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WHICH SKIING NATION HAS THE HOTTEST CHICKS?

Let's not be superficial, now. Flake believes inner beauty is paramount, and who's to say the most "beautiful" women in skidom aren't from Scotland? Well, anyone who's been to Scandinavia, that's who. Not that Sweden or Norway wins, due to the Arctic Circle's unfortunate tendency toward darkness: Ski pervs can't leer at those whom they cannot see. Farther south, Flake has had his breath stolen by willowy Chamoinardes and buxom Austrian Frà¤uleins in St. Pauli Girl dresses. But the short answer to your question is: Italy. Nowhere else do skiers encounter sultry verve and Mediterranean seasoning in such lovely proportions. Of course California isn't short on hotties. But David Lee Roth has been there, done that, and Flake's not giving up his fascination with all those espresso-sipping, Vespa-driving beauties.

WHAT'S THE MOST TERRIFYING LIFT IN SKIING?

The old Loge Peak chair at Aspen Highlands dangled riders dangerously close to a 2,000-foot drop, but it was replaced in the late 1990s. Up north, The Peak chair at Whistler, British Columbia, is prone to nasty gusts, and it hauls you uncomfortably close to avy-control ordnances. And just about every tram jostling around in high winds freaks out the Doctor. However, no lift is gnarlier than Portillo's Roca Jack, a 1,100-foot slingshot posing as a five-person surface lift. When the attendant slams on the accelerator, it flings riders (especially snowboarders) to the ground with startling regularity on horrifying slides-for-life. Which, come to think of it, is pretty neat to watch.

WHAT'S THE WORST WINTER OLYMPIC MASCOT EVER?

Let's get one thing straight: None of them are great. Flake assumes this is because they're supposed to appeal to kids and Flake, despite loving sugary cereal, hates kids. That being so, the first Winter Games mascot, a ski creature named Schuss (Grenoble, '68), wasn't so bad, despite the fact that he didn't have any arms. Then came Roni the Raccoon (Lake Placid, '80), Vuchko the Wolf (Sarajevo, '84), and a pair of Polar Bears dubbed Hidy and Howdy (Calgary, '88). All furry, all fine. And then the French-yes, it had to be the French-hit the inhalants too hard and dreamed up Magique (Albertville, '92), a star-shaped "snow imp" that didn't look at all like the mischievous child he was billed as. Which is too bad, because we could use such a character now to barf on Neve the Snowball and pee on Gliz the Ice Cube, the mascots of this month's games in Torino.

IS THERE A SKI LEGEND WHO MISSED THE BOAT, KIND OF LIKE THE "FIFTH BEATLE"?

The skier whose career most closely resembles that of keyboardist Billy Preston (the fifth Beatle) would have to be Kevin Andrews. A Tahoe-based stud who often skied Squaw's Fingers with Scot Schmidt, he starred in memorable Greg Stump films such as The Blizzard of AAHHH's and License to Thrill. Why did he drift into obscurity? It wasn't his skiing; he had just as big a set of cojones as his peers. But he wasn't part of Blizzard's famous Couloir Poubelle sequence, which rocketed Schmidt, Glen Plake, and Mike Hattrup into permanent ski-star status.

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