Rahlves’ fantastic run ends | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Rahlves’ fantastic run ends

Erica Bulman

ARE, Sweden (AP) – It was never about the perks or the fame for Truckee Daron Rahlves.

Instead, the American raced on the World Cup circuit for 13 years to earn respect from his peers. He got plenty of that as he became the most accomplished speed skier in U.S. history, despite never managing to come close to winning an Olympic medal.

“Money never mattered,” he said Sunday after the last World Cup race of his career. “It’s more for pride, for being the guy throughout the whole season who’s fastest on downhill skis. That for me was the ultimate thing.”

Rahlves was fastest a lot during a career that officially will end at the U.S. national championships later this month in Maine. The 32-year-old Californian earned 12 World Cup victories, a super-G world championship gold medal in 2001 and two medals at the 2005 worlds.

“You want to be getting in the gate and everybody to think: We’ve got to watch,” Rahlves said. “I love putting down exciting runs that get people going ‘Whoa.’ That shock factor, blow people out of their minds with the stuff you pull off. You want to be pushing the limits, taking risks and tapping into your total limit.”

At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he was one of the smallest men on a World Cup tour where size matters. In the speed disciplines, heavier skiers can better carry their momentum through the flatter gliding sections. Rahlves always preferred courses that are icy, steep and tough.

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He consistently stunned the field with his courage and tenacity, and became one of the most feared downhillers on the circuit.