Posts Tagged ‘ski racing’

Hello, and welcome to SNOW.

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

This is the first edition of SNOW Magazine for the 2014 ski season… and the very first created by our new team:

1) Barbara Sanders, Publisher/Founder

2) Anne-Marie Boissonnault, Creative Director (YQB Media)

3) Laura Doherty, Graphic Designer (YQB Media)

4) & Me… Lori Knowles, Editor.

Inside, there are features on Banff, Lech, the sexy Sachs ski dynasty of St. Moritz, and Tremblant, which is turning a tenacious 75 this ski season. And don’t miss our 007-inspired Fashion Feature: For Your Eyes Only–2014 Ski Fashion is Shaken, Not Stirred!

SNOW Winter 2014 is available on newsstands and Zineo.com. Visit www.TheSnowMag.com for more info, and the latest on life, lifts & luxury.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

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Toronto's Snow Show, October 17-20, 2013

Toronto’s Snow Show, October 17-20, 2013

Canada’s Thanksgiving Weekend has always been a turning point for me. It’s the point in the year at which I leave my beloved Muskoka cottage behind and start thinking seriously about my second great love: skiing.

Why Canadian Thanksgiving? Because one week later, October 17-20, 2013, is the event that marks Ontario’s official start of the ski season:  The Toronto Snow Show.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

I doubt I’ve missed a Snow Show since, say, I was 17. It’s been a tradition to head there after work or school on a Friday evening, link up with great friends in the ski industry, and explore the floor. I’ve planned many a ski trip at the ski show. I’ve purchased skivvies and ski jackets and goggles and hats at bargain prices from Toronto ski retailers. I’ve spotted the skis and boots I simply must sample. I’ve watched aerialists and ice sculptors and ski fashion models do their thing. Once, way back, I even interviewed for my first job as a ski pro at Whistler-Blackcomb. But mostly at the annual ski show, I’ve revved myself up for an eventful ski season—one that, in about six weeks, will be in full swing.

Why am I telling you this?

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

As the new editor of SNOW Magazine (www.TheSnowMag.com), I think a lot about skiing. I think about it all spring and summer and autumn long… yet I have few people with which I can chat skiing. Fair enough, most people want to avoid winter in summer. So this is my first opportunity of the season to get you thinking what I’m thinking.

There is another reason. Organizers of the Toronto Snow Show have asked me to spread the word, and I’ve agreed. There’s been an effort afoot to revitalize this annual event—a new location, new features, a palpable new energy. The Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows have partnered with the Canadian Ski Council to rethink the whole thing, and I applaud their efforts. Change is a good thing.

And so, here we go. A series of blogs from LoriExploring enticing you to rev up for the ski season right along with me… the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving.

Below are some essential details and my take on why I think they’re exciting. Stay tuned, there’s more to come in the next two weeks. Also, follow my #SnowShow tweets @Lori Exploring

New Location: The Toronto Snow Show, October 17-20, will be held for the first time at Toronto’s International Centre, not far from the airport. Why is this a big deal? Two words: free parking. www.TorontoSnowShow.com

Best Deal: Buy 1 Get 1 Free Lift Ticket. Buy a lift pass at an Ontario ski resort and get another one free, with the price of a Snow Show admission. Why is this a big deal? You get 50% off your ski day.

Into The Mind by Sherpa Cinemas

Into The Mind by Sherpas Cinema

Best Show: Sherpas Cinema will present their latest film, Into the Mind, at the Toronto Snow Show. Why is this a big deal? Another two words: Kye Petersen. (He’s one of Canada’s top freeskiers. He’ll be there.)

Best Buzz: Quebec’s ski areas are gathering themselves into one section of the show and giving it a traditional ski-chalet-atmosphere. Why is this a big deal? Wine and cheese are included.

As I said: stay tuned. More to come, here, at www.LoriKnowles.com and @LoriExploring

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. Lori’s ski features also appear regularly in Ski Canada, Up! by Westjet, and the Toronto Sun. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.com. Follow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

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I am no ski racing junkie. Despite my recent, lucky and enligtening visits to World Cup and Olympic ski races, truthfully I find the actual racing…um, boring.

But the people… Now the people are another story. The people of ski racing are never boring.

Today I arrived at the stadium to witness the Women’s GS at the Garmisch stadium- a race held on the infamous Kandahar that’s been used since as far back as the Olympic Games in 1936. A river of ski racing fans flowed across farmers’ fields toward the stands. Strange feathered mascots on stilts mixed with kids carrying cowbells and men in Bavarian leather leiderhosen.

The sight was odd. These crowds were so unlike the hockey sweatered, waffle-throwing, puck crazy, oft-toothless fans I see in Toronto. Yes odd… yet no less enthusiastic.

The energy of these ski racing rabblers was catching. Despite the long fog delays and the 20-min bathroom queues and the total absence of food, I found myself jumping ’80s-punk style to German rap and The Village People.

Talk about odd.

As for the race… It was exciting, I guess. Not entirely sure. I was too busy watching the people.

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Bode Miller’s not a happy guy.

He winces—seriously winces—onstage at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise’s World Cup fete as he pulls No.13 for his start number in Sunday’s Super G.

“I hate No.13,” he tells ex-racer Thomas Grandi (CDN), who, as the evening’s MC, is downright exuberant onstage by contrast. Grandi gives a big laugh while Bode looks at him oddly and grumps some more. Grandi then attempts to extract from Miller what’s bugging the US ski racing rebel.

Turns out he’s just not happy with his performance (8th) in Saturday’s downhill—the World Cup speed skiing speed’s circuit’s season opener. Bode wants to do better… always. Which is why the evening’s crowd—about 300 ski racing fans, techs, ACA alumni and reporters—whoop and holler for him loudly despite his grump. An Austrian colleague who’s covered Bode since he was a mere babe on the circuit, puts Miller’s attitude into perspective: “It’s not that Bode wants to win, or that he’s mad about not winning. He doesn’t even care about winning. He just wants to be happy with his run. It’s all about how he skis the course.”

You gotta love an athlete who wants to ski well so bad he just doesn’t care if he’s not smiling for the crowds and cameras. He doesn’t even care if there are crowds and cameras.

Despite Bode’s sour face, there’s no shortage of good times inside the Chateau’s enormous ballroom. This party’s a tradition, an event the World Cup Winterstart folks host every season. Athletes like Miller, Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR), Michael Walchhofer (AUT) and Didier Cuche (SUI)—superstars of the circuit—shuffle in, take their seats at the head of the room, and start signing hundreds of autographs. Everyone wants one… even me, who bashfully lumbers up to a mustache-sporting, skater-shoe-wearing, 20-something Svindal and asks for a signature. “Thanks SO much Aksel,” I say (a little too enthusiastically). He looks at me weirdly.

The Canadian speed racers present are getting a lot of attention. Canadian favourite Erik Guay is working the room with an I’m-just-glad-to-be-here smile and happy congrats for his teammate Jan Hudec, who skied to Canada’s top finish in the day’s Lake Louise downhill (11th). Everyone seems impressed by this finish; Hudec himself looks elated. “Words can’t describe it,” says the promising racer who’s been held back by persistent injuries. “It was an inspired run. It was just short of a miracle, I didn’t even know if I could ski this morning. My body has been that sore.”

As for Guay, he finished a disappointing 24th, but there’s no sour face. Other Canadian hopefuls pressing palms? Manny Osborne-Paradis (13th), Robbie Dixon (31st). According to Guay, the team’s vet, they get along great. Great.

It’s my first time experiencing a Lake Louise World Cup. As far as I can tell, Winterstart is the one chance Canada’s ski racing crowd has to get together and reminisce. It’s not a big sport in Canada when you compare it to hockey, so the group, in contrast, ain’t that big. But most of it is here, including Crazy Canucks Ken Read, Dave Irwin and Steve Podborski, plus Emily Brydon and Karen Lee-Gartner. They’re all smiling big and pounding each other on the back. The room is full of ski team sponsors, too… you can tell who they are. They’re dressed more formally than the skiers (who are mostly in jeans). And they’re swilling cocktails instead of beer. Still, amongst all this skier star power, they look happy.

The World Cup fans and sponsors and hangers-on finish the night inside the Chateau’s bar with Bon Jovi blasting. The athletes aren’t there—they’re ushered out of the ballroom pretty quickly after the bib draw in prep of the Super G the following day. But the rest of the ski racing crowd has a pretty good time mostly telling Bode stories.

As for Miller? He vanishes after the bib draw. But one of my colleagues catches him riding the Chateau elevator early the next (Super G) morning… a grim look still on his scruffed-up face. Seems No.13 really gets to him.

Why do I—or even we—care? Don’t get me wrong: the Canadian racers are nice and all. And I wish them light and luck this season. But every sport needs a character to spice it up. And while he’s reluctant to be it, Miller is that character.

Fellow ski scribe and Miller fan Lisa Richardson (@PembyGrl) pretty much sums it up: “I love Bode. I don’t care if he’s grumpy.”

Grump on, Bode Miller.

Lori Knowles is a Canadian ski and travel writer. Her articles appear regularly in the Toronto Sun. Follow Lori on Twitter: @LoriExploring

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A hurting Emily Brydon at the finish.

It just wasn’t in the cards today for Emily Brydon — or any other Canadian. The racer who says this is her final Olympics, crashed mid-way down Whistler’s Super-G course at the Olympic Winter Games Saturday, destroying any hope she harboured for a podium finish.

“I laid my heart and soul into this,” Brydon said, limping through the corral at the finish. “I am a giant walking bruise.”

Pointing to bashes on her hip, shin and arm, the veteran Canadian Team member said she is disappointed in her DNF in a race won by Austrian Andrea Fischbacher. Tina Maze of Slovenia took the silver, and the USA’s Lindsey Vonn took bronze.

Top Canadians were Britt Janyk in 17th and Georgia Simmerling in 27th.

Andrea Fischbacher

For Super-G gold medal winner Andrea Fischbacher of Austria, winning gold wasn’t complicated. “I know I can go really fast in Super-G,” she said simply. Fischbacher, whose winning time was  1:20:14, has won Austria’s first alpine gold in these Games.

Silver medallist Tina Maze of Slovenia (1:20:63) admitted to being nervous at the start. “I was afraid because there were a lot of crashes,” she said. “But it helped me ski a lot better today. It’s always hard to see athletes crashing. I’m happy that I did the downhill and felt the fear.”

Lindsey Vonn

But it was bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the USA who won most of the media’s attention, admitting she was nervous at today’s start.

“Today I felt a little bit more pressure… because I definitely missed an opportunity in the Super Combined. A lot of the (medal) expectations were just unrealistic. For me, I never really bought into that.”

Vonn added: “I’m happy with what I’ve done so far… I’m a double medallist now and that’s something to be proud of.”

When asked how winning in bronze medal compared with winning a gold, Vonn said: “It’s still very special. Olympic medals are so hard to come by. To have two medals now is amazing. It’s just as special to me as a gold medal. It’s cool… It almost looks like a gold medal!”

“I will cherish both medals equally,” she added. “Today I fought hard. I didn’t ski as hard as I could have.”

Lori Knowles is blogging daily from the Olympics, and reporting for the Toronto Sun and www.skipressworld.ca. www.twitter.com/loriexploring

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Erik Guah at the finish.

It was a bittersweet day for Canadians here on the Olympic downhill course at Whistler Creekside. The energy in the crowd was wild with anticipation for hometown boy Manny Osborne-Paradis, Erik Guay and the rest of the Canadian Cowboys to win gold on Canadian soil. But it wasn’t meant to be.

Canadian Erik Guay was top Canadian, placing a respectable fifth among the greatest downhillers in the world. The race was won early by Didier Defago of Switzerland, followed by Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway with a silver and the USA’s Bode Miller with bronze.

Manuel Osborne-Paradis at the finish.

Canuck favourite Manny Osborne-Paradis—who grew up on racing the Dave Murray Downhill—placed a disappointing 19th. Jan Hudec was 25th, and young gun Robbie Dixon crashed during a wild ride on the course.

Osborne-Paradis said he was disappointed in himself. “I hit a couple of bumps the wrong way and that was my day,” he said, trying to stay optimistic. “The start was more fun than the finish, but at least I had some fun today!”

Guay, whose finish in the top five was his best result in downhill this season, was subdued but content at the finish line. “It’s my best downhill result of the year,” he said. “I have to be happy with that.”

Gold medal winner Didier Defago played it cool at the post-race press conference. As the first Swiss to win gold in downhill in 22 years, he had a huge Swiss cheering section at the race. But as the oldest man ever to win an Olympic downhill, Defago’s cool may have had more to do with wisdom. “I wanted to go home with a little more weight in my bag than I came with!” he joked.

Silver medallist and DH veteran Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway also played down his second-fastest time of the day: “I think I could be fast for the rest of the games too. It’s a good start.”

Bode Miller at Monday's post-race press conference

Chewing a big wad of gum on the press conference stage was bronze medallist Bode Miller of the USA. “One of the really imp things about the Olympics is that it’s fun,” he said.

When asked if he felt different this season from past years on the World Cup circuit, Miller agreed. “This year there wasn’t a lot of business commitments. I just wanted to ski race, and ski race in a way that would make me proud.”

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The countdown has begun. Three sleeps until I board a WestJet flight for Sun Peaks–my first ski trip of the season. I hear the snow in BC is fantastic, I’ll let you know as soon as I get there.

I’m taking along my seven-year-old son for a family-related ski article for my ski column in the Toronto Sun. Should be interesting… and fun. A highlight: he’s just been invited by the Nancy Greene to join her as she leads a Sun Peaks’ Nancy Greene League ski racing session. I’ll have to get my camera and notepad out for that one. How many Nancy Greene League kids get a coaching session from Nancy Greene herself? Never mind, the was voted the Canada’s greatest athlete of the 20th Century!

More on Sun Peaks soon. Stay tuned.

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