Picabo Street Ready, but Weather's Not
Warm Air vs. Hot Skier
Picabo Street Picabo Street
Thursday, December 11, 1997

World champion and Olympic silver medalist Picabo Street was ready to return to the World Cup ski circuit today for a women's super G in Val d'Isere, France, but rain forced a cancellation. The race is rescheduled for Saturday.

Street has been training individually at Colorado's Copper Mountain and Vail after deciding not to enter the Lake Louise or Mammoth World Cup races so she could gain more on-snow days to "catch up" with the rest of the US Ski team in preparation for the race of all time — the '98 Olympics.

It is just over a year since the 25-year-old World Downhill Champion's Dec. 6, 1996, fall on Pepi's Face at Vail, CO. Leading the timed practice run, Street sat back coming onto the steep, final pitch of the 2.6km course and lost her balance in the air. She tumbled 200 feet before smashing into the retaining fence.

Along with extensive damage to cartilage and several ligaments in her left knee, her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) was completely severed. A common skiing injury, the ACL is torn when the lower leg is suddenly forced forward while the knee is bent -- as when a skier's weight is too far back while the ski and boot are propelled forward by momentum or a jump landed off-balance.

"I can't thank the race crews at Copper Mountain and Vail enough for providing me with an opportunity for private training the past few weeks," said Street, who flew to France Sunday. "It was tough to see my teammates head out for the World Cup last month without me, but I needed some more time," she said. "I feel I made some good progress the last two weeks. My knee is feeling stronger."

Herwig Demschar, the US Ski Team's head women's coach, set up the two-week, private training program to give Street some needed additional on-snow time after the conclusion of the team's final training camp at Beaver Creek last month.

"I'm happy with Picabo's progress," said Demschar.

Street is also planning to compete in a Dec. 19-20 downhill and super G in Veysonnaz, Switzerland before returning to the U.S. for the holidays. The Dec.30-Jan.3 Chevy Truck US Ski Team Gold Cup in Lake Placid, NY, will determine which athletes will make up the US Olympic Ski Team.

Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

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