BEAVER CREEK - Happy super-G day at Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek.
Our distinguished panel will make picks at the bottom of this, but we really shouldn't.
The only thing we really know is that we don't know much when it comes to the super-G here.
The names we know have won this race - Hermann Maier, Lasse Kjus (one time together) and Didier Cuche - but that was early on - 2002 and before. O.K., Aksel Lund Svindal did win in 2008, but the surprise has become the expected.
Nobody had Bjarne Solbakken (2003), Stefan Goergl (2004), Hannes Reichelt (2005) and Sandro Viletta (2011). They were all first time-winners. Reichelt got his second career win here two years later ... in super-G.
Is it the fact that it's inspection only? (Even though everyone's trained on this hill.) Weather helped guys like Solbakken and Reichelt (the first time).
We're not complaining. A first-time World Cup winner is an awesome thing.
Hard to figure, but we'll try anyway.
Facts, figures and picks follow:
Weather: A high of 44 degrees with a chance during the morning of something called snow. Again, the weather's been so nice this year that we're definitely going to pay for it next year.
Birds of Prey super-G champs: Hermann Maier (1997, 1998); Maier and Lasse Kjus (tie, 1999 Worlds); Fredrik Nyberg (2000), Didier Cuche (2002), Bjarne Solbakken (2003), Stefan Goergl (2004) and Hannes Reichelt (2005, 2007), Aksel Lund Svindal (2008), Georg Streitberger (2010) and Sandro Viletta (2011).
Super-G stats: As opposed the downhill, the racers start lower on the mountain just after The Brink at 10,948 feet. It drops 2,004 feet to Red Tail. The course is 6,165 feet long.
Intervals: Pumphouse, Golden Eagle and The Abyss.
Look out in the super-G: The Talon is right out of the gate for super-G, and that can be a whopper and that was an issue in Friday's downhill. To that end, The Pumphouse should have a say.
Americans (bib number): Andrew Weibrecht (23), Ted Ligety (26), Ryan Cochran-Siegle (37), Thomas Biesmeyer (38), Jared Goldberg (46), Brennan Rubie (52), Marco Sullivan (60) and Travis Ganong (64).
Favorites: Svindal (19) has got to be here, having won in Lake Louise, Alberta. (He also won the globe in super-G last year.) France's Adrian Theaux (22) was second and Austria's Joachim Puchner (16) was third. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud (18)'s already been on the podium this week and was fourth in last year's super-G standings. Austra's Klaus Kroell (17) just happened to fifth.
Dark horses: Ted Ligety (26) would be a crowd pleaser as would Andrew Weibrecht (23). Look out for Canada's Jan Hudec (20), as well as Austria's Benni Raich (21) and Reichelt (8).
Staff picks (please no wagering):
OK, kudos to the Vail Daily's Lauren Glendenning and AP Denver's Pat Graham. They both had Svindal in the downhill and he finished second. Chris Freud just picked the wrong Italian, going with Peter Fill (ninth) instead of Christof Innerhofer.
Freud: We need a first-time winner, so it's Weibrecht.
Glendenning: Staying the course with Svindal.
Pat Graham: He's "going off the board" with Max Franz (10).
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.