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    Skiing notes: Lindsey Vonn to skip this weekend’s World Cup races

    Mapping out her Olympics preparation after a three-race test, Lindsey Vonn will skip this weekend’s World Cup stop at St. Moritz, Switzerland, and is planning to return to the circuit in a downhill at Val d'Isere, France, Dec. 21.

    Vonn’s schedule was announced Wednesday by the US Ski Team.

    The 29-year-old American returned to competition at Lake Louise, Alberta, last week, 10 months after tearing two ligaments in her right knee and breaking a bone in that leg during a crash at the world championships. She also had a setback when she partially re-tore one of those surgically reconstructed ligaments in a fall during practice Nov. 19.


    Vonn finished 40th in a downhill Friday in her World Cup season debut, then 11th in another downhill Saturday, and fifth in a super-G on Sunday.

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    Asked after that last event what those 72 hours of racing told her, Vonn replied: ‘‘It tells me that I do need a couple more starts. I want to make sure that I get on the podium at least once, if not win, before . . . Sochi. For me, mentally, I really want to have that in my back pocket.’’

    She also indicated she did not think she needed much more in the way of World Cup work before heading to the Olympics, which start in less than two months.

    ‘‘I know that I'm skiing well, so I know that I don’t need to push myself and try to push the limits of my knee to race as many as races as I can . . . I’m ready for Sochi,’’ Vonn said Sunday. ‘‘I may race in one or two races, something like that.’’

    She added she wanted to limit her schedule so as to ‘‘take the risk away from any long-term damage on my knee.’’

    Using their heads


    Lids are a must for all skiers and snowboarders at a central Connecticut area reopening for the first time in several years.

    Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield plans to open with a mandatory helmet policy Dec. 20 as a yearround adventure sports park with skiing, snowboarding, tubing, lift-served mountain biking, and more.

    Powder Ridge, first opened in 1959 as Powder Hill, was purchased by the town in 2008 after bankruptcy and sold to Brownstone Exploration and Discovery Park in nearby Portland for $700,000 last year.

    “We know our core is the family-based customer,” said group owner Sean Hayes. “The real driver was the family, mom, dad, our loved ones. They’re saying, you can go extreme, just do it safely. “

    Simply, no helmet, no access.


    Hayes grew up riding motorcycles and understands freedom of choice, but also recognizes an “insurance-driven and litigious society.” Unlike a public road, the mountain is private property and making a helmet choice “is no longer a decision that only effects the individual.”

    Hayes sees Powder Ridge with three components: a learning area with a Burton Riglet Park and terrain-based learning, racing programs and school groups, and terrain park users.

    The National Ski Areas Association reports 70 percent of skiers and riders wear helmets, including 80 percent of minors.

    “What Powder Ridge is doing is certainly cutting-edge as I’m not aware that any other ski area in the country is mandating helmets for everyone,” said NSAA’s risk and regulatory affairs director, Dave Byrd. “A helmet requirement is something you would see in race clubs and competitions, or maybe ski or snowboard lessons, but I haven’t seen it mandated for everyone across the board.”

    Byrd says he’s curious to see the public’s reaction.

    Some traditional skiers might shy away from the policy, but that doesn’t worry Hayes.

    “We are looking forward to building this facility back up to being something unique and different over the next three to five seasons,” he said. “We are going to turn it on slowly over the next couple of years.”

    Early risers

    About 100 future Olympic hopefuls hit the slopes this weekend at Wachusett as part of a US Ski and Snowboard training camp. Skiers ages 6-12 take part in the SkillsQuest program, with drills for skills such as pole planting and turning. Olympians Katie Monahan and Edith Thys Morgan are expected to attend . . . Beginning Dec. 20, Strattitude Fridays include a free grassroots style jam at 3:30 p.m. in the Jib Lab next to the Stratton Mountain School. Ski or ride the stashes with Stratton instructors during the 1:15 p.m. Side Country Series ($22). It’s all pumping up the new $299 (by Dec. 20) Strattitude Pass for ages 18-29. There are even room discounts at the Liftline Lodge Thursday nights . . . Cranmore is offering $30 learn to ski and snowboard packages Dec. 21 and 22 to trumpet its new terrain-based learning area. The teaching technique puts first-timers on elements such as banked turns, mini halfpipes, and rollers. It’s touted as a way to get novices to push themselves further in a fear-free zone . . . The girls will be ripping groomers during Saturday’s International Women’s Ski Day. A partnership between She Jumps and K2 Alliance, areas taking part in a day of demos, meet-ups, and apres yoga include Stowe, Magic Mountain, Sunday River, and Attitash . . . King Pine in East Madison, N.H., opens Friday with $15 lift tickets . . . Bromley has two-fer Tuesdays Dec. 17 and 24 with an online purchase . . . The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge starts Dec. 21 at Okemo with several New England stops, including Ski Butternut Dec. 30, Ragged Jan. 26, Nashoba Valley Feb. 16, and Jiminy Peak March 2, before returning to Okemo March 29 for the finals.

    Globe correspondent Marty Basch contributed to this report.