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At Torino, as at Salt Lake, all eyes will be on Bode Miller, arguably the best American skier ever. But the man who has won nearly every title in ski racing, including last year’s overall and super G crowns, says he couldn’t care less about more medals and doesn’t even know where his twin ’02 silvers are. He just wants to ski fast and get back to his bus, the tricked out motor home that serves as his winter sanctuary. For a guy who grew up without power or plumbing in the White Mountain woods—and didn’t have a TV until he was 8—it’s heaven.
SKI: I heard your World Cup overall globe didn’t make it home in one piece. Did they replace it? MILLER: They did. I think my family pursued it. Or my agent. I wasn’t really concerned.
It’ll matter down the road. I don’t think so. I have different priorities than most people. I just don’t know what I would do with it.
You don’t have a big trophy room? I don’t have any of my trophy stuff. I don’t know where my Olympic medals are. I lost the World Championship gold. If it was really gold, I’d probably be more inclined to keep track of it.
What is your approach for Torino? I had the ideal Olympic experience last time. The performance itself—to struggle so hard and still get silver—was more rewarding than anything. Some people ask if I need a gold medal to complete my career. That’s not an issue for me at all. But you need a platform to have an inspirational performance, and the Olympics are a rare opportunity.
Do you plan to race all five events? Is it physically possible to be “on for five events? I plan to race all five events, and as I’ve raced all five events for the last three seasons, I know it’s possible to be on for all five. But it’s improbable to win all five.
If not results, what are your goals? I try to have a good life, try to enjoy my time and have fun. That has very little to do with winning or not winning. Actually, it’s pretty counterproductive in that sense to win. Because when I win, it’s all the s— that I dislike the most—press conferences, drug testing, the award ceremony. When I lose, I get to sneak off—back to the motor home 10 minutes later. I get to have a nice lunch and have some beers with Jake (Sereno, Miller’s friend and driver), listen to music, read my book, play video games and stuff. That’s a good day for me.
So last winter—when you were struggling to finish any slaloms—that was enjoyable? Yeah. A lot of days where I didn’t finish were great days. It’s something I’ve tried to get people to believe for a long time. I really don’t base success or happiness on whether I get first or second or fifth or whatever. I couldn’t live that way.
But you enjoy the spoils of success? Definitely. Especially when paired with the upbringing I had. Having the luxuries of a celebrity is fun. The whole thing is backwards: Now that I can afford any car I want, I have four that are free. But it’s nice.[NEXT]What has the bus meant to you, besides a really big TV? The bus has been a large part of my success. Four or five months of better rest, nutrition and comfort. You can’t put a value on that.
What’s your favorite kind of freeskiing? I don’t have time to freeski much, but definitely I lean more toward East Coast groomed—cruising fast and feeling that swoosh-swoosh flow of power. I’m not a powder skier. I like to sit back when I race but not all day. There’s great days in powder, too, but it seems like powder days are more social. I grew up a very solitary skier. I had hundreds of days where I didn’t talk to anybody for eight hours at a time. That’s something I really appreciate a lot more now that I can’t do that anymore.
What can be done to make ski racing more popular? That’s a double-edged sword because as the sport becomes more popular, it becomes more corrupt. That’s something that I’d like to avoid because racing’s maintained its integrity surprisingly well. It’s never going to be mainstream, and I’d be disappointed if it was.
Are relations good with your coaches? Yeah. My career with the U.S. Ski Team has been surprisingly smooth, considering. I’m a hard-ass. I don’t take it easy on those guys at all, and in turn I don’t expect to be coddled. The process of self-discovery is what’s most important to me. I think the team got scared a little bit because they saw I wasn’t overly concerned about whether I was going to win World Cups or not. I was concerned with the process. I think they have respect for me more now because they’ve seen the process kind of work.
We know you’re not into favorites, but was there any one moment from last year that stands out? That final super G, tying Daron. I’d been raining on his parade all year. He was stoked to get a win. And beating Hermann Maier—who is arguably the best super G skier ever—for the title. That was the best.