Stowe's World Cup

Coverage and commentary of the Ski Bum Series

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stowe World Cup News for 3/21/2006

This week brings a new definition of outrage to the Stowe World Cup News. There are some principles and traditions that Stowe World Cup racers, hold truer to our hearts than others. There will, for instance, be tolerance for a Super-G in place of a promised “full-length” GS. A “pro-bump” is an acceptable addition to the standard giant slalom race. A race on Exhibition is welcome, but just once a year. In the past, the World Cup crew has even been known to hold two separate races on the same day, but only to make up a missed week of racing.

This weekly running of the bulls saw the debut of a new, questionable format: take your usual one run, pony up an additional ten dollars if you want a second run, and then use your best run as your race time. There certainly could be nothing more non-traditional in the Stowe World Cup than two runs. The weekly World Cup is about freedom; freedom from a morning of work, freedom from convention, freedom to talk some trash. There could not possibly be a greater abuse of freedom than the introduction of a new race format for the last regular race of the season.

In fact, this reporter wonders just what, or perhaps who, prompted this sudden shift in race policy. Was Paul Lawson really trying to raise money to get back to Nantucket? Could a certain ski school director have enough influence to give him the edge and his second victory of the season? Perhaps a young MMSC program director thought that two runs would provide him opportunity to correct any mistakes from the first run and capitalize during a second.

In the interest of full disclosure, this reporter will immediately own up to not having attended the race this week. Having spent the better part of Monday at the hospital with a mysterious ailment making it impossible to swallow, difficult to breathe, and challenging to sit-up, let alone stand, it was decided mid-day that several other participants would be deputized and report back from the hill.

However, in attendance or absent, it would border on gross negligence to not at least question the motivation behind the person(s) responsible for the decision to alter the customary format for the weekly Stowe World Cup. The World Cup News team is, to put it plainly, shocked. Furthermore, while Dave Merriam may appear, on paper, to have won the race this week, there is no doubt that Teo Calcagni should have been enjoying the after party at Miguels as the winner of the final race of the season.

Onward now to other news that relates back to “real” races. Piper Laidlaw from Race Stock Sports shrugged off his nickname (yes, he is the notorious “Seven-Tenths”) and spanked his boss and nickname creator PJ Dewey by… seven-tenths. Life is nothing if not ironic. Grafton Smith recovered from his slide for life last week, but only posted a 38th place finish. Perhaps Grafton’s Black Magic was not the right choice this week.

A small clarification from last week: This reporter may have editorialized to a larger degree than was prudent when profiling Teo “Super-Tay” Calcagni. The listing of “women” as one of the driving forces behind Teos strict training regime should have read “woman…” and was a referral to his wife. Teo was quick point out in the same interview that he is only allowed to participate in the weekly race with permission of his wife. The truth of this situation has every non-married, male World Cupper both simultaneously empathizing with Super-Tay and counting their blessings for still being single.

So, until next season, this is the World Cup News team signing out. Good luck to the twenty teams who qualified for the World Cup finals. With any luck there will not be any more unpleasant, unorthodox surprises. And for all of the participants in the Stowe World Cup – may the off season be enjoyable, relaxing, and injury-free. This is Todd Carroll, Stowe World Cup News, reporting from the Spruce Base Lodge.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stowe World Cup News for 3/14/2006

After two consecutive weeks of non-traditional races (super-g and slalom), this week saw the return to the standard giant slalom. The twist, so to speak, this week was the “pro-bump.” Left in place after the Stowe Duals on Sunday, this obstacle presented a challenge that was the talk of the Cup. Coupled with soft snow and a tight course set, the bump removed a fair number of competitors from the running, often with some spectacular crash action.

PJ Dewey from Race Stock Sports claimed his first-ever Stowe World Cup win, knifing his mini-skis down the pitch to collect a big victory. This triumph probably helped PJ erase any disappointment that was lingering from his oh-so-close race last week (see www.stoweworldcup.blogspot.com for more info). Second place went to Graham Lonetto of Edgewise who might have made a real run at the top spot had he not hot-dogged off of the bump in an effort to show everyone how good he makes ski bases look. Third place went to Teo “Super-Tay” Calcagni. As this reporter slaves over the keyboard Teo is no doubt strutting around, chest puffed out, at the after-race party.

The award for best tactics over the pro-bump definitely goes to Grafton Smith. After revealing, in a pre-race interview, that he had worked some “black magic” wax into his race skis, Grafton was having a blistering run. However, it would appear to this reporter that Grafton might have either: a) also worked the same “black magic” on the back of his coat, or b) made his skis just too fast. As he aired out over the bump on his back, there was no shortage of oohs and aahs from the crowd. For his performance and anguish Grafton earns nothing, besides a chance to come back next week and do it all over again.

Now, on a small side note, the Stowe World Cup News team is proud to present the first exclusive Stowe World Cup athlete profile. This week, we were able to sit down with Teo “Super-Tay” Calcagni and learn about what really makes him the ferocious competitor that he is. Having been known to utter statements like “I’m going wax in the morning after I’ve had a chance to test hill conditions” and “I’m one of the best skiers in the world… in my weight class,” Teo embodies almost everything that this reporter holds to be true about the Stowe World Cup. In fact, it would not be a stretch at all to say that Teo just might be a hero to many aspiring Stowe World Cup racers. When asked what drove him to train endlessly for the weekly snow circus, Teo simply responded: “The money… and the women, but mainly the money.”

Other notables this week included the tie between warring ski bum race reporters Kim “Suit” Brown and Todd Carroll. Suit just got back from a reporting “job” at NCAA’s in Steamboat, Colorado. There is no doubt that the insight he gained while watching the best collegiate skiers in the country compete helped him maintain his newfound standing in the top seed of the Stowe World Cup.

So, that is your Stowe World Cup news for the week of March 14th. Until next week, ski fast, take chances. Todd Carroll, Stowe World Cup News, reporting from Spruce Base Lodge.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Stowe World Cup News

Stowe World Cup News? Many of you might be scratching your head wondering just what the Stowe WC News is. Before we delve into the behind-the-scenes report from last week's race, a little bit of explanation is definitely in order.

Stowe World Cup News was started by Todd Carroll. Initially an idea to deliver the hard-hitting, no-holds-barred facts about the weekly Stowe Ski Bum race series, the SWCN (as it is slowly becoming known) realized that it could make a real run at delivering all the news to Stowe area readers.

Stowe Reporter owner Biddle Duke immediately recognized the threat that SWCN presented to his established readership and struck a deal with the World Cup News team. Of course this deal hinged on the ability of the World Cup News team to maintain editorial control over their content and Biddle was quite willing to concede this point in an effort to win the larger war. The end result for you, the reader, will be unfettered access to the weekly ritual known in some circles as the Stowe World Cup.

First off, it would seem important to address the issue of where the nomenclature "Stowe World Cup" came from. While historians maintain that the translation was lost hundreds of years ago, a small group of regular participants has been using this terminology with unusual vigor this year to describe the racing action. This reporter has been spearheading the revival of said expression. One look around at the start of a race provides any casual observer with an explanation.

Racers are applying high-speed overlay waxes to their skis. Some are brazen enough to don speed suits. Many even fret over their ski choice. It would seem that there was more on the line than simple bragging rights and a glass of beer in the evening.

There is one facet of the entire scene that cannot go unmentioned: the trash talking. For athletes on the true "World Cup," the media provides them with an outlet to (in a politically savvy manner) talk trash about their opponents. Picture this same scenario without media or political niceties. Usually the dirt starts being thrown right after a race, calming until the day before the next race. To be sure, most of the things said are said in jest, but it is not uncommon for people to earn nicknames that stick for good.

Take Kim Brown, the "scribe," for the traditional Bum league column who will forever be known as "Suit." Kim decided to throw caution and self-respect to the wind and break out his GS suit for the race two weeks ago. This reporter would like to make it known that, while this pseudonym does not represent the pinnacle of creative thinking, I was the first to utter "What's up Suit" at the start of the race.
Other examples include one shop employee (who shall remain nameless) who will most likely spend a long time responding to "Seven Tenths." This represents the margin between said employee and his co-worker. What Stowe World Cup News is really here to do is remind everyone that "Seven Tenths" was most likely skiing with no ACL and still was in the top-ten.

Now, with the administrative palaver out of the way, it's time to get down to business. The race last week was slalom, held on the ... you guessed it, slalom hill. With only one slalom race slotted for this year, it was a chance for racers to try their hand at something a little different.

The morning before the race saw the expected pre-race excuses starting earlier than ever. Jesse Schloff, the Stowe Reporter ski-racing guru and photographer extraordinaire, was quick to point out that he only had one pair of skis, which measured 188cm. Other skiers were discussing ski-edge bevels, noting that their skis were horrendously over or under-beveled. As race time drew near, it became apparent, however, that the weather and start position would be two of the biggest factors in determining the race outcome.

With bright sun, warm temperatures, and soft snow on the main pitch, the later racers faced a course that was deteriorating rapidly. Teo "Super-Tay" Calcagni grabbed the first big lead, skiing clean and tight. PJ Dewey from Team Race Stock ripped an on-the-edge run and held on to take the temporary place in the winner's circle away from Teo. In fact, PJ was still sitting atop the heap when Micah Lasher delivered a crushing blow to the field. Despite, losing a pole and glove half way down the pitch, Micah cross-blocked with a bare hand to oust PJ by a casual two and a half seconds. Micah watched challenges by Biddle Duke, Brian Irwin, and Emily Copeland fall short and claimed victory for the day. Biddle could not seem to translate the magic from his circa-1988 pink shin-guards into a finish, although he was going for it when he DNF'd. Irwin maintained, in a post-race interview, that he lost all of his speed coming onto the flat just before the finish. As for Ms. Copeland, she was unavailable for comment, but this reporter is fairly certain that she had to have done something to be disqualified even before the race started.

With the final results in, the bragging rights assigned, and the team winners cup full of beer at Rimrocks, skiers now have the prospect of next weeks race looming on the horizon. As for the SWCN ... you can count on us delivering the goods once again.
Our edition next week will be chock full of dirt, including an exclusive interview with a mystery racer. Until then, this is Todd Carroll, Stowe World Cup News, reporting from the Spruce Base Lodge.