The DIY Guide to World Cup Ski Racing
HOW SOLO SKIER WARNER NICKERSON
STAYED AFLOAT FOR ANOTHER START
AT SOELDEN BY HANK MCKEE
Ski racers from New Hampshire tend to be an unpredictable lot
— generally successful, but certainly unpredictable. Chief among
them (with a nod to Tyler Palmer, the first American to win a Eu-
ropean World Cup race) has to be Bode Miller, a man who mea-
sures risk with an entirely different yardstick than most.
But while Miller chastised Jon Olsson’s driver for failing to keep a
Nissan GTR up to the competition during the Gumball Rally across
Europe last spring, there was another Granite State ski racer in the
back seat, laughing. That would be Warner Nickerson.
How is it a guy can end up chasing a Lamborghini Murcielago,
in the fashion pages of a Norwegian tabloid and hoisting World
GS Champion Ted Ligety on his shoulders during the 2011 World
Championships in Germany all in one season? That is what we
travel to Nickerson’s home near Lake Winnipesaukee to find out.
We find Nickerson feverishly working on his party boat — the 86’er
— in his dad’s driveway, trying to repair winter damage before the
quintessential weekend. It’s the Friday before the Fourth of July and
Winnipesaukee is the ideal place to celebrate. We help put the new
bar top in position while he bolts it in place. That accomplished, we
are, he says, ready to launch.
The 86’er is a head-turning craft. Basically a pontoon boat, a raft
with an engine, it is outfitted with the aforementioned bar, a beach
umbrella and a waterslide. On a lake like Winnipesaukee, where
motorcraft is king, and the bigger and more expensive the better,
the 86’er stands out.
Nickerson bought it with $700 won at the 2010 U.S. Nationals (he
got a second and third). At the launch now, he attaches a full-sized
American flag, takes a drink from a gallon of water and pulls out his
laptop. Last year he lost his iPhone — full of tunes — off the boat.
Warner Nickerson catches his breath after racing this eason’s World Cup opener in Soelden.
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