Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Lindsey Vonn skis out her run after not finishing the women's giant slalom skiing event during the U.S. Alpine Championships Saturday, March 31, 2012, in Winter Park, Colo. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart)
Vonn at peace after trying yet another stellar season

First Published Mar 31 2012 02:26 pm • Last Updated Apr 01 2012 12:39 am

WINTER PARK, Colo. • Lindsey Vonn leisurely glided down the outer edge of the sun-toasted course rather than through the gates.

And the clock which had been tracking her progress had long since stopped — a big "did not finish" appearing in its place on the scoreboard.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Olympic gold medalist missed a gate early in her run at the U.S. championships on Saturday as her aching knees were unable to withstand the bumps on the rutted hill.

She’s been in persistent pain this season, something she’s kept hidden but was so aggravating that she’s scheduled to undergo an MRI exam on Monday.

That ache she could conceal. The one in her heart, well, it was on display for the world to see.

Back in November, Vonn kicked off the World Cup circuit on rough footing after separating from Thomas Vonn, her husband of four years.

"My world, to some extent, felt like it was crashing down around me," Vonn said. "I didn’t think I’d be able to stay focused and ski fast."

Oh, but she did.

For Vonn, the slopes have always been her sanctuary, the place where nothing bothers or distracts her. She can tune everything out and concentrate on the thing she does so well — ski fast. Vonn recaptured the overall title by amassing 1,980 points, the best season ever by a female skier.

Along the way, she also repaired the relationship with her father, Alan Kildow, and re-established bonds with teammates such as Julia Mancuso.

story continues below
story continues below

She found what’s been missing for quite some time — inner peace.

"I was skiing for me," said Vonn, who will compete next season again as Vonn, instead of returning to her maiden name of Kildow. "This was the first season I really realized that I’m the one in the starting gate and I’m the one that’s actually racing. That gave me a lot of confidence."

Her father noticed the difference, too.

From thousands of miles away in Minnesota, Kildow watched his daughter charge down the slopes in Europe with a sense of purpose. She had a go-for-broke attitude, an unwillingness to settle for anything less than first.

Before, maybe Vonn would be content with a podium finish. Not anymore. Now, it’s pedal to the floor at all times.

"The joy of skiing — that’s what we saw this year," her father told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "The joy of skiing again. That’s great to see."

Kildow introduced his daughter to skiing and even moved the family to Colorado to develop that skill.

But they had a falling out a few years ago, the tension stemming in part from Vonn’s relationship with Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic skier who is nearly nine years older.

That’s in the past. The father and daughter are focused on reconnecting.

Kildow ventured out to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in February and had a front-row seat as Vonn captured her 50th race.

Very few skiers have reached such a distinguished milestone. Among the women, only Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria (62) and Vreni Schneider of Switzerland (55) are ahead of Vonn. On the men’s said, just three men have 50 or more: Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden (86), Hermann Maier of Austria (54) and Alberto Tomba of Italy (50).

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.