Andrew Weibrecht, of Lake Placid, N.Y., races down the course during the 2013 Alpine FIS Ski World Championships downhill in Schladming, Austria. (photo: Mitchell Gunn/ESPA)

Olympic and World Cup Skier Andrew Weibrecht Talks Altitude and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lake Placid, NY – Two-time U.S. Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht stopped by his family’s Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid to chat with the media between World Cup stops in Beaver Creek, Colo. — where he attained his first World Cup podium, finishing third in the super G — and Europe.

While many of the questions posed were about alpine racing, a couple dealt with issues those snow sliders who measure their times with a calendar rather than a stop watch can relate to: altitude and cookies.

Andrew Weibrecht, of Lake Placid, N.Y., races down the course during the 2013 Alpine FIS Ski World Championships downhill in Schladming, Austria. (photo: Mitchell Gunn/ESPA)
Andrew Weibrecht, of Lake Placid, N.Y., races down the course during the 2013 Alpine FIS Ski World Championships downhill in Schladming, Austria. (photo: Mitchell Gunn/ESPA)

Yes, Weibrecht struggles with altitude issues and yes, his training regimen allows for the warm chocolate chip cookies that are part of the Mirror Lake Inn experience.

Weibrecht, who will turn 30 on Feb. 10, grew up skiing Whiteface Mountain, near Lake Placid and home of the 1980 Winter Olympic alpine events.  Although Whiteface has the greatest vertical drop in the east at 3,216 feet, its peak is only 4,865 feet above sea level. At Beaver Creek the base area is 8,100 feet above sea level and the mountain summit is 11,440 feet. The air is very thin up there.

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Weibrecht does a lot of cardio training throughout the year to prepare for high altitude competitions and sleeps with oxygen, though he notes it’s not necessary for recreational skiers. Weibrecht said he drinks a lot of water and uses a humidifier, but it still takes about a week before he feels like he is running at full capacity.

Fresh baked cookies come out of the Mirror Lake Inn oven each day at 3:30 p.m. in time for a little “cookies and tea” shindig. The cookie plate, which is replenished often throughout the evening, sits on a counter in the lobby in the shadow of Weibrecht’s two Olympic medals, a bronze for the Super G at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and a silver, also for the Super G at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The cookies are made from scratch and the Inn goes through about 700 of them a day during the Christmas / New Year holiday season.

Although he is a world-class athlete, Weibrecht’s diet allows the warm treats. Extra weight helps him go faster and he the cookies help him bulk up. “It’s weird, 185 pounds doesn’t work, but 190 does,” he explained.

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Author Martin Griff is a three time winner of the North American Snowsports Journalists Association Harold S. Hirsch Award for column writing. He lives in New Jersey with Ski Widow, a cat he pretends not to like and sometimes with a daughter who is in college. Both his skiing style and video skills are not easy on the eyes.

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