Bode Miller is clearly an amazing skier. Almost any other skier who slipped onto his side while running the Olympic downhill in the combined this week would have simply given up. But not Miller. That downhill looks so easy on the tube, but when you're standing at the edge of the run, next to the starting shed, it looks like 90 degrees of terror.
But Miller forged on. His first run on the slalom was iffy at best, but then he turned around and cranked out the best time of the day on the second run and wound up with a silver medal.
I'm glad we made that trip to Salt Lake City before the games started. I never would have had the perspective on what the downhill would be like had I not hiked to that downhill start. It was enough to convince me that I had no business attempting a seniors type of downhill.
DIAMOND PEAK OLYMPICS
Nearby Diamond Peak Ski Resort is having an Olympics of its own Feb. 22. This is a fun giant slalom event, free with a lift ticket for all who want to test their skills. Sign up from 8 to 9 a.m. at the base lodge. Race time is 10:30 a.m.
The Peak will also hold a bordercross March 3. Flights will be in fours with registration in the base lodge 8 to 9 a.m. Four categories are planned: boys and girls 12-17 and men and women 18 and up. Fee is $15 and all must sign a release form and wear helmets. Details, (775) 832-1120.
And Diamond Peak will stage a super pipe competition Feb. 23 for skiers and boarders 12 and up. Helmets required, if under 18 will need parents sign-off. The event is free and takes place at 11 a.m., sign up 8 to 10 a.m in the lodge. Call the number above for details.
MT. ROSE EVENTS
Mt. Rose steps into the action with a match and win race series for riders and skiers starting Saturday. Concept is race two gated runs and those with the smallest time difference in their runs win. Two brackets: ages 13 and up and those 12 and under. Prizes will be offered at 2:30 daily except for Tuesday and Wednesday when no event will be run. Valued Pass holder who wins closest wins a pair of skis. This sounds like a fun event and runs through Feb. 24.
ALPINE MEADOWS EVENTS
Alpine Meadows is also staging some events, including a Sick and Twisted Big Air Festival Saturday. Snow Bomb is the sponsor for the event, open to both skiers and riders. Entry fee is $25 and you need a special priced $35 lift ticket. Registration is 8:30 to 10:30, practice 10 to 11:30 a.m. Qualifying is noon to 2 p.m. with finals at 2:30. Helmets are required. Prizes are (in both categories) first, $500, second, $300 and third, $200. Call (530) 583-4232.
While I had a good time skiing in Utah -- the four resorts, Alta, Snow Basin, the Canyons and Powder Mountain -- offered great variety. But the second day I noticed that the tips of my skis were wobbling and a friend noticed that I had an A-frame structure in my legs. Seemed to go away the third and fourth days only to return the following weekend.
Then I went to the House of Ski to see what was going on with my delaminated Volant skis. Curt Barnes, back from the Las Vegas ski show, said that Volant, now under new management, would probably replace the skis but that I should give them a try as the delamination was small and in the shovel where there is no wood middle structure.
But I had to replace the broken Market binding and I did so with a rental type so others could use the skis. But there was a problem still: to keep the cants in place (2 and 3 degrees) or not? I decided to stick with the cants until I replaced the skis with something new.
But then it struck me: that was why I was skiing oddly in Utah. I had been using my eldest son's skis without cants. After the second day I subconsciously adjusted to the lack of cants but still wasn't able to ski at my normal pace. I'm going to use the delaminating Volants this weekend (not on Saturday, as this is Presidents' Weekend and the crowds will be fierce). I'll report on the results next week.
Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.