Taking it easy
Twenty-year-old Ski Club Vail alum Lindsey Kildow is quickly becoming the best alpine racing American woman since Picabo Street.A handful of podium finishes places her second in super-G and third in downhill in the overall World Cup rankings with only two weeks to go until the start of the world championships in Bormio, Italy on Jan. 30.Kildow finished better than any American female skier at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics (sixth in the Combined event), and marked an impressive second year on the World Cup circuit in 2003-2004.She has been steadily improving ever since.Her consistency, as much as her prowess, has been remarkable for a skier of her age. Her relaxed, Colorado-style attitude may be her secret Kildow meditates to calm herself the night before each race.In regards to her breakout season, Kildow quietly acknowledged, during a tele-conference Jan. 18, that she earned it.”The only surprise (this season) was the first race that I won in Lake Louise.” After the win, Kildow said, “millions,” of people tried to get a hold of her.Unlike some of her teammates (Bode Miller, for example) Kildow welcomes attention from ski fans and the press.”I don’t mind (the press) at all. I kind of like it. Anything that will help me with my career and getting sponsors is never really a burden for me,” she said.Lindsey started skiing in Minnesota but moved to Vail when she was nine-years-old, where her skills matured. She still describes herself as a “Mid-West girl,” but calls Vail her home.With all the great skiing, how could she not?”I think the Mushroom Bowl was my favorite place to go,” she said. “The Ski Club Vail coaches took me there a few times and it was lots of fun. I don’t think I have ever had better snow conditions than in Vail,” says Kildow.Kildow has traveled a long way from Vail, however, in just a few seasons as a professional racer. and this season she has become an international superstar. Ski-crazy European fans often recognize her at airports, she said.And, as for the rest of the women’s World Cup field? They have now taken note that the young woman from Vail, Lindsey Kildow, is one to be watched.Her ultimate test, many speculate, will come at the FIS World Championships in Bormio, Italy, Jan. 28 Feb. 13.Although the event could be her first chance at skiing super-stardom, Kildow is staying calm.”I try to be relaxed about it and look at it as a good opportunity for me and not as all this pressure,” she said.If she maintains the consistency that has brought her success so far, Kildow should have nothing to worry about.Chris Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .