Even though his fianc�e and his friends were convinced that his return would be triumphal, others were not. "I wanted good equipment," said Killy, "so I went to Dynamic skis again because I had used them in the Olympics. I asked to ski on them again. They turned me down. It was very had to believe. But they thought I was not good anymore."
Not until mid-November was Killy able to go into intensive training at Val d'Is�re. "I did not plan to race until January," he said, "but the training was not so good in Val d'Is�re, so Michel Arpin and I decided to fly to Aspen and practice there. We decided we would just watch the races over the weekend because we had never seen one before. But then I could not hold myself back."
Though he had not won any of his first four races, Killy was confident of what was to come: "It is all coming back very fast and I am surprised. It almost feels like before."
Above all, the intrinsic Killy enthusiasm was still there. His eyes were bright and his gestures animated as he discussed his new pursuit as a bona fide professional skier. "This is a great sport, it is the new sport of skiing.
"There is going to be very good skiing here. And in pro racing there are characters. They are exciting, they drink and smoke and they have fun. No one tells them they have to go to bed now and they can't drink and they have to be nice to the men from the national ski federation. This should not be a circus—it is a sport. But maybe we will need a kind of show business atmosphere to bring the people out in St. Paul or in North Carolina when we tour there. Maybe there should be acrobatics and clowns to bring the crowds. But I was very happy to find that this is really so sportif. Now I am very excited and glad to be back in my real business—in the snow and the mountains and racing."
Killy was smiling as he spoke, but now he became quite sober and he leaned forward to make his point. "You know, of course, that for 10 years we have been very serious about skiing in France. We have excelled and we have done much for the sport. Now we will do for pro racing what we did for World Cup racing. We will give it credibility. We will bring it excellence. We will improve the techniques, the ambience, the equipment."
He paused, then raised a finger and jabbed it emphatically. "We are going to bring true professionalism to professional racing."