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: Winners Poll and Voting
We know, you think Lindsey Vonn’s a good bet to win the women’s downhill at Whistler Blackcomb. And, of course, we agree. But what about the other alpine events? Take a stab at picking the winners, and log back in periodically until the Olympics to see if other readers agree.