It has been noted by close observers of World Cup racing, by his coaches, and now, by the last American to win the overall ski racing title.
"Right now, Bode [Miller] does not even have a 50-50 chance of winning the title," said Phil Mahre, who copped the crown in 1983. "His opponent [Austrian Ben Raich] is on fire, and Bode is cold as ice."
Mahre told Ski Racing's Nate Vinton that Miller does not listen enough to the advice of others, and crashes too much in slalom, where he has had the least training this year.
Still, as the final eight races of the World Cup finals begin today in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, with the men's and women's downhill, Miller holds a 52-point lead over Raich -- all that remains of a 300-plus-point lead he built with one of the fastest starts in World Cup history.
Since winning races in all four disciplines in December, including one slalom, Miller has failed to finish another slalom, while Raich has showed steadiness throughout the season, especially in the technical events, and chipped away at Miller's huge lead.
"Miller still is the strong one," said Raich.
Last weekend, Miller, who was also leading in the super-G standings, placed fourth in a super-G that was won by Hermann Maier, allowing Maier to pass Miller in points, 424 to 370. The only way for Miller to take the discipline title back is to win the race, while Maier finishes worse than fourth.
With one race in each discipline, Raich's consistency -- especially scoring in the speed races, as he did last weekend -- could enable him to overtake Miller. "I have just a tiny lead over [Raich], so I know how I have to manage the rest of my races," said Miller.
After today's downhills, both men's and women's super-Gs will be run tomorrow, the women's slalom and men's GS Saturday, and the women's GS and men's slalom ending the Cup season Sunday.
With 538 points in downhill, Miller is also within striking distance of Austria's Michael Walchhofer, who has 631 points. Walchofer crashed in last week's Swiss downhill and picked up no points. . . .
In women's competition, Lindsey Kildow ranks fourth in the downhill with 384 points, 83 points behind the leader, Austria's Renate Goetschl. She is closer in super-G, holding third place with 346 points, just 47 behind Austria's Michela Dorfmeister.
In slalom, US skier Kristina Koznick stands in third place with 355 points. Finland's Tania Poutiainen already has clinched the title.