One year ago, American Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety won the World Cup opener giant slalom in Sölden, Austria. This Sunday, October 28, he seeks to defend that title. We caught up with Ligety, owner of Shred Optics, to see how the training is going. To watch the race, go to Universal Sports.
How have you been preparing for the races this weekend?
We've been training in Soelden for the last week and had a couple days of training on the race hill which is rare. At this point my skiing feels really good, so I'm ready for the season to start.
Tell us about skiing on the new 35-meter GS skis.
There has definitely been an adjustment period getting used to the new skis. They are harder to turn and take more energy, but I've adjusted my set up around that and now they feel really good as long as the snow is hard and the course isn't crazy turny.
Were you able to get in some good training down at Portillo?
This summer we trained in New Zealand and Chile, both of which were great camps, despite Portillo having a poor snow year. We even trained there a week after they closed the mountain to the public. Made for near perfect training conditions.
What was the best part about filming with Warren Miller in Alaska?
I think the best part of skiing with Warren Miller in AK was the learning experience of skiing slopes that are so steep that standing at the top and looking over you can only see the bottom of the mountain. So you have to memorize pieces of the slope to gauge where you are in your line and manage the sluff thats running running down the mountain with you to not get taken out. It made me really appreciate the stress the top big mountain guys have to charge those types of lines and stay in one piece.
What makes Sölden a challenging race?
Soelden is always a bit of a mystery race, since we don't know if we are truly skiing fast and who is in top form since we haven't seen many other teams train. So that adds nerves to the race especially this year with the change in ski rules. As far as the hill goes it has a long steep pitch but it does not have a fall away or anything to complicated they so it's pretty straight forward.
Here's some slow-motion video of Ted training in Sölden. Looks like those 35-meter skis aren't giving him too much trouble.
To get you psyched for World Cup season, Universal Sports put together this little crash reel.