VAIL, Colo. - Lindsay Vonn, America's skiing superstar, has garnered fame and acclaim, medals and trophies and a considerable income by racing down snow-covered courses faster than just about anyone else. She blazes through the finish line, hefts her skis overhead and flashes her covergirl smile.
On the afternoon of November 16, Vonn was heading east from her Vail home to Denver for a VIP showing of Warren Miller Entertainment's new ski flick, Wintervention, but ski star or not, she was stuck in like everyone else who trying to drive across the Colorado high country when a snowstorm settled in.
It dumped as much as two feet on Colorado's Central mountains, challenging Colorado Department of Transportation crews to keep up with the plowing and avalanche control work . In the end, CDOT shut down more than 60 miles of Interstate 70 between East Vail and Idaho Springs for up to five hours.
The VIPs were on one side of the highway closure. Vonn was on the other. She phoned in to the Paramount Theatre, where the showing took place. The Warren Miller showsters held the handset in front of the microphone. Vonn's words were smothered in an electronic garble. It was the rare defeat for the country's number one ski champ.