Ski notebook

Vonn and Ligety are keeping up the beat

A two-win weekend
By Tony Chamberlain and T.D. Thornton
Globe Correspondents / December 23, 2010

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Despite her hiccup in the first run of Tuesday’s slalom, Lindsey Vonn’s season has started off pretty much as her gold-plated run finished last year, including Olympic and World Cup overall and discipline championships.

And her counterpart on the US men’s side, Ted Ligety blazed down the “crazy, crazy icy’’ giant slalom course in Italy Sunday to win his third straight World Cup GS.

Last weekend in Val D’Isere, France, Vonn topped the podium twice winning the downhill and super-combined on successive days, and taking an overall lead in the young Cup season.

In Europe, Vonn also got word that she had been awarded the 2010 Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. Earlier, she was named Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year.

Vonn said 2010 was “the best year I’ve ever had.’’

With all the titles and honors coming her way in 2010, the 26-year-old racer mused on a memory of being a 9-year old in Minnesota, whose passion for ski racing found her lining up for hours at ski shows just to meet a winning racer. One of them was then downhill champion Picabo Street, who became Vonn’s mentor and friend. In fact, Vonn still has a poster Street signed for her 15 years ago in a ski shop in Bloomington, Minn.

“This was for sure the best year I’ve ever had,’’ Vonn said via teleconference. “It couldn’t have gone any better for me, even if I had just won the Olympic gold medal. That would have made it the best year of my career and my life, period. Winning the World Cup races and overall title just topped the year off.

“But winning the Olympics, that was the biggest day. It was so emotional. It was everything I worked for, go to the gym for. I was crying the whole way through [the awards ceremony].’’

Ligety, an Olympic gold medalist (combined downhill) from the Turin Games, posted his seventh and eighth career World Cup wins at Alta Badia, Italy. His unseating French hopefuls Thomas Fanara and Cyprien Richard, who made such blistering runs down the GS course, seemed a tall order, and their second-run times were standing up well.

But Ligety, whose heavy physical training helps him carve turns on icy courses, put down a nearly perfect second run to beat Richard by a slim 15/100ths of a second.

“This is a dream come true,’’ Ligety said in the finish corral. “Especially [winning] three in a row. I just feel really lucky to have won because Cyprien was the best skier. He made the mistake and I just got lucky in that sense.”

Such a deal Skiers looking for bargain lift-ticket prices should also be rooting hard for the Patriots defense. At Waterville Valley, a promotion based on how many points the Patriots give up during a game is the basis for what next Tuesday’s ticket price will be.

“For example, the Packers scored 27 points on Sunday, so that was Tuesday’s ticket price, $27,’’ said Waterville’s Tom Gross. “If they just give up 3 points, that’s what the Tuesday ticket price will be.”

The promotion continues throughout the playoffs, except for next Tuesday, which falls during a vacation week.

Price is right The three parcels of land up for auction Dec. 15 at defunct Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, N.H., fetched $850,000, with the ski area selling for $500,000. The sole bidder, the general counsel for Iroquois Capital, once a Tenney investor, indicated the resort would be put up for resale so that Iroquois could recoup previous losses on investments. Prior to the auction, Tenney was on the hook for $170,000 in back taxes . . . According to Ski Area Management magazine, the owners of Bolton Valley in Vermont are seeking either an equity partner for future development or an outright sale of the resort . . . Cannon’s 70-passenger aerial tramway, which has had its use curtailed in recent seasons during non-peak periods, is scheduled to open tomorrow.

A wrap party If you get stuck with a lousy holiday gift, Gunstock is having a “re-gift’’ promotion on Sunday. Bring a wrapped or re-wrapped gift to the mountain and exchange it for another between 9 a.m. and noon (extra gifts at the end of the day will be donated to charity) . . . A number of resorts will feature torchlight parades and fireworks during the holiday week, but Okemo is offering a free guided snowshoe tour in conjunction with Sunday’s pyrotechnics. Meet inside the Okemo Express Rental Shop at the main base lodge at 6 p.m. to be fitted for snowshoes (or bring your own). The tour departs from South Ridge Quad at 7 p.m . . . Blue Hills has a telemark and snowshoe demo day Sunday . . . No need to take a break from learning during school vacation: Wachusett Mountain will offer “Science on the Slopes’’ nature programs Dec. 28 and 30 . . . Crotched Mountain, which bills itself as having the latest operating hours in the East, will fire up its first Midnight Madness (9 p.m.-3 a.m.) session of the season Jan. 1, and will continue with late-night Friday and Saturday slopeside bonfires and concerts through Feb. 26 . . . College Fest activities at Black Mountain include $15 discounted lift tickets to anyone who flashes a valid student ID Jan. 3-7 and 10-14.

Worth the wait Burke Mountain has instituted a no-wait policy that awards a $10 voucher toward your next lift ticket if you have to stand more than five minutes in any lift line . . . Attitash and Wildcat, once rival neighbors but now under joint ownership, keep expanding their comingled ticket offerings. Single-day tickets are now interchangeable between resorts, meaning you can buy a ticket at Attitash, ski as long as you’d like, then drive the 17 miles to Wildcat to take a few runs there (or the other way around) . . . You can now rent and take lessons on a Snowbike at Pats Peak. The device features a seat and swivel handlebars mounted to a pair of front and rear short skis. Packages start at $26 . . . King Pine now features an all-activity policy, meaning your Alpine lift ticket is also valid for same-day use on cross-country and snowshoe trails.