Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo of the day: Cyclists downhill skiing

Maitre Jacques working on l'oeuf position.
Yesterday was an 'off day', but not a rest day.

Went downhill skiing at nearby Mt. Wachusett with my son, always a great day out.  I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they had enough snow to have most of the mountain open and ski-able- because we haven't had much this year. It wasn't so crowded either - just a 1-2 minute lift line for most of the day - not bad for a holiday weekend Saturday...

Out on the pistes, just when I'd get my turns linking nicely, and feeling like Henri Duvillard or Gustavo Thoeni (giant slalom stars from my generation baybay), some guy who could really carve fast would come blowing by me, bursting my balloon and exposing me for what I am - an aged road racing cyclist trying to pass himself off as an expert downhill skier.

Q:  What's the biggest lie in skiing.

A:  "Advanced Intermediate"

Koblet, Bobet, Kubler.  Skiing.  Back before
QR safety bindings existed.  

Not that impefection on planks has ever stopped roadies going downhill skiing from time to time.  Back in the early-to-mid sixties, St. Gervais in the French Alps was the winter gathering spot for the elite of professional cycling.   Anquetil had a house there, he was the ring-leader, despite the fact that based on this video his ski form was nowhere close up to his style on the bike contre la montre.

For fun, the Italian aperitif producer Martini used to sponsor an annual ski race there in the French Alps, with professional cyclists competing with journalists.  Check out the video of the 1965 edition here.   OK, they're not exactly Jean Claude Killy, but it looked like good fun, surely a day lubricated by some bottles of the sponsor's product.   The clip of a snowplowing Jean Robic (47 Tour winner) getting telescoped from behind is a slapstick classic
Jean Robic on skis.  Without the leather helmet.  




It wasn't all laughs though.   In the video, you can see then-world champion Tom Simpson smiling briefly... it must have been shot before he infamously broke his leg in a ski accident, ruining his earning prospects for a 1966 season when he'd hoped to cash-in on his rainbow jersey.

1 comment:

  1. Eddy,
    This post reminded me what I have in common with Maitre Jacques ...ski bindings we used.

    ReplyDelete