Ski season is here and the alpine World Cup kicks off next weekend in Solden, Austria. I love these “gap” years where the biggest prizes up for grabs are “just” the world cup globes. No Olympics or World Championships, no big event distractions, just individual podiums and overall titles.

I’m especially fired up to follow Warner Nickerson and Jon Ollsen. Their stories are too long to go into here but they are compelling in and of themselves. Jon is a Swedish freestyle legend on his own unique mission to qualify for Sweden’s Olympic team in 2014 (he made an ill considered bet during a long night of drinking a few years back). Warner has been chasing his dreams for longer than anyone expected and doing so with the moral support (kinda) but not the financial support of the US Ski Team.

Elite level ski racing is impossible to do without a team. The logistical demands are huge in the big picture and in the day to day. There is even a high degree of teamwork between different national teams. Ski racing may be an “individual” sport but there is more teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration going on than there is in most “team” sports.

Jon and Warner call themselves “Team No Team” and they are informally sharing resources and working together. This isn’t a feel good story (Warner) or a big joke (Jon); they are both the real deal. They are both racing at Solden next weekend.  I can’t wait.

See you in class.

Ben Roberts