BEAVER CREEK, Colorado - Ski racing fans who attend the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup at Beaver Creek next month will get to see what the Vail Valley Foundation and Beaver Creek Resort have already done to prepare for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.Vail Valley Foundation spokesman John Dakin said the timing building has been moved and the shuttle stop for the Birds of Prey event was moved several hundred feet up the hill, making the walk for spectators several hundred feet easier."The walk to the stadium will not be as far," Dakin said. The timing building is now on the opposite side of the course, and the island of trees that was above the timing building is also gone. "That will really open up skier's left of that finish area," Dakin said.Since construction began on the new women's downhill course last spring, it has progressed a lot. Atle Skaardal, the International Ski Federation's women's alpine chief race director and a former World Cup ski racer himself, has already toured the course and given an initial thumb's up. He said in September there were just "little things to tweak and small solutions to figure out."The entire trail was completely cut already and graded from top to bottom - that work happened in just two months time.The course will run in and out of the existing Peregrine run, a double black diamond trail that runs under Chair 9, and then on the lower half of the run there is a new spur trail called Kestrel, named for another bird of prey, as all of the trails in the area are named.It starts off with a gliding section and then breaks over onto the upper pitch of Peregrine, then remains difficult and technical all the way down to Red Tail Camp, the finish.Course construction crews have left an island on the course on the upper pitch of Peregrine that the course goes around. After Ski Federation officials do another inspection next spring that includes setting up gates to see how the course will run, then crews will do another small widening project on that upper section.Skiers and snowboarders will be able to check it out for themselves this season, as soon as enough natural snow has fallen for Beaver Creek to open up that side of the resort. Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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