Seven years after Daron Rahlves retired from alpine ski racing, without any training or even skiing on downhill skis for more than a few runs since 2006, he decided to forerun the most gnarly downhill track in the world — the Hahnenkamm.

Late last month, Rahlves literally dusted off his old downhill boots from 2006, skied on some groomers to see how they felt in Tahoe, and started his journey back to the Streif. He went to the Atomic factory in Altenmarkt, Austria, where he showed up with his boots. “You’re not going to ski on those are you?” asked the Atomic boot serviceman, smirking, assuming Rahlves would be much better off on a new pair. “I’m already going on different skis,” Rahlves said to him. “I certainly don’t want to go on different boots, too.” I completely agree with his thought process there. You want to at least have something consistent. Even though the last time it was consistent was seven years ago.

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