In the event you aren't psyched about this weekend's Super Bowl (who's playing again? right, not the Pats), let me provide you a super sports roster - hopefully worth its weight in Gold. The US Alpine Ski Team heading to Sochi looks solid, even without Lindsey Vonn - the most decorated alpine racer in American history, who bowed out earlier this month and has since had knee surgery.
Let's start with our New Hampshire native and Sugarloaf CVA grad Bode Miller. At 36, Miller is the senior member of the 20 athlete alpine ski team, and the most winning skier on the men's team with five Olympic medals, in five Olympic appearances. Other US alpine ski racers with Olympic gold include Ted Ligety in Combined and Julia Mancuso in GS.
For New England athletes, two New Hampshire girls, Leanne Smith of North Conway and Julia Ford of Holderness are going to Sochi. This is Smith's 2nd Olympics, she placed 19th in Super G and 21st in Combined at Vancouver. Ford is a first time Olympian, she was US downhill champion in 2011 and 2012. From Vermont's Burke Mountain Academy and Dartmouth ski team, Nolan Kasper represents the men's side in slalom.
Our U.S. alpine ski team won a record eight medals at Vancouver in 2010 and raced well at Rosa Khutor's World Cup last February, so its game on. The Iron Curtain is up around the Sochi venues, and 50,000 police and special agents are on hand to protect the 3,000 athletes competing in this most expensive Olympics in history, estimated at $50 billion. Here's hoping for a speedy, successful, safe Olympics for our alpine racers.
Russia's first Alpine Olympic event is the Men's Downhill on Feb. 9. 2014, Sunday following that football game in New Jersey. Looking forward to the halftime show with Bruno Mars since Brady and the boys from New England won't be playing, then my sights are on Sochi. Go Team USA.
Here is the US Alpine Ski Team Roster, with * to indicate skiers that competed in past Olympics, and The 2014 Sochi Olympic Schedule of Events.
Men's Alpine Ski Team
David Chodounsky, Crested Butte, CO (6/25/84)
Erik Fisher, Middleton, ID (3/21/85) *
Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley, CA (7/14/88)
Jared Goldberg, Holladay, UT (6/15/91)
Tim Jitloff, Reno, NV (1/11/85) *
Nolan Kasper, Warren, VT (3/27/89) *
Ted Ligety, Park City, UT (8/31/84) *
Bode Miller, Franconia, NH (10/12/77) *
Steven Nyman, Sundance, UT (2/12/82) *
Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA (4/27/80) *
Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY (2/10/86) *
Women's Alpine Ski Team
Stacey Cook, Mammoth Mountain, CA (7/3/84) *
Julia Ford, Holderness, NH (3/30/90)
Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA (3/9/84) *
Megan McJames, Park City, UT (9/24/87) *
Laurenne Ross, Bend, OR (8/17/88)
Mikaela Shiffrin, Eagle-Vail, CO (3/13/95)
Leanne Smith, North Conway, NH (5/28/87) *
Resi Stiegler, Jackson Hole, WY (11/14/85) *
Jacqueline Wiles, Aurora, OR (7/13/92)
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.