Winter, Wengen, Weenies

Winter set to pound much of the country, and not a moment too soon with the holiday weekend looming. It’s been feast or quasi-famine; some areas have been pounded with snow over the past two weeks while others have starved — but at least they’ve had the temps to make snow. Fortunately the bigger areas that rely on natural snow have had plenty, so it’s been working out. One that comes to mind is Mad River Glen VT; definitely not known for snowmaking but they’re fully open thanks to the upslope snows that fall almost daily in the Green Mountains. Photo above taken at MRG this morning…downstate a bit to Bromley VT, they have not received a heck of a lot of snow, but the snowmaking team has 100% of their terrain open. This contrast has similar stories all over the country…better late than never at Steamboat CO I suppose, they finally got another snowstorm which has improved things tremendously…looking more or less at the center of the country, Terry Peak SD has all but one or two trails open, they’ll be running USSA races this weekend so the place will be hopping…back over to UT, Snowbird just got another half a foot…World Cup in the heart of the season this weekend. Boys are in Wengen SWI for the traditional Lauberhornrennen, which is their longest downhill. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is the one that passes under a cable car and is run in the shadow of the Eiger. Olympia delle Tofane Gals meanwhile are in Cortina for what is arguably the most scenic speed route on their schedule, the Olympia delle Tofane course. The most iconic section is shown in the photo at right, if you happen to be looking at this on a desktop screen. If you’re on a phone I have no idea if you’ll even see the photo. Anyway the big news out of Cortina is that Lindsey Vonn will be making her umpteenth comeback this weekend. With Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel setting the pace, Lindz was 10th quickest yesterday. She sat out today’s practice run, in which Switzerland’s own Corinne Suter was quickest. And who wouldn’t love to see Vonn beat Ingemar Stenmark‘s career mark? Let me assure you, the odds are seriously stacked against her. Her body has been mangled so many times, and speaking of time, it refuses to slow down. She’s skiing against the best in the world, and they’re in their prime. So no, I don’t think she’ll retire with the record — I’ll be ecstatic if she notches even one more before it’s over. But don’t let anybody tell you that she’s any less of a skier for that. Vonn has won in speed, tech, combined — you name it. Stenmark was a tech weenie, he had just one speed podium, third in a combined. Send the two down the Olympia delle Tofane in their prime and Vonn would’ve beat him. Now in Stenmark’s defense, he had fewer events, crappy equipment. It was a different time, so let’s take nothing away from his accomplishments. I guess what I’m trying to say is, Vonn is Vonn, Stenmark is Stenmark, they both stand alone. But all-around? Vonn. That’s an undeniable fact….other World Cup news, Austrian great and past overall champ Anna Veith pulled off course during a recent training run — more knee surgery, I believe she’s out for the season.