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Picabo Street describes skiing the Olimpia delle...

August 13, 1995|Bill Stall

Picabo Street describes skiing the Olimpia delle Tofana course at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Shortly after the start of the race, the skiers enter a steep, straight stretch called the Tofanaschuss:

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You drop over the Tofanaschuss, which is--put it this way, my trainers ski around it. It's pretty fast. It's the funnest part for me. It's very steep, extremely steep. And then you make a big fat turn goin' probably, probably almost 80 miles an hour. You launch off this jump and you just have to accept the fact that you're flying out by the fence and try and maintain your form. And once you get down that, you're screamin'. It ends up sidehill as you finish your turn because the centrifugal force is pulling you. So you've got to hold, hold, hold. And then you dive in and you've got one-two-three huge super G turns that are just monsters. You can feel yourself just jet out of every turn: BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! You come out of that third turn and you're probably back up around 70 again. And you got to go up on that bank and dive into this big double turn, and the G-forces at the bottom of that turn are HUGE. You've got to make it over to this little zigzag, and all it wants to do is suck you down into that fence.

The bottom of the zag is kind of an icy, droppy turn, and then you sneak over this next knoll down through the roller-coaster section. You make one little jag and then you go straight down the flat. You go through the speed trap there and you're hittin' 80 per hour, or something like that. Plus, you're like turning on the side of a basketball. And then you get radical. You switch your downhill ski way down. You lift your uphill ski way up. And you drive in the most aggressive counter position over this knoll that you can't see. And then it's straight down to the finish. When you drop over the last little pitch this year, there was like a divot. If you weren't in the right line of balance, that divot would pop you open. That was why I didn't win that first one, because I got popped open. So I swung a little bit wider in the beginning of the turn and was in a really sweet spot, where I could just dive into the finish.

And I reached across the finish line. When I saw my time, I thought, "Whooooaaa." That's pretty fast time, you know, for this course.

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