Sunday, March 20, 2011

skiing with Jonny

Jonny Moseley (US Olympian 1998, 2002: Gold Medal in Moguls) grew up skiing at Squaw Valley. He skied on all of their youth and racing teams and after he won his gold medal, they named a popular ski run after him. He now is some kind of mountain host for Squaw and one day while we were there the public was invited to "Ski with Jonny". Our friends the Hsiens saw the signs for this opportunity first and told us about it. Diana was determined to participate and I agreed to go also, but when the time came she backed out and John joined me.

I wondered how this would work. It was a busy saturday, would 1000 people show up to ski with him? Here he is with the striped jacket at the designated meeting place. There wasn't 1000 people, but there was probably 50.

He talked for a minute and took some photos with people and told us which lift to take and where to meet next. He said we'd start off skiing some intermediate terrain and gradually build up the difficulty and anyone who could keep up could follow along.

John and I took the first lift and got to the next meeting place, where we ran into another Olympian, Peekaboo Street (blue coat, white helmet). I know that was her because her name was embroidered on her jacket. I don't think Jonny knew she was there, he seemed surprised, they talked about doing a challenge together sometime during her visit, and Jonny's group skied off.

We went down an intermediate run first and it was impossible not to be astounded by how amazingly FAST this guy skis. I mean, there's fast, like some people think I ski, and fast like I see other people skiing on any given day, and then there is Olympian fast. I've never seen anything like it.

After the next run John decided not to continue on this little tour and he waved me on ahead. About 30 others felt the same way.

And we were left with a core group of about 18 or so and we headed to advanced terrain. I was skiing as fast as I possibly could to keep up with him, and I never did. I was always 20-30 seconds behind him at best, which maybe doesn't sound like much, but when you're flying you cover a lot of ground in that amount of time.

I was skiing with a really, really, good group of people and NO ONE could ski at his pace. Mercifully, Jonny always started the run and stopped at about half way down. There he chatted with people and waited for us to catch him, then kept going.

And he not only skied but went over boulders and did flying flips and twirls and "helicopters" and grabbed his skis in mid-air and landed perfectly again. I don't have photos of any of that, I could never predict when he would decide to do these things and I was too awe-struck to work a camera in those instances anyway.

We skied with him for 2 hours, and I was one of only two women who stuck out the entire time. We ended the tour by going up KT-22 and going to the famous run which is named after him. It's a steep, loooooooong run covered in moguls, and I tried to take a video of him, but as always, he was gone in a flash.

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