WORDS: Eugene Buchanan

Sometimes all the skill and preparation in the world can get trumped by Lady Luck. To keep karma on their side as much as possible in Sochi, the following are a few rituals our athletes perform before hitting the slopes.

The lucky underwear tree at Alyeska. PHOTO: Simon Evans

The lucky underwear tree at Alyeska. PHOTO: Simon Evans

Maddie Bowman (Women's Halfpipe): "I have two lucky pair of underwear I wear, one for qualifying and one for comps."

David Wise (Men's Halfpipe): "My superstitions change, but I used to wear a certain belt buckle to my competitions."

Julia Mancuso (Women's Alpine): "I have lucky underwear. It started as a joke when an interviewer asked how I did so well in a race. I said it to be sarcastic, but it stuck. I'm also launching a lingerie line so during the Olympics, fans and family can wear it as well."

Jen Hudak (Women's Slopestyle): “I don’t really have any, but I always knock on wood if the thought crosses my mind. But I’m very attentive to any intuitions that I might have, but that might just be my old age.”

Nick Goepper (Men's Slopestyle): “I like to knock on wood whenever a situation arises where I need good luck. I also wear the same pair of Superman underwear during every contest."

Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen (Women's Slopestyle): “I always wear the same ski on my right foot and my left. I also have a lucky beanie…a white cross country beanie with a Norwegian flag on front that I got from my brother, who's a professional biathlete. On the sides it says Bjørn Dæhlie, who was one of the best cross-country skiers in the world. I just have to use it when I’m skiing.”

Travis Ganong (Men's Alpine): "I wear my socks over my long underwear, not the other way around. Also, I put my left boot on first before the right. I also take one free ski run before my downhill race run. I go super fast, jump off a cat track or something and generally scare myself a little to get the adrenaline pumping."

Stacey Cook (Women's Alpine): "There's nothing our team does special before the races. But I'd like to have a team meeting where I present the ideas of eating dessert for breakfast and having a pre-race pillow fight."