Monday, February 13, 2006

He Waves It Around a Bit

(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.


roxtar said...

Since you seem to be the Beast of the Piste, lemme ax you this.

How long have they had lines on the downhill course? I'm referring to the blue sidelines, and the cross-hatching indicating a jump ahead.

I can see where it's much safer this way, it's just that I've never noticed them before.....

Glad you survuved the conflagration, btw...

They call this a double black diamond? It doesn't look that tough to...aieeeee YQIXYRMH!!!!!

Sluggo said...

I saw her go down this morning, along with Allison Forsyth of Canaduh, and I cringed so primally I surprised meself. It is not much more than falling, and the sight of your 5 year old daughter being cartwheeled through the air after being blindsided by an out of control 15 year old snowboarder in a slow zone, well, it gives one a vivid idea of what can go wrong.

spent Sunday at our local 68 vertical feet, and still worried about the crazy punks zooming around.

sxqhwkns - what seattle fans are still doin', on their way to Mount Baker.

XTCfan said...

and I cringed so primally I surprised meself

I know what you mean, Sluggo. In the Fan household, we call that a "buttsucky."

qmpuf (the sound of a face plant)

Neddie said...

How long have they had lines on the downhill course? I'm referring to the blue sidelines, and the cross-hatching indicating a jump ahead.

Beats me, Rox. This is the first time I've seen 'em. For all I know, the TV boffins are puttin' them there, like the yellow first-down line in footsball.

'Course if they're under the snow, you'll stand a chance a fall won't KMAIM you...

david said...

I know that the Canadian tore her acl, haven't heard what happened to yor'n, but if my flinch factor on the two falls is accurate, it's worse than a torn acl.
and you're sure to need a "taxif" you fall that badly.

david said...

Well it just shows to go how wrong a person can be,
"American medal hopeful Lindsey Kildow was released from a hospital Tuesday morning, just 24 hours after she careened out of control and slammed into the frozen downhill course at 80 km/h.
She may even compete in Wednesday's medal race.
Somehow, the 21-year-old American escaped serious injury during the horrific crash that took place Monday on a training run. She spent the night at the hospital as a precaution and tests showed her lone injury was a bruised hip."
-stolen from the globe and mail, or as i prefer, "the probe and flail"

blue girl said...

Just your average Snowbunny here...who won't even attempt a bunny hill--

"Skiing is controlled falling."

Thank you for those words. I don't have so much a fear of heights, as I have a fear of falling. And I feel a wild sense of shaky chaos inside of me just watching people ski.

Next time some adult tries to peer-pressure me into trying it -- I will definitely use your phrase in my defense!

Happy VD, Jeddie! And all you other dumb ass yuppies over here!


XTCfan said...

Somehow, the 21-year-old American escaped serious injury

Ah, the gift of the young. No wonder they're so arrogant.

A happy VD to you too, Glue Birl!

konde (a new brand of rice, dark on the outside, light on the inside)

Neddie said...

Well, BG, there's controlled falling and there's tightly controlled falling, yeah? Watch the downhillers and compare 'em to the almost prissy skiing of the slalom, where the whole point is extreme control of the skis and split-second decisions. Nobody ever got killed on a slalom course, but it's just as exciting to watch in its subtle way. On the slalom, the deadliest thing you'll see is a skier leaning back on his ass.

My favorite is my old event, the Giant Slalom, which has (IMHO) the most, shall we say, George Lazenby/Diana Rigg charm.

I have no idea what I'm talking about. I might as well yqmittzp....