BEAVER CREEK — The world’s fastest women will have a true 2015 World Championships test next week thanks to early-season snowfall and good snowmaking temperatures recently. Beaver Creek Mountain operations crews have successfully prepared the full length of the new Raptor women’s downhill racecourse for the inaugural Nature Valley Raptor Ladies’ World Cup Week.
The official announcement was made Thursday morning following careful analysis of overall mountain conditions and tremendous teamwork between snowmaking, grooming, race operations staff and volunteers.
Thanks, Beaver Creek
“It’s incredible they were able to get our full course up and running,” American racer and Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso said. “We know how hard it is to prepare a hill this early in the season, so thanks Beaver Creek. Raptor will be difficult and a good challenge for the first race of the season.”
“Having the ladies be able to run their full course was the ultimate goal for next week’s races,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “Hats off to our partners at Beaver Creek for making this happen. The World Cup ladies are going to be extremely appreciative of the tremendous effort that Beaver Creek Mountain put forth to make this a reality.”
Under the original scenario, the women were slated to run on a “hybrid” course, comprised of the upper half of the new Raptor track and the lower half of the men’s Birds of Prey course. Optimal early season conditions have allowed the resort to not only complete the hybrid course, but also prepare nearly triple the amount of acreage over last year for mountain guests for next week’s opening. The men will still race the hybrid course for their races the following week.
The Raptor course was cut over the past two summers in anticipation of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
The new downhill course incorporates portions of Solitude, Peregrine and Golden Eagle, along with two new cuts that have been dubbed Kestrel on the trail map. The course, located skier’s right of Birds of Prey, will join the men’s course at the Red Tail Jump and then flow into the current finish arena.
“We’re grateful to our mountain teams as we’re poised to have one of our better openings in recent years,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer for Beaver Creek Resort. “We’re thrilled to provide the ladies with their new test track, and offer so much terrain to our guests the first week of our season.”
The Raptor Ladies’ World Cup will get under way Tuesday with downhill training. Competition kicks off a week from today with downhill, followed by super-G on Nov. 30. The weekend’s racing will conclude with giant slalom on Dec. 1.
For the men, downhill training will get under way on Dec. 3, with super-G, downhill and GS on Dec. 6-8.