BEAVER CREEK — Spectators at the second day of Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup races were treated to everything from speechless winners to spectacular crashes.
Super-G often yields surprising results, and this year’s edition was no exception. Here’s a look at some of the highlights of the day and chatter from the finish area:
Loving Colorado snow
Temperatures were slightly warmer than Friday, but weather conditions varied. American Ted Ligety noted that the times were much faster after the 25th racer because visibility improved. Winner Patrick Kueng also said he attributed his successful run to the improved conditions. In Friday’s downhill, he skied well, but also said he couldn’t see the course so well. Today, he said, he was able to pair his abilities with more favorable weather.
The light snow that persisted for most of the race was fluffy — the stuff Colorado is famous for. Racers reported that they loved the snow conditions, and that the grip allowed them to attack the course and take risks.
The crowd got some impressive crashes, including American Jared Goldberg’s wipeout after he lost control of a ski on a steep turn. German Josef Ferstl clipped a gate soon after Goldberg and took a heavy tumble. He took a ski to the chest, but skied off the course on his own. Others narrowly avoided a crash but were sent flying off course. Austria’s Florian Scheiber initiated a turn too late and skidded to the side, as did defending super-G Birds of Prey champ, Matteo Marsaglia. The Italian skier skidded sideways on the Harrier portion of the course, brushing the ground with his arm for a second before managing to stay upright.
There was a tie for third place between Austria’s Hannes Reichelt and Italy’s Peter Fill. Place No. 16 was also shared by Austrian teammates Vincent Kriechmayr and Marcel Hirscher. The 18th spot was a tie between Frenchmen Alexis Pinturault and Johan Clarey. How’s that for team spirit.
Two of the podium winners have also come back from injuries. Reichelt is returning from a back injury, while Fill injured a groin muscle a few years ago. While he recovered from the injury physically after a season, he said that mentally he’s struggled to come back until now.
“I’ve been waiting for five years for a podium and to have two here is amazing,” Fill said.
The other two in the winners’ circle weren’t comeback kids, but were first-timers on the World Cup podium. Neither winner Patrick Kueng nor second place Otmar Striedinger could believe the results.
“When I saw second place, I was like, ‘Wow,’” said Striedinger. “I knew I was in good shape, but I couldn’t believe it.”
Attacks from the back
You don’t usually expect the skiers in the final half of the order to ski times that place them in the top half, but there were notable standouts today. Besides Striedinger, other racers that made the jump from the back were American Andrew Weibrecht, who finished 20th, and Kriechmayr who started 43rd and finished 16th.
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at email@example.com.