Truckee, CA, Dec. 1, 2000--Daron Rahlves, America's current ski racing rock star, had a world ranking of 20th overall and 10th in the downhill discipline at last season's finale. His double wins in Kvitfjell, Norway last March linger as the high point of Team USA's winter.
This year, the Truckee, CA native is adding giant slalom races to his current mix of super G and downhill. In an era where GS is seen as the foundation of ski racing, Rahlves is simply returning to his own roots. In 1995 and '96 - before focusing solely on speed events, he was our national GS champion.
"This is something I know I can do well," said the good-natured 27 year-old. "I spent my summer doing more GS training and I'm way ahead of where I was last year. In 1996, I was 27th in the world GS rankings, but right after that I got hurt pretty bad (two hip dislocations) and the first thing I wanted to get back into was super G. Then, it was my stronger event. I'm trying hard now to get back to GS. I plan to do about five or so races this year."
Rahlves has over 400 points in the international standings, which gives the blond racer extra clout on the World Cup circuit. "Because of my points, I have my own spot for GS. It's called 'special seed' which means I can start right after the top 30 guys. For me, if I can just hold those points over 400 with speed events, then I'll be there. If not, I'll have to qualify."
"But," he finished with a grin, "I'll be there."