Ski Racing in Downtown Moscow!?

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on January 2, 2009 11:00 am

Times have most certainly changed!  In the past, stuff was trucked (exiled) to Siberia. But, this is 2009, and now stuff is being trucked from Siberia, as in 140,000 cubic feet of snow.  Fourteen of the top Alpine World Cup Athletes competed Friday on a specially constructed ramp covered in Siberian snow in the middle of Moscow.  This was a visual spectacle and to add to the excitement, the race eschewed the normal one racer following the next, in favor of the more exciting dual format.  Germany’s Felix Neurether beat Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Grange in the final.  A pair of Americans competed in the small final, with Bode Miller edging Ted Ligety to finish third.

Over 25,000 rowdy Russians attended the event, with techno blaring and fireworks blasting.  The race was a promotion to tout the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi.  The athletes had lunch with Vladimir Putin before the event, flew on his private jet for a leisurely day of skiing at Sochi on Saturday, and will again take the chiseled leader‘s jet to the next World Cup event in Zagreb, Croatia. The life of a ski racer has never been so decadent.  "It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you just have to take advantage of," said Ligety. "Putin seemed really down-to-earth and is super into skiing. It was cool just for him to take time out of his schedule to hang out with us and now we get to fly on the Russian equivalent to Air Force One. It’s safe to say that this stuff doesn’t happen everyday. I feel pretty fortunate."

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