Guide to the Olympics: Ski Cross

Welcome to the throwdown, year one, also known as ski cross. A Winter X Games event since 1998, ski cross premieres this year as an event in the Winter Olympics. If you are wondering about gold, make sure to watch the two former ski racers, Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, participating in the event.
Ski Cross

It’s been a Winter X Games sport since 1998, but this year marks the Olympic premiere of skiercross, rechristened by the Olympics as “ski cross.” When snowboard cross (which everyone but the Olympics knows as boardercross), the sport’s single-planked sibling, was introduced at the 2006 Torino Games, it brought a grisly but telegenic mix of medal-blowing crashes, friendship-ending collisions, and pelvis injuries. Ski cross promises to be just as exciting/terrible. The rules are simple: First one down the minutelong course of tabletops, jumps, spines, and bank turns wins. There are no style points, no Russian judges for sale, and no second chances. The top two finishers from each four-person heat move on to the next round. Contact is technically illegal, but that doesn’t stop racers from throwing elbows on the sly. The Canadians were dominant in World Cup races last winter, but the Austrian, American, and Swiss teams should give them some competition.

Ones to Watch: The Veterans, Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett. 

The entire American team is made up of two former ski racers, Daron Rahlves (bottom) and Casey Puckett, who already have seven trips to the Olympics between them. Rahlves is the most successful American male super-G and downhill racer ever, and now he’s officially America’s best shot at ski-cross gold. Puckett is a four-time Olympic racer who switched to ski cross in 2003. “I believe Casey and Daron are the best skiers on the hill,” says Tyler Shepherd, the head coach of the U.S. Ski Cross Team, “but with ski cross anything can happen.”

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Ski Cross

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The U.S. Ski Cross Team consists of two guys: Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, both retired ski racers. We caught up with them while they were training in Telluride in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

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Olympic Moguls

Guide to the Olympics: Moguls

The precursor to slopestyle, moguls are as close as you will get to watching off-axis 720’s. Twenty-three year old American mogul skier Hannah Kearney seems like a promising gold medal pick for the event, held at Cyprus Mountain, just 20 miles from Vancouver.

Caitlin Ciccone in Action

Olympic Athlete to Watch: Caitlin Ciccone

A year and a half ago, American ski racer Caitlin Ciccone quit racing for good. Or so she thought. Now with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics around the corner, she’s trying to make the U.S. Women’s Ski Cross team. That is, if she can raise enough money to go to the Games.

Lindsey Vonn

Guide to the Olympics: Downhill

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Daron Rahlves

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