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Ski notebook

Inspired Vonn gains revenge on Riesch

Lindsey Vonn flashes her winning smile after winning the super-G World Cup race Sunday. Lindsey Vonn flashes her winning smile after winning the super-G World Cup race Sunday. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
By Tony Chamberlain and T.D. Thornton
Globe Correspondents / December 9, 2010

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If anyone wonders where Lindsey Vonn’s inspiration comes from, at least part of the answer lies with her friend and closest rival on the slopes, Maria Riesch from Germany.

Last weekend at Lake Louise in British Columbia, Vonn watched as Riesch won two World Cup races to take the overall points lead. In the downhill, Vonn nearly slipped off course, but made a miraculous recovery to save herself and finish second. But Riesch stepped to the top of the podium, just like the day before.

So in Sunday’s super-G, on a hill where she has won 13 World Cup podiums, Vonn said she had more than a little fire in her belly to beat her rival. Riesch skied before her, and by the time Vonn got on course, she gained on the German at every split time, cruising into first.

“I really wanted to close out this weekend and leave on a positive note,’’ Vonn said. “In the downhill I skied well, but made that mistake. So I’m just ecstatic. I was a little worried, but I skied with aggression and passion. So I feel great about winning this one.’’

Meanwhile, in the men’s World Cup at Beaver Creek in Colorado, US skiers came up empty in the first two races.

But again, in Sunday’s giant slalom, Ted Ligety turned in a pair of spectacular runs to win his sixth World Cup race by a whopping .82 seconds to beat Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud and a pair of young Austrians.

Like Vonn, Ligety gained time over his rivals at every split and said the race became a go-for-broke dash down one of the steepest, most challenging courses on the circuit.

“I was pretty nervous in both runs,’’ said Ligety after the second run. “I knew I had to go for it, so I wasn’t conservative. I took a lot of risks. Rarely have I been this tired at the bottom, but I knew I couldn’t let up. I was really psyched to see that green light when I came through the finish.’’

Holiday gift ideas Here’s the front-runner for this season’s outlandish ski-related holiday gift: Global-positioning goggles with a tiny built-in monitor that allows you to view a digital dashboard of speed, altitude, location, and other real-time metrics. Priced at $500 for the most advanced model, the Transcend GPS optical goggle melds science fiction with snow sports, and comes with computer software that lets you map, replay, and upload your on-slope experiences to friends via social networking . . . At a substantially lower price point, high-tech gloves with specially designed conductive fingertips for use with electronic touch-screen devices are debuting this season. Fivepoint gloves allow users to type, touch, and tap without removing gloves in cold weather, because the tips of the digits allow electrical charges to be transmitted freely (in contrast to conventional gloves, where material acts as a barrier). Fivepoints retail for $39 when ordered online via their British manufacturer, but expect copycat versions to be available stateside before the end of winter.

Groupon eyes ski market Keep an eye out for online discount e-tailer Groupon to emerge as a significant source for limited-time lift ticket deals this season. According to the industry trade magazine Ski Area Management, Burke Mountain in Vermont was featured as a “daily deal’’ in the Boston area on Nov. 30, and sold a whopping 600 vouchers good for full- or half-day skiing at deeply discounted prices. The “tipping point’’ for activating the deal was 100 tickets, and a Burke official was quoted as saying the promotion far exceeded the resort’s goal of selling 300 units.

Deals and specials Sugarloaf has a slew of top manufacturers lined up for this weekend’s demo days [Dec. 11-12]. Equipment will be loaned out starting at 9 a.m. both days, and the $5 fee to sign up is refunded if you buy skis or equipment . . . If you’re planning at least a five-day stay somewhere in New England this winter, The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel in Colebrook, N.H., has a $149 per person/per night package that includes five lift tickets, rentals, lessons, accommodations, breakfasts, and dinners . . . Families of four get a decent deal at Black Mountain: Lift tickets for two adults and two juniors are $99 on non-holiday weekdays; the same deal is $119 on weekends . . . “Holiday 2 Packs’’ that let you buy advance tickets at two New Hampshire ski areas at a $10 to $17 discount are being sold by Ski NH through Dec. 22. Tickets are transferable and there are no blackout dates, but purchases must be made via phone, at 800-887-5464 . . . Nashoba Valley has an online holiday promotion offering a bonus of $10 in additional gift cards for every $50 gift card purchased . . . After the December holiday vacation crush is over, select Vermont ski resorts and Nordic centers are hoping to entice newcomers to the slopes and trails with a weeklong offer of free skiing for first-timers. Packages include a beginner lift ticket or trail pass, a beginner lesson, and rental equipment. Preregistration is required at skivermont.com.