LINDSEY VONN WON’T GET TO SKI AGAINST MEN
Lindsey Vonn’s request to compete in a men’s World Cup downhill race at Lake Louise, Alberta, on November 24 has been rejected by the FIS. In a statement released this weekend, ski racing’s governing body “confirmed that one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.” FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis said, “It’s very clear. It’s called the men’s World Cup and the ladies’ World Cup. The men race the men’s World Cup and the ladies race the ladies’ World Cup. FIS and World Cup points are not transferrable from one circuit to another.” Vonn has earned nine of her 26 World Cup downhill victories in Lake Louise, which is often dubbed “Lake Lindsey” for her dominance there. Beyond the letdown for Vonn, others see it as narrow-minded: Alpine Canada president Max Gartner said he sees it as a missed opportunity to “attract interest from people who do not normally follow ski racing, particularly in North America.” Via Washington Post.
AN AWESOME HIMALAYAN CLIMBING FEAT, OBSCURED BY THE OLYMPICS
Brits Sandy Allan and his climbing partner Rick Allen are 57 and 59, respectively. And back in July, with Olympic fever in full pitch, they achieved what is arguably one of the most audacious feats in climbing in a few decades — and not many people took much notice. The pair, without food or water for three days, took on the summit of 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno Ridge, the largest in the Himalayas, all of it above 6,000 meters. They were on that ridge for two weeks, which itself requires vast technical skill to skirt up and down and up again. And only at the bitter end did they finally achieve what no climbers have ever done. Even with the most optimistic assumptions — planning for eight days’ food and fuel they calculated might last 10 — the climb would take 18 days with seven different camp and bivouac sites. Mark Synnott wrote in Climbing that the route’s inordinate length made it about as bold as any in the alpine world and that once they reached a certain point they simply couldn’t turn back. Via The Guardian.
TOO YOUNG TO RUN? OR TOO FAST TOO YOUNG?
Kaytlynn and Heather Welsch are 10 and 12 and they’re competing in 10Ks and half-marathons and triathlons — sometimes blowing away the whole field, others “merely” the other female runners. But questions are being raised: In two years Kaytlynn has competed in more than 90 endurance events. The two girls, still well short of five feet tall, often will race two events in a weekend. Rodney and Niki Welsch, their parents, say that the girls’ running is no different than other top-class kids in other sports: hockey, gymnastics, ballet, tennis, where talent is spotted young and parents mix cajoling with praise to help the kids reach their “potential.” In this long piece in the New York Times it’s hard not to feel unsettled by the harm that may be in store for the girls running so hard at such a young age, but it’s also not hard to see the analogies to other talents as apt. Via New York Times.
BLACK DIAMOND TO MOVE SKI MANUFACTURING IN-HOUSE
Black Diamond can’t go more than a few weeks without making another big business move: The company announced it will now produce all its skis under its own roof (though in China). The move means the company will have greater control over production and its brand than it does when it uses contractors to manufacture products. And like so many other brands learn the hard way, in China not having control over your own factory means all innovation is “open source,” whether you like it or not. BD founded Black Diamond Asia in 2006 and employs more than 200 employees in its China facilities. Approximately one-third of proprietary BD products are currently made in-house. Via Outdoor Industry Association.