Outdoors

Adventurer of the week: Crystal Mountain coach, Olympic athlete Scott Macartney

Scott Macartney of the United States is airborne during practice for the men’s World Cup downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, in 2009.
Scott Macartney of the United States is airborne during practice for the men’s World Cup downhill in Val Gardena, Italy, in 2009. AP file, 2009

The Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum opened Oct. 10 on Snoqualmie Pass, and 13 Olympic athletes were there for the party.

Among them was Crystal Mountain product Scott Macartney, who raced in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and the 2006 Torino Olympics. He finished seventh in the super-G in Torino.

The downhill and super-G specialist raced in two world championships and finished on the podium twice in his World Cup career. He retired in 2010.

Macartney, 37, survived a horrific crash at nearly 90 mph in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in 2008. He recovered from the concussion to make the U.S. Ski Team’s World Cup team the following season.

He currently trains athletes, serves as chief executive officer of Utah-based World Cup Dreams and coaches young ski racers at Crystal Mountain.

Moments after autographing an antique ski for the museum during the grand opening party, he briefly escaped the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd to field a few questions:

Q: So I saw your downhill suit from Torino on display, is it hard to part with a memento from such a memorable experience?

A: I still have everything from my first Olympics. Opening ceremonies jacket, socks, beanie. My second time, in Torino, I kept the stuff that helped me remember, but a lot of it I gave away. The first time you get these things, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is special.’ And it is. I’ve saved about 90 percent of my World Cup bibs. I have them in a huge box. … I was thinking I’d cover an entire wall of my house with them.

Q: What’s it like from your perspective seeing the evolution of the sport all in one room?

A: That is really cool. Especially looking at the equipment and the course prep. Before they had good machines to do course prep, it was rugged. They were racing downhill and giant slalom through moguls and crazy bumps. It was a totally different world.

Before they had good machines to do course prep, it was rugged. They were racing downhill and giant slalom through moguls and crazy bumps. It was a totally different world.

Scott Macartney, 2-time Olympian

Q: How many days did you get in last year with the especially bad winter?

A: A little less than normal. Probably 80 days. Crystal was so generous to our race program. We would get up and do early loads to go race and do our training before the public came up because there was no space. I would load the gondola at 7 a.m. with a bunch of kids. We’d go do our laps (super-G) then pull it (took down the course) as the first gondola of people showed up. Crystal did an awesome job.

Q: Do your racers know your history, that you’re now an exhibit in a museum?

A: The generation when I first started (coaching) definitely did because I’d just retired. But kids cycle through. Every once in a while I get a kid that looks at racing (history) and they’re “Wait, you were on the national team? You raced in the Olympics? Holy crap.”

Macartney was seventh in the super-G at the 2006 Olympics, 0.25 seconds behind bronze medalist Ambrosi Hoffman of Switzerland

Q: Are you still racing?

A: I’m mostly coaching. I may do Arctic Man again. (Arctic Man is a race in Alaska where skiers race down two mountains and are towed up the second by a snowmobiling partner.) I have to see if my body is in good enough shape for that. Ski racing is tough on your body. I had hip surgery on both sides. It (Arctic Man) is four minutes of tucking probably averaging 85 mph. So I’ll see how it goes, and if I feel good I’ll train for it.

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