For that trip, the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games (SLOC) asked me to go to the 2001 Alpine World Championships in St. Anton to observe logistics for the event, including weather. I had already done this at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, so I initially begged off, but they were persistent. After reading a quote about St. Anton being one of the best ski expert ski areas in Europe with a hedonistic nightlife, I figured I would go.
The trip started out on a low note as I injured my knee skiing the day prior to our departure and could barely walk on the plane or the first couple of days we were in Zurich meeting with MeteoSwiss (the Swiss National Weather Service). Our first day in St. Anton, which was bluebird with deep powder, did not have any official activities planned. I ended up working and meeting with the meteorological support team for the world championships while the others skied.
Subsequent days I was feeling better and got up on the courses and learned about the logistics and weather impacts. This was a "tough assignment" involving skiing, watching races, and having a former U.S. ski team coach give you a colorful play-by-play of the events as they unfold.
On the morning of the Men's Super-G, we had pretty much learned all we could and decided to get up early and check out Lech, one of the ski areas in the Arlberg. We got on the lift with an Austrian Ski Instructor who asked us who the big American was. We said, "Daron Rahlves". He replied, "Never heard of him."
The skiing was terrible. It was foggy and the snow was subpar. We decided we should go back and check out the Super-G, which turned out to be a great decision. When Rahlves left the start house, Austrians were in first (Stephan Eberharter) and second (Hermann Maier) and positioned for a huge win on home snow.
Rahlves crossed the finish line with the best time by 8 one-hundredths of a second, resulting in two Americans jumping up and down and screaming "Never Heard of Him." It's worth a look at the Eurosport coverage of the race.