Dr Ganong Travels to Tarvisio, Italy with the US Ski Team

Dr Ganong with the USST in ItalyAs the United States Ski Team (USST) doctor for the women's World Cup team in Tarvisio, Italy two weeks ago, I had the excitement of being with Lindsey Vonn as she eclipsed local legend, Tamara Mckinney’s record for the most World Cup wins by an American women. It is always enjoyable to be at the center of the World Cup scene and all of the hoopla! Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. My friends always ask about what a wonderful time I must be having so I thought it might be interesting to outline what the typical day entails.

Up at 6am. Quick breakfast, no matter what country it is, of granola, yogurt, fruit, several breads with butter, meat and cheese, and strong coffee. Then a last-minute check of the 50-pound emergency pack that I must carry everywhere, even on a powder run. Make sure I have my radio and it is on the correct frequency! Then my own equipment. By then I am pretty loaded down and hot. Help the girls load then van and "drive like a Euro" which is sometimes the most exciting part of the day. Park in an icy, cold spot and try to put on my sub-zero temperature boots without falling down and embarrassing myself.  Then up the lift while it is still a bit dark to inspect the course -- hope my edges are sharp! Cappuccino break and then get in position, standing on a steep icy, cold slope for several hours trying to make conversation with the German and Italian doctors and hoping that I am not needed. If needed, this involves skiing at break neck speed (for me) with the pack, clicking out of my skis and doing what I can.

Back to the hotel by 1 or 2 pm for a huge lunch. Then nap or a Nordic ski. Later, cleanup and attend the evening team meeting and dinner. Whew -- then too tired for much except bed, especially with jet lag for a few days.

Upon returning home the main adjustments are taming down my driving attitude and figuring out what to do for the next four mornings when I awaken at 4am!

All in all, it is a great experience and I forget about how much work it is by next June when it is time to sign up again.

- Rick Ganong