Peter Shelton

Early Season IQ Test

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on September 17, 2012

OK, kids. It’s that time of year again when the skiing juices start to flow – even if the sky has yet to loose the white stuff.

The Telluride Film Festival has come and gone. The Imogene Pass Run is history. The season, the reason we’re here, waits just around the corner and thoughts turn – in dreams, certainly, and in moments less appropriate – to sliding down a frozen mountain. How ready are you for those first gliding turns? Take this simple test and find out. (more…)

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Messing With Ski Shapes, Part Three

Posted in Uncategorized by pshelton on February 4, 2012

In case you thought the Fédération Internationale de Ski wasn’t crazy enough remanding ski shapes back to the 1980s, here they came a couple of weeks ago to tell Tina Maze that her underwear is too fast. (more…)

Turning Back the Skiing Clock

Posted in Ski evolution, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on December 8, 2011

My mother says she doesn’t always “get” the things I write about skiing. Full disclosure, Mom: Look out! This one’s about sidecut and turn radius, and what some World Cup skiers – most notably outspoken Americans Ted Ligety and Bode Miller – see as an attempt to send ski racing back to the Hickory Age. (more…)

Mastering space and time

Posted in Olympic Games, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on December 9, 2010

Last weekend was a very good one for American ski racers skiing on American (at least North American) snow.

Up in Alberta, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso put on a show in the speed events. Vonn finished second in two consecutive downhills, to her good buddy and chief rival Maria Riesch of Germany, then won Sunday’s Super G just ahead of Riesch with Mancuso third. Julia finished fourth and sixth in the two downhills.

At Beaver Creek, the U.S. men didn’t fare so well. The downhill got cancelled due to wind. In the Super G all of the top Americans were ambushed by the same small bump and missed the next gate. One after the other. Keystone cops. Looked like a coaching/inspection/line error to me.

But then on Sunday, Ted Ligety of Park City won the giant slalom for his first World Cup victory on home soil. Er, snow.

Both tall, blonde Vonn and dark-haired Riesch are dominating their tour, have been for the past three years. Funny, though, the images of Vonn don’t look dominating. I know, that’s a stupid thing to say. She’s winning, or coming close, in just about every speed event. But, in still photographs, her position looks a little desperate: her head is tipped, the eyes aren’t level with the horizon; her hand is flying up; she’s leaning in more than she’s angulating; the skis are off the snow.

Bode Miller can be wild, as we know, and still be fast. He doesn’t finish many races these days. When I think of dominant skiing, I think of skiers in gorgeous control of all the forces acting on them painting their way down a blank canvas. (more…)

Jimmie Heuga, Little Big Man

Posted in Olympic Games, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on February 17, 2010

It’s Monday, Presidents’ Day. Bode Miller just won bronze in the Olympic downhill. (I predicted he’d lay down a brilliant run or two over the fortnight. With the pressure all on Lindsey Vonn and with Bode happy, finally, with his skis and with himself, I thought the genius might shine again.)

Today is also the public memorial for Jimmie Heuga, who died at age 66 on February 8th, 46 years to the day after his bronze medal in slalom at the Innsbruck Olympics. (more…)

The myth of certainty

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on January 21, 2010

Following a freak-accident death in the backcountry last week, it’s worth listening to the comments flooding in on-line. (more…)

Temporary blindness

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on December 10, 2009

Blizzard Warning! We had one this week accompanying a storm that did, in fact, close the passes and turned the mountains into a giant Cool Whip dessert.

The prospect of driving through a swirling white-out kept Ellen from motoring up to Telluride for a meeting. I don’t blame her. She was thinking about the time last winter when we went up together, the wind and snow kicked in during the afternoon, and it took us three and a half hours to crawl home to Colona, a trip of just over one hour in clear weather.

It’s not the porcelain road surface so much. We have good snow tires, and we know what our cars can and cannot do. (The other drivers out there? The ones braking in the curves or passing to gain a single place in line? That’s another story.) No, the real drama starts when you can’t tell where in hell the road is. (more…)