By: randosteve|Posted on: February 23, 2008|Posted in: Broken Link to Photo/Video, Races | 6 comments

United States Ski Mountaineering Association

Randosteve and Ethan enjoying the rideThings have finally gotten under way and we made our way to Champery today. We caught a bus shuttle from the airport and I saw some Spaniards, Manu, Toti and Javier (fast guys) who I met at the WC in 2006. Like the rest of the Spanish team, and many of the racers, these guys are about 5’5” and probably weight less than 130lbs. In fact, I felt like the biggest guys on the bus at a whopping 5′ 8.999” and 160 lbs. Even Cary and Zahan weight in the 130-135lb range and sometimes I wonder how fast I would be if I could shed 30 lbs…of course I’m not sure how Randokitty would feel about that.

First view of the Alps

Tough time for a type-oThe ride to the Alps went well and it gave us time to get reacquainted with some of our other teammates, like Ethan Passant and Brandon French, who we haven’t seen in a few weeks. We went ahead and went through registration and gear check in right when we arrived and most of it went smooth…except that both Cary and my race probes were too short, but luckily we had an extra ones for free-skiing with us, since there is no way I would use my ultralight, 6′ probe for real skiing in the mountains. The shit hit the fan when we went to sign up for the races tomorrow and we learned that none or our UIAA licenses had arrived…so we had to scramble and get all the right forms filled out ASAP. Kind of a junk show for a little while…but I think we are good to go now.

Cary and Zahan go through gear check

Our mascotWe are rooming with the rest of our team and have 7 rooms total with beds for about 24 people. Our team only consists of about 12 racers (and 3 extras) so there is plenty of room for us and our gear. It sits right below the Dents du Midi and have already scoped a few lines that might be fun to hit on the ‘rest day’. Unfortunately, things look extremely dry here and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the planned courses get changed.

Team USA
Manager: Dawn French, Team: Scott Clodiron, Chris Kroger, Brandon French
Steve Romeo, Ethan Passant, Lyndsey Meyer, Todd Glew, Nina Silitch,
Kneeling: Zahan Billimoria, Not Shown: Cary Smith, Monique Merrell

Killian JornetThe opening ceremonies were kind of a let down compared to the parade down the streets of Cuneu in 2006 and only about 200 people were in the stands to cheer for us. Dinner went well and we all eyed the competition. Rumor has it the fastest guy is a 20 year old from Spain that looks to be about 120lbs. WTF!!! Don’t these guys eat? Anyway, we only have four spots for each race and tomorrow is the Individual Short Race with Cary Smith, Ethan Passant, Brandon French and Chris Kroger representing Team USA, Good Luck to them…Au Revoir!