During the 1800’s the mining towns in the Western mountains created a contest on skis,” speed skiing” was created. This was many years before F.I.S. rules and regulations. These miners would compete over doping (wax) and prize money, fastest and first down wins. Fast forward to today and that event is still being held with innovation and technology taking center stage.
Several of alpine ski racing events are recent creations. Speed Skiing is the mother/father of alpine racing and is still going strong. Among the strongest, toughest, fastest and most decorated is Tracie Max Sachs.
At age three, Tracie was enrolled in the Hunter Mt. Racing Team where she competed in slalom and G.S. races. In the late 1990’s Hunter Mt. held a speed ski event, and she was hooked for speed. Fast forward to her speed skiing career.
In 1999 she borrowed a pair of 240 cm skis and headed for Colorado for a speed skiing race. That year she came in 3rd at U. S. Nationals. 1999 she wound up ranked 2nd in the U.S. and 3rd in the World with a top speed of 125.000 mph. In 2000 she was the highest ranked U.S. woman, and 2nd place in the World. Her top speed that year was 132.500 mph. In 2001 she duplicated her time and was ranked 3rd in world. 2002, 1st in U.S., 2nd in the world with her speed of 140.450.
Tracie’s first World Cup “Crystal Globe” year was 2003. She was overall FIS Speed Ski World Cup Champion and U.S. Champion, her fastest time was 142.200 mph. Though she didn’t improve on her fastest speed, she won the overall speed ski globe again in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, in 2005, she was crowned FIS World Champion, a title that is only given every 2 years. In 2006, she earned another World Cup Globe. Her fastest time that year was 148.270. 2007 capped off her string of 5 Globes.
The record for the most consecutive wins of the FIS Speed Ski World Cup titles (Crystal Globe’s) is 5 and was achieved by Tracie Sachs (USA) from 2003-07. The feat of gaining 5 consecutive World Cup titles in the sport of skiing has only been equaled once, by Annemarie Moser-Proell, for her overall Alpine skiing performance between 1971-75. The speed is staggering – 238.57 or 148.27 miles per hour, the fastest American woman ever. A new world record was established in March, 2016, Tracie is now 4th fastest in world, after being 3rd for almost 10 years.
Injuries took their toll, with several knee injuries and she retired in 2013.
P.S. It should be noted that not a lot of women are brave enough to even try this sport.