Nightly News   |  February 20, 2010

Ski cross entices ex-U.S. downhillers

Lured out of retirement by the thrill of the sport, alpine legends Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves are reviving their careers and taking the word “comeback” to the extreme. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back here in vancouver, we have a look tonight at the only new sport at these 2010 olympic winter games called ski cross, and as nbc's kevin tibbles reports both competitors and spectators are in for a wild ride there.

>> reporter: it may have a rather mundane name, ski cross, but this new olympic sport is anything but boring.

>> ski cross is a combination of motor cross and bullriding. probably the most exciting thing you can do on skis.

>> reporter: four skiers plummeting down the side of the mountain, not racing the clock but each other to the finish. each and every race is a white-knuckled ride. headlining the u.s. team a pair of alpine legends. casey puckett and darren rolfs. both lured out of retirement by the thrill of the sport. just when the ski world thought they hung them up, the revival is taking the word comeback to the extreme. you're both in your 30s, and you're in this new wild and crazy sport. when the heck are you going to grow up?

>> that's why we're doing it. why grow up, you know?

>> there is an element of craziness, because, you know, it's all up in the amplt whir. when you step into that gate, you don't have control over it. you have control over what you're doing, but you don't have control over the three guys you're competing against.

>> reporter: he's one of the most decorated downhill skiers in u.s. history , winning 12 world cup races. he retired from the sport in 2006 . he and wife, michelle, now have two children. puckett retired in 2002 and also has two children with his former wife, kate.

>> it's like two lives, you know. i come home, and i immerse myself in the lives of my daughters and try to spend as much time as i can with them.

>> when they're not pulling their kids on a bike, they're pushing themselves to the edge. sometimes with consequences. he crashed and dislocated his hip, while puckett is recovering from a separated shoulder. but banged up or not, they're in vancouver to win.

>> i still have light in ta lot in the tank and it's fun.

>> reporter: for this high-flying duo the pull of the mountain will always be there no matter what their age. kevin tibbles, nbc news, colorado.