Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sad in Vienna

I'm in Vienna for a few days of testing with SIEMENS Data Handling in preparation for ski racing's "Super Bowl" (Kitzbuehel) next week. I should be happy, but I'm not. The reason? I walked around Vienna today, perfectly comfortable, in shirtsleeves and jeans. It's been in the 50s for most of the winter in Vienna, and there is not one ski resort in Europe with decent snow.

I watched Wengen on ORF today, and it was just depressing. The racers were skiing through mud, and there was no snow anywhere other than the man-made, chemically enhanced slush on the course. You could see huge patches of rocks and mud even between the nets.

Kitzbuehel's Hahnenkamm-Rennen has been canceled due to warm weather four times since its inception in 1929. It may be canceled this year, but I doubt it. The town of 11,000 lives and dies on this race, roughly half the town are members of the Ski Club which puts on the race. They are all out there working night and day on the course.

The forecast is for more warm weather this week.

I've always thought Al Gore is full of shit 99% of the time, but it sure seems like he knows what he's talking about when it comes to Global Warming.

And just so I don't get through a post without a dig at either FIS or Swiss Timing (or both), the FIS blew it by not re-scheduling a whack of these warmth-canceled races (Val d'Isere, St Moritz, Chamonix) in North America. The Canadian Rockies are enjoying their best snow in decades, and the "blizzard-proof" Denver Airport has been closed three times in a month due to massive snow storms. The idiots at FIS could have brought the whole circus over to Vail or Snowbasin and made up 10 canceled races in a week.

I know these photos suck, I snapped them sitting in front of my TV here at the Penta in Vienna. But check out the rocks and mud right out on the course.