second run.
“Ted is skiing GS better than ever,” says U.S. head coach Sasha Rearick. “I take that back — two
weeks ago he was really on fire. This week, in that first run, I don’t think he was going as hard as
he could. He skied the bottom and top very well.”
After the first run, Ligety had a 0.18-second advantage over Carlo “The Iceman” Janka. Ligety
was also 0.21 ahead of Philipp Schoerghofer and 0.31 ahead of Alexis Pinturault. Romed Bau-mann, in fifth, was a half-second back. His advantage was not large, and he was also going to run
last of 30 skiers.
It wasn’t that the course deteriorated badly. It wasn’t, Rearick said, that it was rough. But the
powerfully emphatic turns being made on the surface were going to have an effect. The holes that
developed were sharp, creating a need to employ some mental fortitude.
“In the second run he skied much better,” said Rearick, “and he skied tactically smart. ... Maybe
he is tactically smarter than he has ever been.”
Ligety got the win. The Iceman cracked and ended up fourth. Schoerghofer slipped back two
tenths and the 20-year-old Pinturault, a French nebula destined for star status, managed to get
back a couple hundredths, not the tenths that he needed. Ligety got his ninth World Cup win and
dipped some hardener on the concrete of his position as best GS skier in the world.
With eight men in the race — seven ski team members and Warner Nickerson — the U.S. wasn’t
done with Ligety. Bode Miller, a week into his 34th year with nearly half of those spent on the World
Cup circuit, did not train as hard this summer as Ligety. He skipped the Portillo camp completely
and had, according to some reports, as few as 12 days on snow before the race. But he finished
ninth, a position that puts him in a very good place to bump his GS rankings back up among the
elite. He’s now 20th on the World Cup start list in GS and 16th on the overall start list.
“He skied quite well,” said Rearick. “In five days of training he was up and down. After six days,
he just wasn’t skiing that well. Then he took some time off, backed off the intensity.”
Miller’s first run held some moments that can only be termed “bodesque.” He was seventh to the
first intermediate clock, but, as Rearick said, “the middle was pathetic.” Despite trouble that would
have eliminated 90 percent of the field, Miller stayed on course and stayed within 1.6 of the leaders. The guy who skied the second run was like a reborn athlete.
“Bode showed up for the second run,” said Rearick. “When he came by me, I was so psyched.
He lost a ski a bit on the lower part of the course, but that was a good effort.”
That — two out of eight — was it for the U.S. scoring, but it was not the end of the positive stuff
that Rearick chose to take out of the day. Was he disappointed other Americans didn’t score?
Rest paid off for the 34-year- old Bode Miller, in 9th place.
Ligety finds his way through the parking-lot-like lower section to the finish and the win.
SkiRacing.com OCTOBER 31, 2011 | 27