Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nightrace Schladming

The Planai ski slope dominates the skyline of Schladming, a town of about 4500. The Postbus service organized a special trip to and from the venue for a reasonable 11 Euros round trip from Irdning. My friend Caitlin and I met up on the bus. Ash arrived late and, in a sea of nearly 50,000 spectators, there was no way we could find each other, even with modern cell phone technology!

It began to snow just as we arrived. We bought our tickets (15 Euros apiece) and hurried into the stadium. The first run began at 6:00 pm. We didn't get too far, but we could see skiers when we looked up the hill, and the big screen and finish line when we looked down the hill. and it's amazing how fast the race goes. Each skier takes about 1:45 minutes to make it down the hill. 25 skiers took about 45 minutes. Bode Miller fell, so he was disqualified for the second run. Boo boo boo!

The second run didn't begin until 8:45 pm so Caitlin and I went into town with 48,000 of our closest friends. We grabbed a roast pork sandwich, and tried to meet up with Ash again to no avail. There was a festive atmosphere in town to day the least, fueled by copious amounts of beer and Jägermeister. I preferred to remain sober, especially since it was sooooo icy. I slipped and landed on my... anyway! We watched the second run from the bottom of the slope. Because we're both so short, we couldn't see the finish line, but we could most of each skier's run. Mario Matt (AUT) won, followed by Jean-Baptiste Grange (FRA -- some woman thought I was French, for crying out loud!) and Manfred Mölgg (ITA). The USA's Ted Ligety came in fourth.

What? You want to see pictures of people skiing?! Well why didn't you say so!

After the race, we had a beer at a local brewery (Schwalbenbräu Schladming has a great logo!) then caught the bus back to Irdning/Liezen at 11:00. I got home at 12:30 and had to go into work today at 7:05, so at this point it's questionable whether I'll get to my dance class tonight!

P.S. My colleagues invited me to go to Venice (!) for Carnival (!!) this weekend... I think I might go!

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