ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Bode Miller tucked his two young kids under each arm and raced down the hill, drawing quite a few quizzical stares from skiers.
“It shakes people up when you pass them – see kids in hands,” the decorated American skier said about a recent outing at Buttermilk in Aspen. “I was going fast, because I like to let them see what going fast is.”
When — or perhaps if — Miller speeds down World Cup courses again isn’t something he’s answering now. He hasn’t raced since severing his right hamstring tendon in a super-G crash at the world championships in February 2015 (video here).
He’s recently dealt with a lawsuit involving his former ski manufacturer. Turning 40 in October, Miller’s leaving the door ajar for a return, especially with the Olympics next winter in South Korea.
“There are a lot of pieces that need to come together,” said Miller, who will do NBC broadcast work this week at World Cup Finals. “Forty is not an advisable age to race World Cup speed. But my body is unbelievably healthy right now.”
At a recent fundraiser in Aspen, he told the crowd the chances of his return were “60-40,” which drew huge cheers. He called himself “skinny-fat” because he’s not in race shape. Once he commits, though, the winner of 33 World Cup races, two overall titles and six Olympic medals knows he can get in shape in no time.
“I’d have to be the most-fit guy on the hill,” Miller said. “If I could do it and make it through the prep period, that’s a big piece of the puzzle.”
He said the U.S. Ski Team is receptive to his return. He also added that his public spat with ski manufacturer Head is behind him — a judge dismissed a lawsuit Miller had filed against the company in December.
Miller ended his nearly 10-year partnership with Head in 2015 and signed an agreement not to use other skis in World Cup or world championship races for two years. He was attempting to get out of the remainder of the deal so that he could race on skis by New York-based Bomber, which he helped develop.
“At the time, I didn’t see myself racing — I didn’t want to make them annoyed. I love Head. I like those guys,” Miller said. “I could’ve skied with [Bomber] this year. It made it sound like I couldn’t. By the time everything came together, we weren’t really ready, either, because it was such a headache in the beginning.
“Now, it’s completely gone. No restrictions.”
He’s testing out new prototypes of downhill and super-G skis for Bomber, even heading over to the company’s factory in Italy to check out the design.
“The plate I’m designing, two little pieces and if they come together, it’s possible (to race again),” said Miller, who also is an equity partner and chief innovation officer for Aztech Mountain, a performance sportswear company. “I’m really happy with where my team is at.”
To stay busy, Miller is doing broadcast work and raising four kids, two of which he took skiing the other day.
“One of the best ski days I’ve had,” Miller said.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk