Bode Miller is holding nothing
back this season — here in the
Val Gardena SG.
Blardone celebrated with a
Swiss winner Beat Feuz displays the
Val Gardena trophy.
raced at Val Gardena before. Not knowing any better,
he simply charged all out and got the win over Miller.
But Miller wasn’t completely confident he’d even stay
on the podium.
“There’s enough guys (left to start), if the light gets
better,” said Miller. “I made some mistakes on the
course — there’s not a ton to it. When I went the vis-
ibility was pretty crappy, too. It was snowing pretty
hard on the top. If you get a cloud break and get a
little sun up there, that can make a huge difference
on a course like this. On this particular course you
have to always wait to the end, guys can come from
the way back. There’s a lot of variables here.”
That proved insightful. Austria Max Franz scorched
from the 54th start to finish fifth and Finn Andreas
Romar from the 40th start to seventh. But the bulk of
the top 10 all wore single-digit bibs.
Which just makes Feuz’s run — in bib 26 — all the
more admirable. In downhill training he had finished
36th and 40th, completely botching the line in the
Ciaslat Meadow. “I haven’t known what to do when
I wasn’t able to catch the Ciaslat properly,” he said
after the race. But he heard, at the top, that race
speeds were slower than anticipated and decided
the only solution was to take risk. Lots of risk. “It sim-
ply worked out,” he said.
Canadian Jan Hudec skied to 10th, starting one bib
in front of Feuz and said he was pleased with his run.
“I made one big mistake from risking too much,” he
said, “which I’m okay with. The light was super flat
but at the bottom it broke up a little bit.”
Hudec has scored in all three super G’s held and
sits eighth in the standings for the discipline. Also col-
lecting points was Andrew Weibrecht in 20th; Wiley
Maple collected his first career Cup points in 29th.
Val Gardena was virtually snowless when the tour
arrived, save for snowmaking on the course. And it
played havoc with training, the first more than three
hours to complete and the second was a struggle as
well. Downhill race day was a disaster. Twenty-one
racers were sent from a lowered start before officials
canceled the race due to wind.
Alta Badia, Dec. 18 and 19
The Italians had the right to be bummed having
lost their premier downhill, the highlight of the pre-Christmas season. But they weren’t. They still had
Alta Badia in their stocking, just over the rise in the
next valley. With fanfare, the World Cup elite were
helicoptered to the site for Sunday’s GS, a race
called “the Holy Grail” of giant slalom by American
coach Sasha Rearick.
Every little GS ski racer in the world wants to win at
Alta Badia. Young Italian ski racers dream of such
things. Thirty-two year old recent father Massimiliano