Or so it used to be. Now Howard explains it all to you, including three key
spots to focus on while watching the SnowboarderX and SkierX Finals on
Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
On his building philosophy: "Being an athlete in this sport, I was never a
very good glider. I didn't grow up racing, and was always that guy in third
who needed more features to provide a chance to pass. That's how I build
these days. I always build and design looking at it for the guy in third.
Because that was always me."
On eliminating the piggyback: "Last year, I don't think anyone who had the
hole shot finished first. They got passed at some point. They were breaking
the wind, and everyone else was staying close and drafting. This year, we
tried to add features and tried to make it more condensed and tight, so
there's not a lot of time to hang back and draft."
It's not just about going fast: "At this level, speed change is important.
The better athlete is able to find a fast line, or be smoother, where
someone who is off just a little bit will be dramatically slower. So there
are a lot of parts of the course where the speed changes. From high speeds
into tight turns, or lippy takeoffs so there's more air, instead of low
On what to look as a viewer:
1. The start's always the most interesting, because it sets up the race.
The start to the first turn is going to be very interesting, and the hardest
part for me to watch. It's important to me that everyone get through the
2. My favorite feature is a triple that's right by the pump house. It's critical, because it's a blind feature that goes downhill and if you hit it just right it carries you through the next section, to the over/under figure eights. That's going to be really exciting to watch, just because it's a big option and literally is an over/under figure eight. You have to go right or you have to go left, and who knows what's going to happen there?
3. The finish. It's huge. A 75 foot jump, and some of the skiers are going 40 or 50 feet past the landing, and a good 30 feet in the air off the top of the table. It's sort of a last ditch effort to get to the finish line, and it's almost impossible for them not to go huge.