(Cross-posted at Sisyphus Shrugged.)
Lindsey Kildow wipes out.
I am a very, very good skier. I'll kick your ass.
I skiied competitively in high school, once whupped the sorry posterior of a future Olympian in the Giant Slalom. Torneo Nacional para la Juventud, representing El Colegio Nido de Aguilas, La Parva, 1975. You could look it up (assuming the records of the Club Nacional del Esquí de Chile are online, and that the little rich-boy turd didn't get his fascist daddy to erase the Permanent Record.)
But precisely because I'm a damned fine skier, it's an agony of twitching legs, shallow breath and unconscious body english watching those utterly psychotic downhillers point their sticks straight down and just ride 'em. There was an establishing shot done from a helicopter during yesterday's Downhill coverage that just scared the bejeebers out of me. The copter followed the route of the race from the finish line up, up, up the sheer side of this mountain, past the treeline, and all the way to just below the peak, where the warming huts were. And with every vertical foot that the copter traced, my heart beat harder and harder.
Skiing is controlled falling. Slightly modified skydiving. Not much more to it than that. Those wiggly things that you do with your hips, all that edging and carving turns and whatnot, is all geared to governing your speed. Absolutely the first, last and onliest rule of skiing is stay in control. Ignore that, and you become a danger to yourself and others.
I think we can all, skiers and snowbunnies, relate to that Golden Rule, nicht wahr?
So when I watch those maniacs come charging out of the starting hut and fling themselves straight down the mountain, reaching murderous speeds of 80 MPH in the first couple hundred yards, essentially in nothing less than free-fall -- that's a sobering sight, man. I know what happens to your thighs when you hit a sudden upslope at even a recreational 25 MPH: Try to conceive how much power you need in your legs to keep up that rate of speed, that rigid control, for two, two-and-a-half, three desperate minutes! I've been there, broken that Golden Rule enough times to know what goes through your head when you find yourself, calves burning and lungs pumping rarefied air, needing something more out of your legs to regain CONTROL or it's Sonny Bono Time, off to visit Ulrike Maier in the Choir Invisible....
The top of Kandahar Banchetta was like a wall, it was so steep.
I hope Lindsey Kildow is OK.