BEAVER CREEK - American Ted Ligety is hoping his fourth-place finish in Saturday's super-G isn't the beginning of a new trend.
Ligety finished fourth in Lake Louise last weekend in super-G, too, and both finishes were within such close reach of a podium position.
"I have probably more fourth-places than many other World Cup guys that are top guys," Ligety said. "That's a bummer, especially a lot of the time only by a couple of hundredths, so it'd be nice to be a couple hundredths faster here and a couple hundredths faster in Lake Louise - then I'd have 60 more (World Cup) points right now."
Ligety's specialty is giant slalom, and he knows he's the favorite in today's final race at Beaver Creek. He's used to the pressure of being a favorite, he said - it's something he deals with all the time.
There could be new pressure on Ligety this season, though. Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway, who is leading in overall points right now, said Ligety is right up there with the top contenders for the globe this year.
"He obviously worked more on his super-G," Svindal said after Saturday's race. "He's a good skier, and good skiers tend to also be able to ski fast in all events."
Svindal added that while the Birds of Prey course is great for technical giant slalom skiers, Lake Louise should have favored downhill skiers, yet Ligety was fast there, too.
Both Ligety and Svindal, who are on the same equipment this season, attribute a lot of the success to that equipment.
"I think it's mostly my ski set-up," Ligety said. "We have new boots in speed - those have definitely helped a lot. They made (Kjetill) Jansrud from being a nobody in speed to being one of the top couple guys in speed. And then the skis this year definitely suit me, as well."
While Ligety was the top American Saturday and certainly one of the top American stories to follow this season, some young Americans showed a lot of promise as they raced down one of the most challenging super-G courses on the World Cup calendar.
Thomas Biesemeyer, 23, got his best World Cup finish ever Saturday when he tied two other skiers for 18th place, scoring World Cup points.
He said the courses suited his style because he's good at turning and skiing smart.
"I was pretty nervous just because I knew you had to ditch speed in places and that's not that comforting to know that," Biesemeyer said. "It's like that's the hard part - what's the fine line of too much and what's too little. So today I skied tactically smart and I skied aggressive and I skied loose and athletic, and that's my goal always into any race I do because I have the speed and I'm confident and it felt good."
He heard reports from his teammates that the course was in great shape and to stick to the plan. He said the report was to ski loose, but also to get after it.
Brennan Rubie and Jared Goldberg are two more young Americans who scored World Cup points Saturday. In Rubie's first World Cup race ever, he skied clean and fast enough for a 27th-place finish.
"I was super surprised that I could get in the points in my first race. This is the coolest thing I've ever experienced," Rubie said. "I was up top and I heard my teammate Jared Goldberg had a great run and that pumped me up. I was like, 'OK, guys I ski with everyday are putting it in there,' and so I knew that I could, too."
Goldberg made the cut for points with a 30th-place finish in his second-ever World Cup race weekend. He already sounded like an old professional after the race, too, at the whopping age of 21.
"It's a lot better my second time because I wasn't quite as nervous as I was up in Lake Louise last week and I was really calm," Goldberg said. "I know it's pretty intimidating looking out at the start with how steep and icy it is and bumpy, but we had a plan - we got course reports from other guys, we had a plan on what to do and how to keep from getting late in certain gates."
Goldberg said teammate Marco Sullivan's podium at Lake Louise has given the American speed racers "a lot more fire."
American teammate Andrew Weibrecht skied off-course Saturday and did not finish the race. Weibrecht had finished 10th in the same race last year and was considered among the favorites for the Americans. Americans Travis Ganong and Ryan Cochran-Siegle also skied off-course and didn't finish Saturday.
Assistant Managing Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.