After a season of learning, Steven Nyman wins his first World Cup downhill
A YEAR AGO U.S. Alpine ski racer Steven Nyman raced the World Cup ski circuit for the first time, turning the experience into a seasonlong tutorial. When he crashed on the classic Lauberhorn Downhill in Wengen, Switzerland, his first thought was, I get to come back and race this hill again next year. "The whole year was a learning experience," says Nyman. "This year I'm prepared."
It shows. Last Saturday, Nyman, 24, won the downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, the first World Cup victory of his career. It came two weeks after his first podium finish, a third (behind countryman Bode Miller) in Beaver Creek, Colo. Nyman spent two months last summer in Maui working with trainer Scott Sanchez (who also trains Nyman's ex-girlfriend, 2006 Olympic giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso), pumping his 6'4" frame to 220 pounds, up from 210. His ski company, Fischer, assigned him technician Leonhard Mussi, whom Nyman calls its "Number 1 guy." Adds Nyman, "When they told me he was working with me, I was like, 'Wow, for them to give me this guy, they believe in me.'"
Nyman was raised in Orem, Utah, and during high school did work for his father's landscaping company on Robert Redford's Sundance, Utah, home. In 1969 Redford starred in a movie that Nyman is now living: Downhill Racer.