Stowe's World Cup

Coverage and commentary of the Ski Bum Series

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.

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