Imagine that you're standing atop Howelsen Hill's ski jumps, strapped into a pair of Alpine skis.
Now look toward the base. Take away the jumps. Point your skis down the hill and tuck.
That is essentially what speed skier Tim Magill did at a World Cup event held March 4 to 7 at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia.
Magill reached speeds near 100 mph en route to picking up two top-15 finishes at the internationally recognized event.
"It was very similar to Howelsen Hill, without the scaffolding," Magill said about the Canadian venue. "It's slow for a speed skiing hill, but there was a bump on the course, which was like a 100 mph speed bump."
But the bump didn't present as many problems as the snow conditions at the finish area. When the racers arrived at Sun Peaks Resort, it was warm, and the snow had a more sugary texture. On March 3, the night before training, a cold front moved in and froze the snow like an ice rink.
"Nine fell in training," Magill said. "Athletes had trouble stopping with the speed and the frozen base."
Magill went in more prepared than others, however, because of his training schedule at Howelsen Hill. He uses the out-runs at the base of the ski jumps to practice stopping abruptly at high speeds. He can reach 70 mph at home -- much slower than competition speed but suitable for training.
"I went up there with some experience, which was nice," Magill said.
The World Cup in Canada was Magill's 10th speed skiing competition, and he steadily is gaining more confidence on skis. This year, he switched from his older pair of worn race skis to new Atomic 238-centimeter skis.
"They are shorter than the old ones," Magill said. "A stiffer ski helps at higher speeds."
Magill frequently reaches speeds that would have a season ski pass immediately revoked -- if anyone could catch him.
On March 5, Magill finished 14th with a run of 126.13 kilometers per hour, or roughly 70 mph. Magill said those times weren't really fast, based on conditions. The winner, Italy's Simone Origone, posted a speed of 80 mph. On March 6, however, times increased dramatically. Magill finished ninth with a speed of 162.51 kilometers per hour, or more than 100 mph.
Switzerland's Jonathan Mor-et won with a speed of 167.16, or 104 mph.
Up next for Magill is a trip to Europe for World Cup and other competitions in France and Switzerland. He will be gone for several weeks in April, and he is looking for sponsorships as he travels through both countries.
Magill, one of America's top speed skiers, works at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org