Lisa Hechtel, R.I.P.
Posted by sibylle in women, Germany, Eulogies, Europe (Thursday June 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm)

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With my mother in the European Alps

This will be the hardest eulogy I’ve ever had to write: that of my mother, Lisa Berta Hechtel.

My mother lived a great life, a full one, and enjoyed  a long life, but she still left us too soon. I cry, as I write this, and wish I had spent more time with my parents while I still had the opportunity.

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Lisa Hechtel as a young woman

I knew Lisa Hechtel only as my mother, and we take our parents for granted — until we no longer have them. Since her passing, countless people have written to me to share how much they loved my mother, and how much they will miss her presence in their lives.

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An early climb with my parents

My mother always put her family first - she followed my father on his climbs, belayed him, and then seconded the route. She never took credit for her many accomplishments - climbing big mountains in a time before most women climbed.

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My parents on a climbing trip long ago

After I was born, she usually accompanied my father on his trips, cooked for every one while camping, and often hiked to the base of the climbs to bring food for my father, while taking care of me.

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Lisa feeding her family in the Schwaebische Alp

I still use the little tin tea kettle
She once told me: “When you were little, Richard needed a climbing partner,  so we tied a rope around you , and tied you to a tree while we were climbing.”

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Early climbing trip in Germany

None of the photos in their albums show me tied to a tree — most show my mother carrying me, holding me, and feeding myself and my father.

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Lisa getting me a  drink

She taught me to ski, and helped my father take me climbing, while still helping to take care of her own mother, and her niece, and her many friends.

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Another early climbing trip - as I got bigger, the mountains got bigger, and harder.

As I look through the early photos, I have so many questions  that I never had a chance to ask  - so many things I never knew about.

After I grew up, and left home, my parents trekked in Nepal - but I’m not sure when, or where. They climbed Kilimanjaro , climbed in New Zealand, and numerous other places around the world. I wish they’d told me more about their trips - but I was far away, in Colorado, living my life and raising my own son.

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My parents trekking in Nepal
And I  hope that my mother’s many friends will read this, and  share their memories of their times together.

My father, Richard Hechtel, and the Peuterey Integral
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Eulogies, Europe (Sunday June 19, 2011 at 9:53 am)

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Richard Hechtel (l) and  Günther Kittelmann (r)

This Father’s Day, I want to remember my father for the things   most enjoyed - reminiscing about his climbs.

In 1953, my father and Günther Kittelmann completed the first ascent of the Peuterey Integral - the complete Peuterey ridge on Mt. Blanc.

The Alpine Club Guidebook describes this climb as “the longest and probably the most difficult traverse of its kind in the Alps. There is more than 4500m of ascent over all types of terrain and in magnificent situations” (Alpine Club Guidebook by Lindsay Griffin.)

Even today, the climb is described as one of the hardest and most committing climbs in the Alps.

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At the Col de Peuterey

My father  describes this climb in his book, The Merry-Go-Round of my life: an Adventurer’s Diary.

The climb starts in Italy and covers more than 4,500 meters of technical climbing.

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Kittelmann on the south ridge of the Aguille Noire

Jonathan Griffith  filmed a great video of this climb, which shows the length, magnitude, and exposure of this epic climb. Watching this film impressed me what a great climb my father had done.

Sadly, he has passed and cannot watch this film himself. Nor can I tell him  how I miss him; miss climbing with him; and wish he could do one more climb with my son and me.

Riesch wins World Cup title over Vonn after FIS cancels final two races
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Switzerland, Europe, Colorado (Saturday March 19, 2011 at 11:54 am)

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Riesch wins WC title, narrowly beating Vonn

Getty images
Germany’s Maria Riesch won the skiing overall World Cup title, beating Lindsey Vonn,  after the FIS canceled the final two  races that were to be held in Lenzerheide, Switzerland at the “World Cup Final”.

Vonn won the WC overall title the past three years and was within three points of Riesch. Vonn said she felt devastated at not being able to defend her WC title when the  two races were canceled.

Officials canceled both the men’s and women’s giant slalom and super-G races due to weather: rain and warm weather had eroded most of the base on the race course.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) had packed four men’s and women’s races plus a one day team event into only five days, making it likely that one day of poor weather would result in cancellation of more than one race.

US head coach Alex Hoedelmoser said that the FIS should not have called off the race in the morning, but made more effort to put on a race.

Vonn said that the FIS should allow races to be rescheduled in bad weather.

I agree with Vonn, that the FIS could allow one extra days at each venue to make up any race postponed due to weather.

Ted Ligety won gold in the Beaver Creek WC  GS in December 2010, but the downhill race was canceled on Friday before the GS.
The super-G in Lenzerheide  starts at 6,852 feet and ends at 4,957 feet, lower than Denver, Colorado and much, much lower than ski areas in the Rockies. The base elevation of Keystone, where I teach skiing, lies at 9,300 feet, with the top at 12,200 feet.

Beaver Creek, site of World Cup races in December,  goes from 7, 400 feet to 11,440 feet.

Vail and Beaver Creek will host the alpine skiing World Championships  in  2015; let’s hope all the races will be run!

Riesch and Vonn battling for World Cup Title
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Switzerland, Europe (Friday March 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm)

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Tina Maze at Lenzerheide slalom

Universal sports photo

In the closest women’s battle for the overall World Cup title since 2005, Maria Riesch now leads Lindsey Vonn by three points.

Tina Maze won her first World Cup slalom on slushy snow.  Riesch placed  4th, gaining her 50 points for a total of 1,728 points,  and Vonn came in 13th, which gave her 20 points to place her at 1,725 points for the overall title.

The overall title will be decided in Saturday’s Giant Slalom, after rainy weather forced cancellation of both the women’s Super-G and men’s GS, due to be run on Thursday.

 Vonn earlier won the super-G title, and was disappointed when Thursday’s super-G was canceled, as she had high hopes to gaining points in the race.
Vonn won

Julia Mancuso wins WC Downhill race
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Europe (Wednesday March 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm)

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Mancuso skis Downhill in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

AP photo
Mancuso skied an aggressive run and earned her first World Cup gold since 2007, finishing in 1 minute, 27.50 seconds, 0.81 seconds ahead of Lara Gut of Switzerland with World champion Elisabeth Goergl of Austria in third place.

Mancuso’s victory moved her into  third in the final downhill standings, behind Vonn and Riesch.

Mancuso won two silver medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but hasn’t won a gold in four years.

She pledged half of her winner’s purse,  $18,200, to help tsunami victims in Japan.

The video of her winning run is here.

She skied an amazing run in the tough light and poor conditions.

Screw shoes for hiking and running on snow or ice
Posted by sibylle in ice, Germany, Switzerland, Europe, Colorado, Idaho, Canada and PNW (Thursday February 24, 2011 at 11:14 am)

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My running shoes with screws added for traction

Two years ago, my son made me  “screw shoes” for Christmas (when he asked what I wanted, I said that I wanted  “screw shoes”). I hike in these even in snow, by using gaiters over the show and a vapor barrier inside the shoe. This can be a fancy vapor barrier liner sock, as made by several suppliers, or as simple as a plastic bag. I use grocery bags over my socks, which keeps my feet dry and warm down to zero degrees.

You can also turn hiking boots into screw shoes, and simply remove the screws in spring. I like running on snowy trails, so I use running shoes.

I’ve had the above pair of screw shoes for two years now, and they’ve held up well. Use a relatively new running shoe, with a thick sole, and make sure the screws are short (about 3/8 inch), so as to not feel them

Other outdoor hikers prefer the Yaktrax,  or the Kahtoola MICROspikes work with a heavier hiking boot, but I like traveling light and fast.

Matt Carpenter, 17-time winner of Pikes Peak ascents and marathons,  describes how to make a screw shoe on his website.

Tina Maze, Slovenia, wins gold in GS at Worlds
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Europe (Thursday February 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm)

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Tina Maze in the Giant slalom, Alpine World Championships
Photo - Agence Zoom
Maze is the first person from Slovenia to win a gold medal in alpine skiing at a World Championships or Olympics. Federica Brignone of Italy, and 0.48 in front of Tessa Worley of France placed second and third, respectively. Julia Mancuso, at  16th, was the top American finisher in the World Alpine championships in Garmisch, Germany.

Lindsey Vonn, still suffering  from a concussion she sustained several days ago, withdrew from her remaining events at the world championships.

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Tessa Worley, France, in GS

Photo , Agence Zoom

Worley was considered a favorite to win the giant slalom, but in a race where hundredths, or tenths of seconds separate first and second place, changing  snow conditions during the course of a race can have a huge effect.
For the ski students and aspiring racers, note the high edge angle of Maze’s and Worley’s skis. Maze is still above the gate in this photo, and if you think of a turn a part of a circle, she’s between the 12 o’clock and three o’clock position.  This means that she has moved onto her new edges before crossing the fall line.

In lessons, we talk about getting onto the new ski edge — here you see world champion  examples of getting onto that edge.

The men’s GS and slalom will be among the next events.

Goergl wins Downhill at Ski World Championships
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Europe (Tuesday February 15, 2011 at 11:07 am)

Austria’s Elisabeth Goergl won her second gold medal in the Alpine Ski World Championships.

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Goergl’s winning run in the Downhill

AP photo

Goergl defeated favorites Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch to become the first woman besides Riesch and Vonn to win  a  top-level downhill in two years. Vonn, despite suffering from a concussion after a February 2 crash, won the silver and Riesch placed third to win the bronze.

Julia Mancuso, who won silver in the Super-G, placed sixth in the downhill and Laurenne Ross was 10th, giving the U.S. three top-10 finishers in the world championships.

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Austria’s Goergl wins women’s Super-G
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Germany, Europe (Sunday February 13, 2011 at 11:02 am)

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Goergl’s winning run in the Super-G in Garmisch
AP Photo

Elisabeth Goergl won the Super-G,  first race of the 2011 World Championships, in Garmisch, Germany with Julia Mancuso (USA) in second place, and Maria Riesch (Germany) in third.

Most expected that  Riesch or three-time  World Cup champion Vonn would win, but Lindsey Vonn suffered a concussion  on Feb. 2 when she crashed training GS in Hintereit, Austria. She posted a video of her crash in which you can see that she hit her head so hard that it bounced.  After this crash, she skipped the Slalom and GS in Zwiesel on February fourth and fifth.

Vonn raced the Super-G, despite not recovering fully from her concussion, to place seventh.
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Vonn racing in the Downhill, Garmisch

AP photo

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German Christmas books again
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Germany, Europe, Colorado (Tuesday December 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm)

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In Germany, instead of reindeer pulling  the sled in which Santa rides, he walks through the night, an angel by his side. He carries the toys in a patched sack, while hiking through deep snow.

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On Christmas eve, December 24, the Christ child (Christkind, or Christkindl in Bavarian) brings presents for the children.

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The day after Christmas, the children  play outside, skating, sledding and trying their new skis.

I’ve definitely played outside most days on, and  after Christmas, on nordic or alpine skis!

When Tristan was growing up, I took Christmas day off work (teaching ski lessons) to ski with the family at Vail or Beaver Creek.

This year, Tristan has a broken leg, but we hope that he can try double-poling on the nordic track in Frisco on New Year’s Day.

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