Kim Verde's World Cup Win
Photography: Kim Wagner
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“I knew I wasn’t the fastest racer,” Verde said. “I knew I needed to compete in more races to have a chance to win.”
Finishing enough races to qualify for a World Cup, she said, is harder than it looks. For instance, during the winter last year, she had to rent skis to race in Abetone, Italy, after a flight diverted in Salt Lake City and a snowstorm in Milan, Italy, separated her from her luggage for days. In addition, races are often cancelled due to bad weather. “All these masters had arrived and the road was closed,” Verde said of a scheduled race in Austria last year. Racers waited to ski the Kaunterthaler Glacier in Austria near the German border but lost that opportunity when the road became impassable. For another race, her flight to Italy was diverted and she missed the start time.
Mountains in winter are unpredictable, making races equally hard to predict. A certain amount of stamina is needed at all times. As an example, in Austria, at one of the largest training areas, Hintertux, racers reach the top by riding three gondolas to connect with the glacier.
Verde remained dedicated, and skied even in terrible foggy conditions on Limone Piemonte in an area known as the Alps of the Riviera.
“My goal was to be one, two or three in every race,” Verde said. “You can’t go any higher than FIS races.”
Doctors, lawyers and professionals are in her category. They choose their vacation time for races. Verde sponsors herself, and last winter devoted all her time and money to the competition. “When I first got home I was just exceedingly tired,” she said. “Now I feel some self-satisfaction for having trained and put up with bad weather, cancelled races—and ski lengths I’m not comfortable with that were enforced by the FIS. I went into it thinking I’ll give the seven series a try and see where I land.”
Verde said the win was a surprise and her trophy was one of the most beautiful she’d ever seen. “The trophy is a beautiful crystal ball, and there is a small snowball inside.” Verde said. “It’s almost like a kaleidoscope when you look into it.”
Verde said if she never wins another World Cup, she’ll have her one win in 2006. “This is a triumph for me,” Verde said.