We were reunited with friends and family on a long-planned trip to the ski fields of Colorado.
It was great to spend so much quality time with everyone after a long time away.
The warm weather and lack of fresh snow meant that the optimal timespan for skiing each day got shorter and shorter. We cherry-picked our favourite runs and took to the mogul fields in the hope of improving our form on what is for many skiers their least-preferred terrain.
Our stay coincided with the FIS World Cup Finals in Aspen, so one day we watched the Men's Downhill just below the second jump before the racers made the big traverse across to the Aztec run. This meant that as the racers came over the jump and flew thirty or forty metres towards us, they had to land straight onto a hard left edge to make the traverse. One Slovenian guy, missed the edge by millimetres and came hurtling towards us. He tore through two lines of safety fencing finally coming to rest on top of two spectators. Thankfully everyone walked away from the crash. But as we stood there not 5m from the impact, we felt the blunt force and trauma a ski racer's body goes through. Absolute madness.
'Slip crews' are stationed along the length of the course. These groups use their skis to slide roughly perpendicular to the racing line to remove any ruts or mounds of snow thrown up by the racers. If these small piles were to be left untended racers could catch their skis and lose balance. At eighty-plus miles an hour this would make the course a deathtrap. Many of the people involved were Aspen staff or instructors, and I imagine this would be a great break in routine for them all.
Aspen was a silver mining town before it became the playground of the rich and famous. The legacy of this can be seen in some of the older buildings in town. Aspen is no stranger to wealth, and this in part could explain how it became such a hub for the wealthy winter sports enthusiast.
The USA's number one star Lindsey Vonn didn't quite have the legs on the day of the downhill.
Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia took the win on the day, as well as the series win for the World Cup season. The fact that the World Cup Finals coincided with our trip was fortunate as none of us had ever seen top level ski racing.