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Soelden World Cup and other observations

We’ve just returned from Soelden where we got to watch the men’s GS. Ted Ligety won! As the crow flies, Soelden is probably about 30 miles from here. As the van drives, it’s almost three hours. Because almost 30,000 people are all trying to make their way up an extremely tight mountain pass to the glacier, there are shuttle buses from way down in town…however our coaches adopted a philosophy of “drive through the roadblock like you belong there” and we got all the way to the top, front and center. We were greeted by an amazing festival atmosphere that I’ve never really seen anywhere else (except at a Penn State football game). The passion and excitement was so electric….the crowd was diverse, both in nationality as well as age. Older folks, little kids, middle (ahem) aged, they were all there to cheer on their favorite skiers. The funny thing was that they didn’t all appear to be skiers, just people who love watching ski racing. There were booths set up, bars and food stands, and a large stage where a band played between runs. Yesterday we watched the women on the TV up in the lodge on the hill. Both times I was a little taken over by national pride…watching the race with people from all over and being lucky enough to see not one, but two Americans win was just awesome.

A couple of random observations…people drive REALLY fast on the autobahn. Really fast!
Even though you are in a long line of traffic going up a road with 1000 switchbacks, they still get impatient and pass. One guy on a motorcycle took a bus on a total blind curve switchback…and lived to tell about it.
When you leave the Tux valley and get over into Soelden there are no more cows. However, there are goats. Hundreds and hundreds of goats. What could they possibly do with all those goats? They don’t smell as bad.
The pass up to Soelden is absolutely one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been.
It is time for dinner now and I’m starved. They’ve promised us pizza and beef for dinner tonight. I hope they remembered…we haven’t had any beef the entire time we’ve been here (I don’t think anyway, sometimes I don’t always recognize what I’m eating!) The other day I thought I ordered bratwurst and fries for lunch and I got this full-on pork roast with gravy plate, something mushy, and a big ball of something that looked like dough. There’s a really nice woman who speaks English at the place we eat lunch. She’s been trying to sell me on homemade apple strudel – I may have to try that one day before we leave.

PS…we were timed yesterday on all our runs. Staci and I had two really fast runs. Success sure makes the day easier! GS for the next four days. We move into the steep lane right next to all the t-bars too. So now if we make a mistake, everyone will see it…no pressure.