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subota, 16. rujna 2017.

Why The Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Loves Croatia — and Colorado






Firstly, this New York Times article that just came out the other day was already titled that way, and I totally came across it by chance and immediately thought I should put it here, (really, I was just Googling around for information about skis and ski touques and there it was, and skiing season isn't that far off either so perfect timing) and even though she's not a Croatian skier it's still pretty cool and good to know for a few reasons. After all, she is a 2-time winner of the annual Snow Queen Trophy World Cup alpine ski races that take place at Zagreb, is the current World Cup overall and slalom champion and has skied at many locations on the World Cup ski circuit, so she should know what she's talking about. (if the reader requires a more Croatia related topic, the Karlovački Dani Piva/Karlovac Beer Days just finished up recently, see karlovac-dani-piva-days-of-beer post and hit the links there for more about that)

Also, her personal thoughts, experiences and the article title is just a very good promotion of the sport around the world in general, so speaking as a skier that gets a 2 thumbs up from me. Because dang, it doesn't say "Mikaela Shiffrin Thinks Croatia Is "OK"..or "Not Too Crappy But They Wear Wierd Clothes "..or "Is Alright, But Should Have Better Beers, Pastries & Sausage Toppings" or something like that, heck no. It's just a few brief mentions like this in a major newspaper that does wonders in bringing awareness to very important world topics like this, it opens up a whole new can of worms that I get to elaborate on for the benefit of the reader. (it's always and at all times strictly for the readership). I'm not going to get into how long I've skied, where I've skied, what skis or poles or helmets I think are the best or even which ski hills have the best martinis or steaks, the main point is I like the sport and the whole skiing tradition and culture thing, it's like surfing in the winter in a way.

Like I said before, it should simultaneously also help bring awareness to the upgrades, renovations and additions that are currently going on and being envisioned for the whole Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort, which will help the future of the annual FIS Alpine World Cup Snow Queen and King Trophy slalom races to remain as one of the most popular and important on the FIS World Cup Skiing circuit calendar in Central Europe, and so eventually become an even better world class event for everyone, including even those watching at home on television. The Croatian ski team is in a rebuilding stage with new skiers, (more info about the current lineup at croski.hr), but what's important here is keeping the ski culture and tradition alive. Even just the few mentions help bring awareness to the fact that there's been a skiing culture in Croatia and around Zagreb long before the FIS World Cup Snow Queen slalom races started up in 2005. It even brings awareness to the very existence of the Winter Olympics in a way, (and what kind of a world would it be without the Winter Olympics and skiing I ask the reader? not a better one that's for sure, probably fucked up much worse and absurd), so in the process in effect bringing the holy skiing bliss and joy of the ski gods to people around the world basically, which is way better and more interesting than lots of the crap and infotainment in the news these days.Yep, the world quite simply needs more ski hills and ski resorts/skiers because it's apparent that skiing is the answer to many of the world's problems and crapola woes, and that's the truth.

(I guess it all comes down to that age-old question and enigmatic riddle that has perturbed and perplexed many great minds, thinkers and philosophers for thousands of years since time immemorial, namely..."Skiing, What is it? Friend or foe?" (you know, that whole velocity/distance/angle in relation to the earth's circumference/rotational speed thing vis a vis if you didn't ski on the mountain would it exist? or would even you exist if you didn't? (aka the skiing crocodile dilemma, "I ski therefore I am" etc), as well as the very real possibility for the existence of the previously thought mythical legend of the aerodynamically ideal perfect ski position mentioned in ancient chronicles where the skis actually float slightly above and don't even touch the snow going down the hill. Because it's all about just you and the mountain and the elements and there is no going back, time-outs, substitutions or complaining/whining/belly-aching to any ref about anything, here there's no bitching about passing or not passing a line or that someone touched you or something hit the post, either the mountain and snow becomes a part of you and vice versa or it will simply crush and annihilate you whenever it feels like it, just like a pointless foreign puny skiing mammal insect who wandered onto it's snowcapped territory, (because the mountain just doesn't care, it simply does not care about your previous stats or what round you were drafted in or what the ski reporters and armchair skiers think or what victory dance or backflips you do or how many times you had your butt slapped or how many butts you slapped, the mountains don't give a damn about any of these things because each time you start from 0 and are an equal puny nameless nothing, the ageless snowy mountain instead just mockingly says "Let's see what you got", it just doesn't give a f**k about who you think you are, just who the f**k do you think you are anyway?)...but the rewards and blessings from the ski gods looking down from above for those few who do accomplish the feat are immortality, real immortality just like those ancient ski heroes of renown from times long past who's names still echo across the mountaintops eternally, the midwinter hibernal solstice belongs to such as these, that's why truly "Skiing Is Life". Well, that just about sums it up and I think the answer is self-evident, that skiing is a mantra for the ages, ageless, a philosophy (in most cases even a religion, which it is) and a way of life that contributes to civilization, progress and a better future, that's the way I see it)

(and you know what else? interestingly it's almost like the statistics situation in my croatians-world-lists-drinking post, eerily similar actually. Like when's the last time you heard in the news about a skier or former skier being involved in robberies, assaults, throwing acid in faces, various voilences, muggings and especially homicides and murders? exactly, it's pretty darn rare and hardly ever in the news. Heck I can't even remember the last time I heard about some skier involved with those things, at some ski race, after ski-party or even while wearing any ski related fashion/attire..."...And tonight's top story, a stabbing and shooting in the west end after a ski-party, the suspect is a former member of the local ski club and was described as wearing ski attire items before running into an alley and the local mall ...etc", (it sounds shocking but it's true and good to know). Actually when you think about it, long before the invention of podiums or carbon composite graphite ski poles, the first skiers are just like a Hermóðr, Prometheus or Mercury, taking from the gods the knowledge of the enigmatic secret skiing ways and then skiing down the mountain themselves, (the very fist slaloms and downhills), and they brought the gifts of the skiing magics to the mortals far below, that pretty well sums it up.

(And the above information reminds me of something else, I've come across plenty of times people wearing t-shirts, or bumper stickers, coffee mugs, hats and other things with slogans written like..."Football Is Life", or "Hockey Is Life", "Baseball Is Life", "Basketball Is Life" and some other "...Is Life" examples (maybe in some other reality or galaxy). But I''m telling you they're all wrong because really "Skiing Is Life". Because besides the above reasons, life really is about staying the course to cross the finish line, it's about staying on that ski course, avoiding life's rough snow patches and not wiping out by managing life's various hills, jumps, turns, circumventing various flag poles, getting back on course and not crashing into the fence etc, there's really no balls or ballish-like objects in life bouncing, ricocheting, deflecting around you or that you have to deal with, nope, it's mainly just about skiing down that obstacles filled ski course and crossing the finish line in one piece. (you could then theoretically include quite a few other sports especially marathon running, stage cycling, those various endurance races/triathlons and probably martial arts sports with "...Is Life" slogan t-shirts and coffee mugs, (I've seen "Fishing Is Life" and "BBQing Is Life" tees and mugs too but probably way more people would disagree than agree), but "Skiing Is Life" pretty well sums it up).

Anyway, this article may even encourage more young kids in taking up the sport and culture, or the other related skiing disciplines like Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Skiing or even Freestyle/Snowboarding etc, in Croatia or anywhere actually, (because not everyone can be a ball kicker or a ball bouncer, ball thrower, drop balls, sell eight-balls or do speedballs unfortunately, maybe in a perfect world somewhere in some other universe, so perhaps the ancient sport of skiing is the answer). Heck, it wouldn't even bother me in the slightest if she was to win her 3rd Snow Queen Trophy this January, because her few kind words and skiing insight have done wonders for the sport of skiing, for a whole new generation of skiers in Croatia and all around the world...and beyond. Well that's about it, for more information and pics of the Zagreb Christmas Holiday Markets that she mentions in the article see post zagreb-advent-festivities-are-underway and for more information about the Medvenica Mountain Sljeme Ski Resort upgrades in the works see free-skiing-at-sljeme-begins.



(And for those who are totally unfamiliar with this topic here's some supplementary tidbits...the FIS Snow Queen (Croatian: Snježna Kraljica) trophy is a World Cup alpine ski race in Croatia. The men's and women's slalom races take place on the Crveni Spust (Red Slope) Medvednica mountaintop at the Sljeme-Medvenica Ski Resort just north of Zagreb, every year in early January. The women's Snow Queen alpine race debuted in 2005 and the men's event was added three years later in 2008, with the winner being crowned the Snow King. Besides the city events in Moscow and Munich, it is the only World Cup event held in the vicinity of a large metropolitan area.

Its current prize fund of €120,000 is one of the largest prize funds on the World Cup circuit and the races have been known to attract up to 25,000 spectators, making it one of the largest and the most visited races on the World Cup calendar. The trophy is a crystal crown with past winners' names imprinted on it. At the award ceremony, the winner is presented with a cloak and sits on a throne like a queen, and a king. The race was originally called the "Golden Bear" Trophy (Croatian: Zlatni Medvjed), but from the 2006 event the name was changed in honour of Janica Kostelić, whose victories in the sport helped popularize skiing in Croatia and also paved the way for the World Cup race at Zagreb to be included as a premier competition for alpine skiing.

In 2013, the Snow Queen Trophy races were admitted to the Club5 Ski Classics, which gathers traditional organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races. Zagreb has thus joined the company of the leading organizers of the FIS Ski World Cup races, including Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen and Val d’Isere. Annually TV stations in over 25 countries of Europe, North America and Asia broadcast the races by Eurosport Europe, Eurosport Asia and ESPN Latin and South America, while news reports and features are transmitted in an additional 50 other countries together reaching more than 250 million households around the world.

And here's some interesting skiing trivia since already on the topic; even Ivica Kostelić who is a World Cup Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and Janica Kostelić who likewise was an Overall, Slalom and Combined Champion and multiple Olympic Champion before a too early retirement, neither of them won at the Snow Queen Trophy World Cup races, (having podium finishes though), so it's not exactly an easy slalom race to win and it's definitely not fixed. And courtesy of www.skijanje.hr and some other Croatian ski sites some other interesting skiing trivia...the first official ski club in Croatia was formed in Rijeka at nearby Platak (platak.hr) and founded in 1885, which is actually 10 years before even one was formed in more snowier Zagreb in 1895. (How's this for a total mindfuck since on the topic, that's even before the oldest founded ski resort in America, which was in 1915 at Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Colorado, that's just plain crazy). And the first official skiing competition race was held at a ski slope on Učka just outside the town of Opatija in 1897, (yep that's not a typo, that Opatija), the first locally manufactured skis were made in 1911 as well as the first official Croatian ski camp was held at Mrkopalj in 1913, amazing)





A 2-time winner of the annual Zagreb VIP Snow Queen World Cup alpine ski race, Mikaela Shiffrin pictured earlier this year at the 50th FIS World Cup Skiing Anniversary event in dowtown Zagreb. Image: www.instagram.com/cro_ski.





Source:nytimes.com


When Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s World Cup overall title in March, she was the first American to conquer skiing’s most coveted title since 2012 — coincidentally, the year she won her first World Cup event at the ripe age of 17.

Like all top-level ski pros, Ms. Shiffrin, who lives in Vail, Colo., spends most of the year circling the globe. In summer, she trains in New Zealand and Chile; from October to March, she races across Europe, with occasional jaunts to North America — the World Cup opener in Sölden, Austria, is on Oct. 28. And this season will add a big detour to her itinerary in February, when she competes in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Below are edited excerpts from interviews with Ms. Shiffrin.




Mikaela Shiffrin in the women’s slalom race in Aspen, Colorado in March. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times.





Q. Do you have favorite resorts on the racing circuit?


In Zagreb, in Croatia, we stayed in the middle of the city, right near the biggest shopping street. We were there when the Christmas markets were still up. It’s one of the few times I make a point to get out and walk around a bit because there’s so much history. With Zagreb and Maribor, in Slovenia, the [ski] hills are right on the outskirts. You’re driving through a city for 45 minutes, thinking, “There’s no way we’re going skiing anywhere near here.” Then all of a sudden you’re at a ski hill.


Are there any differences between the ski cultures in the United States and Europe?


Yes, but then there are also different approaches to skiing within the U.S. The East Coast is generally a lot more about racing. The West has a huge all-mountain culture, with powder skiing, heli-skiing and freeskiing. The crowd at the Killington races in Vermont [in November] was incredible. It was this moment for the U.S. to show all these Europeans who think they own ski racing that we can hold our own.




Mikaela Shiffrin celebrating on the podium after the FIS World Cup Women's Slalom race on Sljeme in Zagreb January 4, 2015. Image: REUTERS.





What is it like to be a bona fide star in the Alps?


In the U.S. people might recognize me at home or if I’m at a ski event; otherwise they don’t know what’s going on. But in Austria or Italy I can count on somebody stopping me in the street. When I go to Europe I have to start thinking about trying to be incognito if I have to get somewhere on time.


You’re on the road for months at a time. What’s always in your bag?


I travel with a blanket that I received as a Christmas present and my own pillow, because the pillows in a lot of the [European] hotels are really thin and I feel like my head is falling off a cliff while I’m sleeping. And my face creams, from a company called Beautycounter that specializes in clean products.




Mikaela Shiffrin. Credit Dustin Snipes/Red Bull Content Pool.





How do you deal with travel fatigue and jet lag?


People say that the first few days at a new place, you should not nap no matter how tired you are. But I find that oftentimes I still have some sort of a disrupted sleep pattern at night, so I do nap. If we have to ski the next day, it’s important to get your muscles going again so you must do something active, like go for a walk or a jog, and get some fresh air. For athletes nutrition is always important, but especially with travel you want to make sure you get the right kinds of fats and protein, and bring healthy snacks so you won’t go to the candy shop at the airport. I like dried mangoes, also cheese and crackers — there’s probably no study that shows that’s the greatest thing to be eating for jet lag but as far as snacks go, it’s not terrible. Sometimes dark-chocolate-covered berries, to get a sweet fix without eating an entire doughnut.


What do you look forward to the most when you go back home?


My bed and my shower! In the springtime the snow can be really good in Colorado, so I try to take advantage of that and have some fun with my freeskiing. There’s also a really great movie theater called CineBistro in Vail, a sort of extravagant in-theater dining situation with a burger bar.




Behind the scenes footage and interview from the 2015 Ski Legends and VIP Snow Queen Trophy slalom races.




2016/2017 Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Trailer for those unfamiliar.




Highlights from the 2016/17 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season that you probably missed.





Previous related posts: photos-of-day-50th-fis-world-cup-skiing-anniversary

free-skiing-at-sljeme-begins-bears-ebel

photos-of-day-skiing-at-platak-ski-resort

ivica-kostelic-and-8-skiers-doing-nothing

photo-of-day-fis-world-cup-alpine-zagreb

ivica-kostelic-getting-married-bears-speaking-croatian

kostelic-honored-with-skier-of-year

ivica-kostelic-makes-it-into-history

6th-burn-carnival-snowboard-session-rijeka

kostelic-triumphs-in-wengen

kostelic-wins-wengen-super-combined

vip-zagreb-snow-queen-trophy-2010

ivica-kostelic-wins-slalom-in-wengen

zagrebsljeme-ready-for-vip-snow-queen

zagreb-snow-queen-trophy-at-sljeme

kostelic-wins-in-munich-at-parallel





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