|A racer speeds through the GS course|
This year, the course was in incredible shape, Aspen got a huge dump of snow, nearly three feet, a few days before the race, and then the weather got cold, and stayed that way. We didn't have to inject the course with water this year, so it wasn't like sliding on a glazed, blue, ice skating rink! None the less, the course is very steep, and the snow is very firm, and you have fourty five seconds to chase the racer as she goes by you, slip sideways repairing the course as you go, and get back off the course before the next racer is on top of you.
|Looking down into the town of Aspen from the start.|
The intensity is high, the pressure to do a good job, to not make a mistake, to help make the course safe and consistent, is constant. Its a huge relief to get out of the exit above the finish line and back on the chair. Riding back up to get back in line to get sent onto the course with your partner again is a welcome relief, but by the time you get back up there, you are ready to get back to work.
The world cup crew is incredibly hard working and dedicated, its about four days of fence building and shoveling, getting up before the sun and doing heavy physical labor until days after the race is over. Then there's two days of slipping and course maintenance during the race, there is the reset between first and second runs, and repair of the race course, at the end of the first day, the GS start is dismantled and moved to the Slalom start for the next day.
|Georgie Bremner, Director of Buttermilk Ski School, helps coordinate.|
Mike Haas runs the world cup crew with Squatty Schuller and Kirk Baker and Jim Schanzenbaker for the ski schools of Aspen/Snowmass, coordinating this huge effort. The 500+ volunteers it takes to keep this beast running perfectly, with no hitches, glitches, without holding anything up, is amazing. Its just awesome to stand on course and watch the best women in the world go tearing past you at 60 miles an hour, trying to go faster, trying to be more accurate, trying to hit it hard and stay on the edge of control.