It’s only when things go wrong that you get a sense of how absurdly dangerous alpine racing’s speed events are.
Downhill Viewed in the two dimensions of television, downhill looks deceptively tame. No camera angle really captures the rate at which these speed freaks travel, the steepness of the terrain, the forces they withstand or the heights at which they soar when speed and terrain conspire to spit them into the void. Should a skier make one tiny error of line or balance, one momentary loss of vision or tactical miscue and, in an instant, Olympic dreams crash and burn.
Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), whose first World Cup podium came at Beaver Creek a year ago, "nailed the line" Friday to finish second in downhill during a snowstorm at the Charles Schwab Birds of Prey races.