Ski training, running, and hikes
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Colorado (Monday November 21, 2011 at 9:38 am)

The time of year has come when I divide my time between climbing on the last few warm days, skiing after a big snowfall, and training in the gym.


In Vail’s back bowl looking toward Gore Range

My training the past 10 days consisted of:

rock climb at climbing gym

rest day

weight lift, gym


ski 5 hours: Loveland demo days - try new skis


hike uphill / jog about 1 hour

hike uphill / jog 2 hours

weight lift, gym

hike / jog about 1 hour

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Arapahoe Basin looking toward East Wall

I “hike/jog”  the trail behind my house, Ptarmigan trail, which goes from 9,300′ to the summit at 12,498′. I walk the steep parts, and run the flatter parts and some of the less steep downhill.

The gym workouts consist of basic weight training with the addition of a few ski-specific exercises, involving jumping, lateral agility movement (more jumping!),  core strengthening exercises such as crunches, push ups, or plank,  balance training, and quad strengthening exercises.

Unlike Lindsey Vonn, who  trains 6 - 8 hours daily,  I’m i the gym between 1 - 2 hours. But then, I work as a ski instructor, and she’s a World Champion and Olympic Medalist.

However, for all my ski students, especially the ones from lower altitudes (most of you!), I recommend at least a few days weekly of aerobic exercise, and a few days of strength training.

It’ll make your ski vacation so much more fun, if you can ski all day without being tired halfway through the day, and if your legs aren’t burning after the first few runs.

Today’s a gym day, so I’ll be off to warm up on the exercise bike, and then do my push press,  dumb bell rows, leg press, lat pulls, tricep extension, crunches, and push ups.

When my son Tristan arrives for winter break, I’ll add squats ( I like him to spot me for squats initally, to make sure that my form is correct ) and dead lifts.

Enjoy your workouts!

Dick Dorworth, climber, Skiing Hall of Fame
Posted by sibylle in books, films, photography, skiing, Wyoming, California, Idaho (Monday November 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm)

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Dick Dorworth at City of Rocks, 2010

I met Dick Dorworth in the 1970s in the Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming. I’d hiked in to the Cirque with big plans and two other girls - Anne Marie Rizzie and Linda Covert. I say “girls” intentionally, since we were teens, and college students.

Dick was guiding a client and had his wife and son with him. After the client, wife and son left, and my two friends departed early, Dick asked me to climb with him.

In my second summer of climbing and leading, I still felt new to the ropes. But, I figured, with a professional climbing guide, what can go wrong?

However, Dick wasn’t planning on climbing an easy trade route. No, he’d been eyeing an as yet unclimbed line on the North Face of Mitchell Peak (12,482′.)

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N. Face of Mitchell Peak

Photo by Jason Funk

We started up early in the morning. Dick led the first pitch, which he’d climbed before on his first attempt on the face (with his client, I believe). At the belay, he pointed up and said,

“Just follow that corner until you reach a good ledge and then belay.”

I was  a teenage girl. This was by far the biggest, and scariest,  wall I’d ever been on.  And the longest route I’d ever been on, by far. I also was used to climbing with my father, and doing what he told me. So I grabbed our nuts and hexes and climbed up the corner until I found a ledge to belay from.

We climbed about four pitches until the weather looked very threatening, and a Dick’s urging, we rappeled down.

A few days later, armed with a waterproof parka I’d borrowed form another climber,  we started up again. After the first four pitches, we entered terra incognito. Dick led the next pitch,  and at the belay, pointed up again.

“Just head up that flake,” he encouraged me.

I was even more nervous. Here I would lead an unknown pitch on an unclimbed route, with no idea of difficult it was. My habit of climbing up anything that someone told me I could do stood me in good stead, and I led the next pitch, which wasn’t too desperate.

We’d now climbed 6 pitches, with the angle and climbing difficulties easing off. However, the weather and nightfall more than threatened, as black clouds boiled up from behind the wall and thunder grumbled in the distance. Dick headed up quickly, and we reached the summit plateau it got dark and all hell cut loose.

Luckily I was wearing the borrowed parka. Dick found an overhanging ledge we crawled under, as hail pounded us and wild lightning strikes lit up the summit.

I’d never been in such a storm in such an exposed place.

“Are we going to make it?” I quavered, sure that we’d be forced to spend the night up here, and not at all sure that we’d survive it.

“I know the descent.” Dick reassured me. ” I f we can find the gully, I know were the rappel anchors are. We carried no headlamps - I didn’t own one, and headlamps in those days were big, clumsy things.

Once the brunt of the storm eased, we  crawled on hands and knees toward the edge, looking for rappel anchors during the brightest lightning strikes.

Somehow we found the anchors and commenced rappelling. After numerous raps on soaking ropes, from which  streams of water ran down our arms, we reached more crawlable terrain.

Eventually, close to midnight, we spied a roaring fire. Our friends,  knwoing we were out there, had built an enormous bonfire to help light our way back to camp.

We happily crawled in next to the fire to dry off, and eat some lunch and dinner.

Dick named our climb ‘the book of Ecclesiastes’, perhaps to commemorate out trial by water and fire.
This year, my friend and mentor, Dick Dorworth,   was nominated to  the Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame for his world speed record and his many books and articles.

A-Basin Enduro, Imperial challenge - Summit’s adventure races
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Colorado (Saturday April 16, 2011 at 9:32 am)

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Snow-bike competitor in Enduro and ski racers riding Pali

Jamie Ober and Ollie Holmes again won the 22nd annual Enduro with 71 runs, one lap short of their record 72 laps.

Tom Fricke and Leon Littlebird of the SnowShow at Krystal 93  had speculated that this year, Jamie and Ollie might set a new record because of the excellent snow conditions.

We skied the Basin that day, and in the morning, blue sky, sunshine, and no wind made for ideal conditions. However,  later that afternoon the wind picked up and  visibility decreased as a storm blew in — all of which would contribute to slower speeds on the slopes.

Ian Borgeson and  Dylan Walczyk placed second with 70 laps, while Wendy Fisher and Johnny Biggers of Crested Butte placed 3rd with 66 laps. Fisher, a former member of the U.S. ski team, and Olympic competitor, won two Extreme Freeskiing World titles.

 Fisher, who skis at Crested Butte, has long encouraged women skiing harder. I’d like to see a team of fisher and two time World Extreme skiing champion  Kim Reichhelm competing in next year’s Enduro!

The #1 women’s team,  Erika Hall and Becs Hodgetts completed 65 laps, while the #1 snowboard team, James Ashley and Shaun Maruna rode 62 laps.

The guys riding the lift in front of us,  bibs #4, are Will Stevenson and Ryan Anthon, who completed 64 laps - so they’re right in among  the top competitors.

Arapahoe Basin Enduro April 13, 2011
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Wednesday April 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm)

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Competitors coming down the final stretch to the Pali lift line

Today, A-Basin hosted its 22nd annual Enduro race. Skiers and riders run laps on the Pali face — all double black or extreme runs — from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. and team that completes the most laps is the winner.

basin 2.jpg

Team # 4 rode the chair in front of us

Only 40 teams are allowed to race, and racers from previous years get priority.

When my housemate raced the Enduro, he got in as a replacement racer in an already registered  team of two, one of whom was injured.

The record, held by Jamie Ober and Ollie Holmes, is 72 laps.

That’s 72 laps on step, narrow bumps and trees!

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A boarder racing the Enduro

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Pali looked smooth and fast this morning

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Racers got good light, good snow, and good weather

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Racers near the top of Pali face

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)


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.

Lindsey Vonn wins 3 world Cup titles!
Posted by sibylle in skiing, women, Europe (Friday March 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm)

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Vonn in women’s Super Combined

Photo: Agence Zoom
Vonn’s recent winning streak shows that she has recovered from her earlier concussion plus more!

In the past week, she placed second in  the Super-Combined in Tarvisio to win the World Cup  Super-Combined Title.

This video shows her first run in Tarvisio, Italy.

the next day, Vonn clinched the World Cup Downhill title by placing second in the Downhill in Tarvisio, which gave her 600 points over Riesch’s 457 in the downhill standings.

The video of her run  is particularly interesting in that it discusses how she must be more subtle in her skiing, and how once she makes a mistake by getting her wight on the inside ski. Sweden’s Anja Paerson won the Downhill, with World Champion Elisabeth Goergl in third place.

On day three, Vonn  won the World Cup Super-G in Tarvisio to clinch the World Cup Super-G Title - three titles in three days!

Julia Mancuso placed second, and Maria Riesch came in third.
The video of this race shows her turns particularly well - note how she jumps onto her new edges in one turn, how early the edge changes occur, and also watch the discussion of tactics and line.

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Vonn in the Super-G - note the edge angle at the beginning of the turn
Photo: Agence Zoom

Skiing using a carved turn
Posted by sibylle in skiing, Colorado (Monday February 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm)

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Tristan Hechtel carving turns in Vail’s China Bowl

I often teach carving turns in my ski lessons. In this post,  I want to summarize some basic steps to making a carved turn.

1. The skis should be about hip width apart.

2. Keep the hands forward.
3. Roll the skis onto their inside (uphill) edge by tilting both knees (legs) and hip slightly uphill  (angulation).

4. After the modern shaped ski is tilted on edge and weighted, once it’s moving downhill the ski automatically turns.

I found a video on UTube of a carving lesson by an Austrian skier, Klaus Mair. I’m posting this link until I get a video camera and can shoot my own!

Note in the photo of Tristan:

His hands are forward.

His skis are more than hip width apart. When skiing very fast, or on steeper terrain, the skis move further apart.

His lower legs are parallel, resulting in the same edge angle for both skis.

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Tristan carving turns at Vail

When I saw the Austrian ski video for the first time today, I was happy that he said the same thing I’ve been telling my students:  One must start with the correct stance (body position), keep the upper body quiet, and have a slightly countered stance.

I hope this helps you understand what I’ve been saying while on the slopes!

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)


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.


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.

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