"Three things apply in this sport," says Steve Mahre, former world champion skier and a 1984 Olympics silver medalist in the slalom. "Concentration, consistency and smoothness."
"Certainly part of the reason I like the sport is the adrenaline rush it gives me," says Steve's brother Phil, a former World Cup champion and the man who won the Olympic gold medal in the slalom at Sarajevo.
And of course they're discussing...car racing.
That's the latest sporting passion of the 30-year-old twins from Yakima, Wash. It figures. The sport is fast, highly technical and relatively dangerous. "We were always intrigued by it," says Phil. "I never drove fast per se, but my older sister had a boyfriend who drove a stock car. Steve and I used to go to the little oval in town to watch him race."
"Then in '86—," Steve interjects.
"Or '87?" Phil asks.
"Late '86," Steve continues, "we said, 'Let's see if we really care to do it.' Last season they campaigned a showroom-stock-class Pontiac Trans Am. "It was a great year," says Steve. "We raced nine times, and I think we made progress."
"Each time behind the wheel we learned something," adds Phil. "We entered only endurance events [races of more than three hours duration], so we always performed as a team. We found that there were certain tracks on which I ran faster, and certain tracks on which Steve ran faster."
Shortly before the Calgary Olympics, the brothers attended the Skip Barber Racing School at Willow Springs, Calif. When asked to compare their past and present sports, the Mahres plunge into a polite stream of interruptions.
Steve: "We always did so much individually, it's nice to have other people on the racing team to draw from. If I'm driving terribly, we put Phil in the car and maybe he's driving well...."