In the beginning of March the World Cup Tour came to Squaw Valley to see the planet’s finest women ski racers compete in the final event before the World Finals in Aspen.
This was the first time a World Cup race was held in Squaw since 1964; the expectations were high, and I can proudly say that on all fronts, Squaw did not disappoint.
Shooting for the United States Ski Association, I went through the mandatory briefing, got my coveted race credentials, and inspected the race course, searching for what I thought would be “the gate.” Once I chose my angle and got the sign-off from the course camera chief I was locked in and could not move. Nothing like trying to predict where the magic was going to happen…
The course was burly. The amazing Squaw race crew worked their butts off spending weeks to deliver a world-class stage, and they succeeded. Equipped with a Nikon D5, a 200-400mm lens, and crampons to navigate the bullet proof run, I shot both runs of the Giant Slalom on Friday and the Slalom on Saturday. The power and balance these beautiful women showcased blew me away.
In true Squaw form, both days of racing covered the full spectrum of conditions. The weather shifted from dull flat icy cold light all the way to our classic California blue sky warm sticky sun. The steep course was daunting and proved to be extremely challenging for the racers; many DNF’d (Did Not Finish).
In the end it was our very own Mikaela Shiffrin who stole the show. In front of record crowds, she threw down four amazing runs and not only walked away with the gold in both races, but captured the overall World Cup in the Slalom.
All in all, this was a proud moment for all of us who call this mountain home. After decades of silence on the competitive world ski racing stage, Squaw once again strutted its stuff.