Ten more years for Vonn? Head thinks so.

Thirty-six percent of the ski racing stars Head introduced at its pre-season press conference at Soelden, Austria Thursday (Oct. 25), were Americans. That is not an accident according to Head boss Johan Eliasch.

Does it speak to the strength of the US team, we asked? “It does,” Eliasch responds. “We don’t select our athletes by nationality. We pick them by personality and performance.”

There can be little argument the US contingent, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and now Julia Mancuso, fulfill Head’s requirements. And we learned a few things from them at the event. Mancuso noted with the mandated changes to skis, she figured it was a good time to make a switch. Ligety refused to get drawn into a war of words by predicting success, and said, “As long as it (the surface) is not too soft, or (the course set) crazy turney,” the new dimension skis are, “actually, pretty good.”

The freshly married Bode Miller allowed that wedded bliss might help him with “growing up,” and revealed he has no set time table for a return to racing after off-season surgery. He has done some skiing while in Soelden, but he was scheduled to leave before the racing started, on hand to fulfill obligations to sponsors Head and Soelden.

It was Lindsey Vonn who had the paparazzi cameras whirling most. Yes, she said, she was serious about racing against the men. And yes, she might consider racing the Hahnenkamm course at Kitzbuehel, but not until the end of her career. “At some point, at the end of my career, when I don’t care if I hurt myself, then maybe I could ski Kitzbuehel,” she said. “I don’t think I’d do very well.”

Which begged the question, asked by moderator Marco Buechel, how long a career is she planning?

“For sure through 2015 and my hometown championships,” she said. “I was thinking maybe I could go to Pyongchang,” a reference to the Korean site of the 2018 Winter Games.

One thing for sure, she will still be skiing on Head if her career stretches that far (she would be 33 years of age). “I am happy to announce I am now with Head for another ten years.”

To be fair, the whole of the Head squadron of racers (they are referring to them as World Cup Rebels) wasn’t on stage, so Americans don’t truely represent 36percent. On stage were Anna Fenninger, Kjetil Jansrud, Marcel Mathis, Aksel Lund Svindal, Elisabeth Goergl, Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Head newcomer Beat Feuz who has clearly taken aim at winning the overall World Cup title he missed by 25 points.

Gepa photo



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