Saturday, March 3, 2012

Speed Trap!

Speed Trap! Those two little words bring fear to the hearts of BMW owners across the nation. Most people hear the words "speed trap" and immediately picture a highway patrol car complete with radar gun, hiding on the bushes or around the next corner, just waiting to tag the white Beemer that just tailgated you and then reached 90 before completing its pass. But at Mammoth, the words speed trap bring fear to one's heart for an entirely different reason. Once a year Mammoth ski team hosts the Footloose Speed Trap, a straight downhill race where results are recorded in miles per hour (your speed when you reach the bottom) rather than elapsed times. For kids who like to go fast, the chance to straight line a black diamond run is the stuff dreams are made of. But for nervous parents, it can be a nightmare.

Fortunately for me, I had no nightmares. Instead I spent a restless night asking "what if?". What if she falls? What if she breaks something? What if we have to cancel our trip? What if, what if, what if. But by morning I put on my supportive ski team parent face, and pretended not to worry. And when another J6 parent explained to us that the J6 kids start lower than the older kids and said his daughter was just hoping to break 40 mph, I stopped worrying.

But the first J6 boy clocked in at just over 59 mph. He was followed by a string of boys and girls whose speeds ranged between 50 to 56 mph. Then one of the J6 boys broke the 60 mph barrier, clocking in at just over 60 mph. I was just telling Jeff that I thought Jordan would be 60 mph too, when Sierra got on course. Pushing off with a few powerful skating strides, Sierra quickly got herself into a low tuck. When she reached the bottom the announcer called out her speed: 58.226 mph! The fastest girl so far.

Of course, Sierra's friend Jordan was yet to come, and when she did my prediction came true. Over 61 mph, the fastest J6 time, beating all the boys! As soon as she heard Jordan's time Sierra clicked out of her skies and ran up the hill to congratulate her, giving Jordan a hug that ended with Sierra, Jordan, and Jordan's mom in a dog pile on the snow. Sierra was so excited about Jordan getting first place that Sierra seemed completely oblivious to the fact that she herself had gotten second place!

I think it finally sunk in at the Awards Ceremony afterward, where U.S. Ski Team athlete Stacey Cook was on hand to sign posters and hand out awards.  Thanks Stacey!

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