Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Expert Opinion

It's nice to be recognized for expertise in a particular field of study...
Like HERE...

So while reading this morning's USA Yesterday I saw a sidebar regarding the World's Most Dangerous Ski Slopes.
Knowing that the USA Yesterday has about a 30% accuracy rate, I wanted to throw this out for an opinion from The Mighty Skunk, one of the Premier Boffins in the World of Professional Sport and in my opinion The Guy That Knows The Most Stuff About Winter Sports and Is No Slouch Regarding Tennis Topics, too.

So- Skunk-meister...

USA Yesterday thinks these places are bad-ass:

Corbet's Couloir - Jackson Hole
La Grave - Fance
Delirium Dive - Banff
Body Bag - Crusted Butte
Harakiri - Austria
Silver King Runs - Crystal Mt WA
El Colotrado - Chile
Christmas Chute - Alaska
The Streif - Austria
Lauberhorn - Switzerland
Olympiabakken - Norway
The Salsong - Italy
Racers Edge - Hunter Mt, NY

How's that stack up, in your humble opinion...?

(Comments not limited to The Skunk- If you have an opinion, speak up.)



T-Rav said...

I just skied the Lauberhorn - or a tiny part of it, and it was easy. Of course as the Skunk will tell you; it was not injected with water to make it a solid sheet of ice for race conditions. Plus I was not in any hurry to get down the slope. Ice and speed make a dangerous combination.

The Mighty Skunk said...

Hmmm. Well for starters, there's a big difference between trails which are dangerous to SKI and trails which are difficult to RACE on.

The only places on the list that host races are Saslong, Lauberhorn, and Streif.

The Lauberhorn is, as T-Rav opines, relatively easy for a World Cup DH course. It is, however, by far the LONGEST mens DH (almost 3 minutes), so it claims a lot of victims who become steeped in their own lactic acid and experience leg failure by the time they get down to S-Turns.

The Streif is the DH course at The Hahnenkamm-Rennen in Kitzbühel (where you will find me in 10 days). It is the steepest, nastiest, gnarliest, baddest motherfuckerest, most dangerous DH in the world, by far. Plenty of places to die or be maimed on The Streif, including 5 or 6 within sight of the town below. The coolest thing about The Streif is it feels like you are actually skiing *TO* somewhere. You start up at the KSC Clubhouse, then pop big air off the Mausefalle; if you manage to avoid death in the Steilhang (a big, nasty 270-degree off-camber carousel), you then pass by the Seidlalmsee (a small lake), schuss past a few thousand wealthy drunks who can afford a table at the Seidlalm restaurant, pass a grazing meadow and a big farmhouse belonging to the Reisch family, then over a blind jump where the racers line themselves up with the steeple of the town church about a mile away because it's the only thing they can see below them. Through the Hausberg Gate, accelerate up to 142 KmH in the Zielschuss, pass the Ganslern Alm restaurant, launch about 250 meters in the air off the Zielsprung, and pass through my photocell array, whereupon you are greeted by about 90,000 drunk, ski-crazy Austrians.

Or, as American racer Scott Macartney experienced in 2008, you can blow apart in mid-air off the Zielsprung, crash so hard your skis and helmet shatter and vaporize, slide about 300 meters unconscious on your face, cross the finish line and go into convulsions while the medics intubate you and try to save your life, and the life-flight helicopter warms up for your free chopper ride to Salzburg Hospital.


The most dangerous thing about the Hahnenkamm is the winner is obliged to tend bar at The Londoner the evening after the race, which usually becomes a smoky, drunken, ribald, table-dancing, naked riot. Definitely an experience TBG should take in before his days are over.

Saslong is a good classic DH, not particularly terrifying, but a lot of racers get hurt there because it's always held on one of the shortest days of the year and a lot of the course is in shadow. The viz is sketchy. My friend Steve Nyman won that race about 3 years ago, he's a big strong kid who wasn't around the day fear genes were handed out.