Stahler: Obturator foramen, T-Race, phlanges, free skiing without
judges, syndesmoses, and the quest for the tele-racing top of the
world. Descender talks with rad racer, Lori Stahler.
did you go freeheel?
I got started tele skiing in 1993 when a friend of mine took me
out on lace- up leather boots and a pair of very skinny skis called
Swallows. I picked it up pretty quickly on the groomers, but I remember
having trouble in any crud or pow, which wasn't a surprise since
I had trouble skiing crud and pow on my alpine skis. I was used
to skiing ice in the east.
D: Where is
your favorite place to ride?
LS: My favorite
place to ski is Alta, although I usually ski at Snowbird. I have
a pass there. When I have time after my racing season, I like to
go south to Elk Meadows where there is some great backcountry with
no one to bother you.
D: Any tricks
in your bag?
LS: The one
trick in my bag is yoga. I either go to classes at my gym or I have
a video at my house. When I do yoga before I go out skiing, I get
on my skis and feel so centered and on top of my skis it's amazing.
D: Why did you
LS: I got into
racing because I used to alpine race. One day, when I was first
learning to tele, I skied by some US Tele Team members training
gates. They let me jump in with them... I had such a blast! It was
like an entirely new sport. The next season I bought some better
boots, Arkos, from one of the racers, and went to my first tele
race at the Utah Winter Games and did very well. Then I went to
my first US Nationals and placed 3rd in the Classic Terrain race,
which was a huge surprise to everyone. From that day on, I was hooked.
D: How has your
race season been going?
LS: My season
was OK, but not great. I won the first four races that we had in
the Wasatch at Snowbird, which were part of the Utah Winter Games
and were also Western Regionals. I also won the 20th annual Groundhogs
Day race at Alta. I injured my knee during the second World Cup
race at Big Mt. Montana, but I continued to race on it so that I
could finish up the season without being penalized. My best finish
in the World Cup races was 9th and at Nationals I placed 1st in
the Classic Terrain race and also had two 2nd's and a third. I think
I could have done a little better if I had been completely healthy.
D: Racing or
LS: Right now
I only race. I do not compete in freeriding events. I don't think
I want people judging the way I freeski. When I am freeskiing, I
want to be freesking. If I were being judged, I wouldn't feel like
I was freeskiing. Maybe when I'm done racing I may change my mind.
Although, I have been a judge at a few tele freeskiing competitions
and it is kind of nice being on the other side for a change.
D: How does
it feel to be ranked as one of the top women skiers in the world?
LS: I don't
think that I can accept the title of being one of the top ranked
women tele racers in the world, maybe in the country. To be ranked
as one of the top racers in the world, I would have to travel to
all 15 World Cup tele races throughout the entire winter. This year
I only made it to 5 and only completed 3, which realistically will
not allow me to be ranked anywhere close to the top. If I had the
time and money to be able to travel to Europe and Scandinavia for
all the other World Cup races I think I could be ranked in the top
15 in the world. I am ranked 2nd in the United States but it would
be nice if we had more female tele racers out there.
D: Along with
being a ripping racer you're a Massage Therapist (LMP). How can
massage help with teleskiing?
LS: I think
that massage can improve performance a lot. Massage allows the blood
to re-circulate and moves the lactic acid and other toxins out of
the muscles, which allows your muscles to recover faster. But you
must remember that these toxins move out of your muscles and into
your blood stream so it is important to drink plenty of water to
flush the toxins out of your body. If you don't do this, you may
get sick. Having massage work regularly helps us to ski and train
harder and more often because your muscles will work more efficiently.
It is very important to stretch your quads and gluteus as well as
your hamstrings. It would be hard for me to explain all of these
stretches in writing, but even more important would be to stretch
your ILIOTIBIAL BAND or IT band. This is an area most people don't
even know about. When I work this area during a massage most people
are amazed at how sore or tender it is and asked what muscle it
is. Well, it's actually a long band of fascia on the lateral (outside)
surface of the thigh. You could say it separates the quad muscles
from the hamstrings. The IT band attaches to the tensor fascia lata
muscle up by your hip and your gluteus maximus muscles, which I
think everybody knows about. The other end of the IT band attaches
to your tibia. Keeping this band stretched along with your quads,
hams, and gluteus will help the legs to feel better!
D: What gear
do you use? To race and freeride?
LS: I ski on
Elan alpine skis. I race on one of their stiffer skis, the PSX,
and I freeski on a wider and softer pair, the Spitfire and the Nomad.
I use Voile bindings. On my race skis, I have the Voile releasable
with a three pin and a 30mm riser from the top of the ski. On my
freeskis, I have a Voile three pin cable with an Alta shim (20mm),
without a releasable. It's an FIS rule to have a releasable binding
when racing in any FIS race, but I like to go with a little less
weight for freeskiing. I use the Scarpa T-Race boot from Black Diamond.
They are quite stiff and very powerful and energetic. This year
the T-1 and T-Race are quite different from last year's model. They've
really come a long way!
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