Friday, March 19, 2010

Face of the Day - Lisa Wambold

When Murray's work commitments meant he couldn't ski with me for some key races, he suggested his then-girlfriend-now-wife Lisa Wambold would make a good replacement. Murray thought she would be plenty fast for me and I was desperate for anyone who was willing to guide so I was definitely down with skiing with her, but she wasn't sure she could do it. It took some serious cajoling on both my and Murray's parts to talk her into it - in fact, I told her that I didn't care if she was slower than me, that I just needed to show up at the races to be considered for team selection. So the two of us started skiing together and of course she was absolutely fast enough for me! We hit it off right away both on and off the snow, which made things even more fun. Plus, because she had been skiing with Murray for a year or so, she was darn good technically too and she was more than happy to share what she had learned with me.

I skied the second half of the 2006-07 and all of the 2007-08 season with Lisa and over that time, we shared a lot of laughs. She is the only guide I have ever had who joyfully shouts out "Whoo hoo!" whenever we got going on a fast downhill! One of the funniest things that ever happened with Lisa and I took place during a World Cup race at Mount Washington in 2007. Part of the course had a fast downhill that swung to the left at the bottom. You couldn't see around the corner until you actually got to the bottom, but during the race, I was gliding better than Lisa and stepped out of the tracks so I could go beside her. When we got to the bottom and came screaming around the left hand turn, there was another skier right there! With Lisa on my right and this skier to my left, I had nowhere to go, but right between them! I swear I only had inches! What made that so funny though was Lisa telling me after the race that that skier just happened to be an amputee who was missing her right arm. "If she had had an arm, you would have taken her out for sure!" We both had to laugh at how close we had come to what likely would have been one of our more spectacular wipeouts!

Speaking of wipeouts, Lisa is the only guide who I've crashed into. And yes, it is a good thing this season is over as I write this because I keep telling Andrea there is no possible way I would ever hit her!. In my defense, conditions were really icy and it was at the bottom of a hill with a 90 degree turn that no one was getting around. It was so icy that Lisa couldn't get any edges and she literally slid right in front of me and wham! I took her out. Luckily neither of us were injured and we both could laugh about it.

At Nationals in 2008, Lisa found out she was pregnant. On one hand I was so happy for her because I knew this was something she really wanted. But on the other hand, I was really disappointed that our skiing together competitively was at an end. We'd had so many good times and good races that I was sorry to see her go and was worried the only thing keeping us as friends was the skiing. Luckily, my worries were unfounded as Lisa and I still keep in touch even today. In fact, we even got in a ski together this past winter up at Nickel Plate and it was like we'd been skiing together all winter. - whoo hoos included! So thank you Lisa for everything! I can't put into words how much I enjoyed having you as a guide and I enjoy so much to see the joy and love on your face every time you look at your beautiful daughter Anna. I look forward to many more years of friendship and watching Anna grow up.

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