Aspen... California? 

Everyone’s seen the movie Dumb and Dumber. Though not actually filmed in Aspen, it was the setting for a hilarious winter movie. Well, just last weekend we got to "hang" in Aspen. It was the true Aspen experience.

We were there for three World Cup races, one giant slalom and two slaloms. It was also American Thanksgiving so the town was busy. There were expensive cars, ladies in furs, and families coming together to ski and spend a lot of money. I have been there a few times prior to this year and have always had a great time. This year was no exception, and the weekend of racing was pretty exciting as well.

The giant slalom on Friday kicked off the series of races. We had six girls at the start and three girls qualified for the second run.

The race hill in Aspen is definitely a demanding one. The start had about two gates on the flats and then it dropped off into the first pitch. After that it was a cat track for six gates and then you head into the "rock ’n’ roll" section. This section had everything in it, from big rollers to tough turns and slick ice. The run turned the whole way down and pushed you non-stop. I think it is definitely one of the toughest courses on the women’s circuit.

Saturday and Sunday were the slalom races, which were just as tough as the giant slalom. The slalom started a little lower than the GS so it still had some tough and rough terrain. Tanja Poutianen, who won the GS on Friday, was in the lead after the first run of Saturday’s slalom. The second run was getting pretty rough when the leaders started coming down. Anja Pearson came down and had a rough run but was still able to take the lead. Then, it was up to Jannica Kostelic. It was looking like it would be unlikely for her to take the lead but Kostelic tore the course apart. To watch her ski is unbelievable. I think everyone was in complete awe with her run; she made the course look like it was smooth. Tanja was the last to leave the start but Kostelic would prove to be unbeatable on that day.

Sunday’s race was just as exciting. This was partly because I just snuck in at 30 th place and qualified for the second run!

Overnight it snowed somewhere around 30 cm. This made for difficult race conditions – good free-skiing conditions, but not great for gates. The race crew worked hard and did a great job preparing the hill. Warm-up was cancelled so that the snow could be cleared from the run. It isn’t easy for the competitors when there isn’t a warm-up on the course before the race, but sometimes that’s just the way it works.

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