Ice is fast. Ice is hard. And ice is...safe? Racers’ edges and snowcats clearing fresh snow cause ruts that can launch skiers off-course. So techs actually inject the course with water to make it as hard as possible, says Peter Bosinger, the IOC course manager for alpine skiing. Using a 16-foot “water bar” with nozzles at the bottom, techs inject water 10 inches into the snowpack in eight-inch increments down the hill. “It’s very labor-intensive,” Bosinger says. The first round occurs two weeks prior to race day, with touch-ups the day before. Weather is the biggest variable affecting course conditions. At one World Cup race early this season, “they added too much water,” causing many women on the U.S. team to slide off course.
Olympics 2010: Is Vonn a Heavyweight?
Lindsey Vonn says an article that claimed she has a size advantage over smaller racers helped motivate her to win three consecutive races last weekend. “If all it took to be good at ski racing was weight then we all would be stuffing our faces," she said during a conference call with reporters on Monday.