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Shiffrin, locals make U.S. squad for 2020-21

If Mikaela Shiffrin keeps at it, she just might make a career out of this skiing thing.

The queen of Alpine racing officially got re-invited to the U.S. Ski Team for the 2020-21 season, as the squad announced its roster for the upcoming campaign on Wednesday. This was obviously a no-drama moment for the three-time World Cup champion.

We’re forecasting that Shiffrin has a spot as long as she wants it, and probably after well after that. Wednesday was, however, a big day for some locals as Allie Resnick and Trent Pennington got their first invites to the team.

Resnick is a familiar name to the team. Emma, 17, was already on the development squad, and now here comes Allie, 18. Both sisters grew up here and went through Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Pennington, 17, is from Shalimar, Florida, and found his way to SSCV.

There is quite the local flavor on the squad at all levels. The B Team includes Bridger Gile, Kyle Negomir and River Radamus for the gents and Alice McKennis, Paula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien for the ladies. O’Brien is fresh off earning all-American honors in slalom at Montana State University.

Nicola Rountree-Williams, of Edwards, is a C Teamer. Jacob Dilling and Kellen Kinsella returned to the Devo Team.

Up on the A Team, there are no surprises. Travis Ganong, Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman are back. Tommy Ford’s there too after earning his first World Cup win at the Birds of Prey slalom here in December.

Shiffrin will be attempting a comeback season of sorts. Most racers would love to be trying “to rally” from a season with six World Cup wins. Of course, Shiffrin’s season was ultimately cut short by the death of her father, Jeff, on Feb. 2 and the onslaught of the COVID-19, which wiped out the final two stops of the tour in Are, Sweden, and Cortina, Italy.

Like the rest of the world of sports, the World Cup is waiting to see how the coronavirus situation evolves. The season traditionally opens in Soelden, Austria, with women’s and men’s giant slaloms in October.

Birds of Prey, the men’s stop at Beaver Creek, is theoretically set for Dec. 4-6. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are in Cortina Feb. 8-21, 2021.

Vail legend John Dakin passes the torch, and his microphone, after 40 years

VAIL — John Dakin is so good with a microphone in his hand that he can weave such words as “plastic pants” into his World Cup ski racing call and make it sound seamless.

Dakin’s rich baritone voice has been part of Vail and of U.S. ski racing for four decades. After more than 30 years with the Vail Valley Foundation and around 10 more with the Colorado Snowsports Museum, Dakin has called it a career.

“It’s overwhelming to be part of it. It’s been a great ride,” Dakin said.

He joked that his epiphany had nothing to do with filing for Medicare, deciding to take Social Security or noticing that three-quarters of the mail in his mailbox was from AARP. It was really the day he decided to pull out one of his old U.S. Ski Team uniform tops and wear it to work at the Snowsports Museum.

“I realized that what I was wearing was older than some of the artifacts I was looking at. I didn’t want to scare anyone into thinking I had escaped from an exhibit,” Dakin said.

Always winning the word game

During Dakin’s retirement reception at the Snowsports Museum, Jen Mason decided that in addition to having a speech prepared, they would revisit an old Vail Valley Foundation tradition. When Dakin announced the World Cup ski races, his colleagues would come up with some oddball words like “arugula” or “plastic pants” — nothing to do with ski racing — and challenge him to weave it into that day’s race call.

During Dakin’s retirement soiree, he was charged with incorporating the word “aardvark” into his speech. If you know Dakin, you know that “aardvark” rolled through his narrative seamlessly.

Do not envision him in retirement on his couch in his bathrobe, “curled up like an aardvark,” Dakin said as the crowd laughed with him.

Dakin is an amazing photographer. He’s headed to Yellowstone with the World Wildlife Foundation to follow wolves around and take some pictures. In May he’ll head to Botswana for a photo safari. And maybe he’ll get another dog.

“I feel that I have been truly blessed in my professional life to find something I was passionate about, ski racing, and to be in the right place at the right time to start and expand my career, it’s been head and shoulders above anything that any kid coming out of Grand Junction, Colorado, could have ever thought possible,” Dakin said.

Taking a look back over his long career, he thanked the board and staff of the Colorado Snowsports Museum, the members of the University of Colorado ski team, U.S. Ski Team members, World Cup racers, Hall of Fame members. … The list is long, as it should be for someone who has enjoyed such a long career.

“You are all truly special to me. Without you, I would not be here. Thank you so much for giving me so much,” Dakin said.

Dakin credits Bill Marolt from the University of Colorado and the U.S. Ski Team for his start in the industry, first with the CU ski team, then a call from Marolt in 1981 to recruit Dakin to the U.S. Ski Team in Park City, Utah.

“Marolt’s involvement with the U.S. Ski Team, the FIS, the World Cup and World Championships enabled me to continue that friendship. It’s not a stretch to say that without Bill, I would not be here,” Dakin said.

About those 1989s

Dakin was part of the team that successfully lobbied the International Ski Federation to bring the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships to Vail, the event’s first trip to the U.S. since Aspen in 1950 when Europe was still too bombed out from World War II to host it. It kicked Vail’s international marketing into hyperdrive.

After those 1989 World Championships, Dakin’s role and most of the Vail Valley Foundation’s role in events like that was supposed to disappear, in a return to what was then the status quo. It didn’t.

“Vail and the valley would never be the same after the 1989 World Championships. I’ve been blessed to be part of all three World Championships. That has to be some kind of record,” Dakin said.

It was Dakin’s baritone voice that called U.S. Ski Team great Tamara McKinney’s gold and bronze medals in 1989, and Vail native and U.S. Ski Team member Mike Brown’s last run.

Dakin also smilingly explained to a 1989 worldwide television audience that, while Europe was contending with a multi-year snow drought, the night before Vail had been pounded with so much snow that the downhill had to be postponed.

At the other end of that spectrum, Dakin and others told the world about the bizarre and untimely death of FIS board member Archduke Alfonso de Borbon of Spain before the 1989s even started.

“It was a terrible accident. It was one of the toughest things any of us have ever encountered,” Dakin said.

During all those events over all those years, with the world demanding his attention, Dakin walked through countless media centers, greeting old friends and new acquaintances, shaking hands while his eyes smiled at you, remembering names. No matter the clamor around him, you could ask him for one moment and he would happily give one, and one was enough.

At the end of those 1989 Worlds on closing day, a glorious bluebird Sunday afternoon, Dakin was resplendent in his Descente parka and boots. He paced back and forth across the finish corral carrying what was then a new-fangled wireless microphone … talking to the world.

American Giant Slalom winner Tommy Ford is a fan of Wu-Tang Clan

Tommy Ford, winner of the Giant Slalom at the Birds of Prey FIS World Cup, is a Wu-Tang Clan fan.

When asked during his post-race press conference appearance what music he’d most like to listen to during a victory lap, he said, “Wu-Tang comes to mind.” There were some cheers from other fans watching the press conference.

Affectionately called Wu-Tang, the ‘90s New York rap group is most famous for “C.R.E.A.M.,” which stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. The song is off the 1993 album, “Enter the Wu-Tang.” Spotify has called the Wu-Tang “the most revolutionary rap group of the ‘90s – and only partially because of their music.”

After the first run down the GS course on Sunday, Ford bagged first place and was able to maintain his spot after making the flip. He finished with 2 minutes, 31.25 seconds on the clock. Norweigans Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen took second and third place respectively.

Ford, from Bend, OR., grew up skiing at Mt. Bachelor and raced on the Dartmouth College ski team. He also races in the Super G. Today’s first place title marks his first victory at the World Cup, and brownie points for winning on home snow.

“It’s really good to be here with the Talons Crew and my family and friends,” he said.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s River Radamus after Birds of Prey: ‘I want it bad’

BEAVER CREEK — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s River Radamus didn’t make the cut at the Birds of Prey giant slalom World Cup race on Sunday at Beaver Creek, but the 21-year-old is taking it in stride and focusing on getting better.

“I really wanted to perform at home, and I feel like I let some people down,” he said from the finish corral on Sunday. “I know I have the speed, I just have to figure it out.”

Conditions deteriorated throughout the day with snow and fog rolling across the mountain. Radamus was the 41st racer out of the gate. The cutoff for the second run was close to 3.5 seconds behind Ford’s first-run of 1:16.40. Radamus came in a little over 4 seconds behind Ford, missing the cut.

“I want it bad,” he said of making the jump. “You just have to trust your inspection and trust your skiing and commit.”

The Beaver Creek giant slalom is one of the longer courses on the World Cup circuit, Radamus said, and its at elevation.

“It’s all about skiing really efficiently — powerfully with the least amount of output so that we’re able to ski strong at the bottom,” he said.

After his run, he was checking his time splits on the monitors in the finish area.

“I know what happened,” he said. “I thought I skied alright and then I pushed the line a little too much on the flats and it crushed me.”

Radamus is looking forward to getting back to work, and the Birds of Prey in 2020.

“I know it doesn’t come overnight,” he said. “It’s time to get back to work, learn some more and come back next year stronger and faster.

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

The bond between ski racers and their moms: 2 feel-good moments from Birds of Prey

BEAVER CREEK — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s River Radamus finished his Birds of Prey Wolrd Cup giant slalom run on Sunday in front of an excited hometown crowd at Beaver Creek. While the 21-year-old didn’t make the cut, young fans in the Red Tail finish area were clamoring for his bib after the run.

“Sorry, I’m saving this one for my mom,” he politely told them.

It was a sad moment for the kids, but surely a happy moment for Mrs. Radamus.

The moment was one of two captured by the Vail Daily showing a special bond members of the men’s U.S. Ski Team share with their mothers.

Tommy Ford put down a near-perfect first run of the giant slalom on Sunday, heading into the second run sitting in first place. On his way back to the athlete area in between runs, he ran into his mother.

The two shared a long embrace, with pride beaming from Mary Ellen Ford.

“It was beautiful,” she said of the moment. “It’s hard to explain.”

Fan to River Radamus: "Can I have your bib?" — River: "Sorry, I'm saving this one for my mom."
Mary Ellen Ford hugs her son Tommy after he qualified in first for the second run of the Birds of Prey giant slalom on Sunday.
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Mary Ellen coached Tommy as a kid and follows the World Cup tour through Europe, supporting her son. She also supports the other men whose parents might not be able to make it to every stop.

Shortly after Tommy parted ways with his mom, Mary Ellen stopped Ryan Cochran-Siegel, giving him two hugs — one from her and one “from his mom” who wasn’t there. She said the Fords grew up with the Cochran family.

In addition to his mother in town from Bend, Oregon, for the races, Tommy’s father is at Beaver Creek, as well as his girlfriend, women’s U.S. Ski Team member Laurenne Ross.

“She’s amazing,” Mary Ellen said. “They’ve known each other since they were 6 years old.”

Tommy went on to win his first World Cup race of his career, the first American to win at Birds of Prey since 2014. He celebrated with his coaches, teammates — and family after the race.

If you can, don’t forget to call your mom today.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

WATCH: Snow falling at Beaver Creek

American Tommy Ford wins Birds of Prey giant slalom

BEAVER CREEK — The question on many people’s minds after the Birds of Prey giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Sunday: Who is Tommy Ford?

The 30-year-old won the first World Cup race of his career on home turf at Beaver Creek on Sunday, the first American to win a Birds of Prey race since Ted Ligety in 2014.

Ford hails from Bend, Oregon, is a nine-time national champion and has been skiing with Team USA since 2009. According to his ski team bio, he went to Dartmouth, is a fan of raspberry rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream and thinks Bruce Lee should play him in a hypothetical biographical film.

Off the hill, he enjoys climbing, drawing, surfing, mountain biking and other outdoor activities — usually with his girlfriend, women’s U.S. Ski Team member Laurenne Ross.

“He just loves it, he totally loves it,” his mom, Mary Ellen, said of his passion for ski racing.

Ford was swarmed by his teammates, coaches and family after the race — as the fans let out a strong “USA” chant.

Phrases like “a new era,” “nerves of steel” and “unbelievable” were thrown around the finish corral.

“That was special, really special,” said fellow U.S. Ski Team member River Radamus. “That was the coolest ski racing or sports memory I’ve ever been a part of. He’s been so close for so long and kept chipping away and finally made it through.”

Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen and Leif Kristian Nestvold-Haugen rounded out the giant slalom podium.

“Obviously it’s hard to beat the Americans on home snow,” Kristoffersen said after the race.

“I’ve been on this snow for quite a few years,” said Nestvold-Haugen, a Denver University graduate. “I always like the snow. It’s what we call the ‘hero snow’ where it gives back more. It feels like being home.”

American Ted Ligety, 35, finished eighth in the Birds of Prey giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Sunday. Fellow American Tommy Ford won the race, the first American to win a Birds of Prey race since Ligety won himself in 2014.
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‘On this path for a long time’

The giant slalom is a two-run format, with the top 30 advancing to the second run and the time totals of both runs added up.

On a snow day at Beaver Creek, some racers had trouble with the course and visibility. Frenchman Alexis Pinturault made a mistake at the top on his first run, opening the door for the rest of the field to make a move. Two racers later, Ford put down the fastest first run of the day, setting himself up to go last in the second run, a competitive advantage knowing what he must do to win.

Fellow American Ted Ligety finished the first run with the fourth-fastest time, however he finished eighth after the second run.

“There are all sorts of thoughts going through the mind,” Ford said about waiting in the start gate before his second run. “Once things get going, it just happens.”

Ford has cracked the top 10 eight times in World Cup races, including fourth in Soelden last week. His runs at Beaver Creek were smooth.

“I was just sticking to what I know and trusting my skiing,” he said.

With Mt. Bachelor plastered across the front of his helmet, Ford reflected on his upbringing that got him to the top spot on the Birds of Prey podium.

“I’ve been skiing as hard as I can and on this path for a long time,” he said. “I feel very grateful for my upbringing at Mt. Bachelor and my family.”

He said he’ll probably celebrate his first World Cup win with a big dinner with his friends and family.

The Americans had a strong showing in the giant slalom Sunday, with Ford taking first, Ligety eighth and Ryan Cochran-Siegle finishing 23rd. In total, six Americans took to the giant slalom course for the first run.

“Those young guys are coming,” Ford said, naming River Radamus, Brian McLaughlin and George Steffey. “Watch out.” He added Cochran-Siegle is “still consistent” and there’s “of course Ted.”

For a man who doesn’t set an alarm in the mornings — including Sunday’s race day that started at 9:45 a.m. — Ford is a ski racer American fans will soon love if they don’t already.

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

The lowdown on today’s giant slalom race

It’s time for the giant slalom. Step away from the oxygen tank, people.

Too soon?

Last year, the Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS World Cup giant slalom never ended. Germany’s Stefan Luitz scored a shocking upset over Austria’s Marcel Hirscher. That’s no slight to Luitz. It was an upset whenever Hirscher lost a tech race.

Luitz rejoiced. It was a well-earned win as he had done both of ACLs during the course of his career.

But then …

Photos came out of Luitz breathing from an oxygen tank between runs, which violates the International Ski Federation’s rules on doping. Yes, strange as it sounds, extra oxygen is against FIS rules. One can see FIS’ thinking as Birds of Prey is the highest site in terms of altitude on the World Cup tour. One can see Luitz’s side, as we in the media need oxygen walking from the bus stop to the media center, and oxygen really shouldn’t be doping or all of us on earth are doping.

Initially, Luitz was disqualified and the win went to Hirscher. Luitz appealed and eventually was restored as the winner of the GS.

Lost in Oxygengate was that Luitz for the first guy not named Hirscher or Ted Ligety to win a giant slalom at Beaver Creek. The two won nine straight races here from 2010-17. (Trivia time: Carlo Janka, of Switzerland, was the last to win the GS before the Ligety-Hirscher run in 2009. Janka won all three events that year at Beaver Creek.)

With Hirscher retired and Ligety not having won a World Cup race since October 2015 (Soelden, Austria), the door seems wide open for racers to add their names to Birds of Prey legend.

The format

The first run goes at 9:45 a.m. with the top 30 racers qualifying for a second at 12:45 p.m. In the afternoon heat, the racers go in inverse order to their first-run finish, thus, qualifying for run No. 2 is called making the flip.

There are usually two races going on during a World Cup race. It’s just easier to see it in the two-run format of a tech race. You have the race for the win and you also have the hunt for the points, finishing in the top 30.

The latter is compelling. The first World Cup points are a milestone in a ski-racing career and it’s a rite of passage for the youngsters trying to work their way up the starting order.

A reminder: Just making the flip does not score points. Racers must compete both runs to earn points.

The history

Birds of Prey only started hosting the giant slalom on an annual basis in 2004. But that was plenty of time for Bode Miller to record one of the more mind-bending and gravity-defying set of runs in 2005 we’ve ever seen. Bode never did anything easily, and this was quintessential Bode.

Herman Maier (1999) and Janka (2009) both won giant slaloms here to complete the only triples in Birds of Prey racing.

The podiums

Last year, as noted, it was Luitz, Hirscher and Switzerland’s Thomas Tumler.

In the Soelden, Austria, giant slalom in October, Frenchmen Alexis Pinturault and Mathieu Faivre going 1-2, followed by Slovenia’s Zan Kranjec.

The picks

Our esteemed panel successfully avoided picking the winner for a second day. We are not worthy of the prize, a free digital subscription to the Vail Daily.

So take these with a grain of salt.

Tom Boyd, chief of press for the Vail Valley Foundation: Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen.

Shauna Farnell, ski-reporting goddess: American Ryan Cochran-Siegle.

Chris Freud, Vail Daily: Pinturault.

Pat Graham, AP Denver: What can we say? The man has good knowledge, Pinturault.

Ross Leonhart, Vail Daily: American Tommy Ford, who was fourth in Soelden.

Nate Peterson, Vail Daily: Ted Ligety returns to glory.

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz wins World Cup downhill at Beaver Creek

BEAVER CREEK — Beaver Creek is becoming West Switzerland.

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz repeated as the Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS World Cup downhill champion on Saturday. He edged out France’s Johan Clarey and Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr, who tied for second 0.41 seconds back.

Feuz’s win comes on the heels of teammate Marco Odermatt winning the super-G on Friday.

“It’s nice to have young and old athletes on the same team,” Feuz said. “We push each other.”

And the sound you just heard was a groan from Austria.

The Austrians and the Swiss are to Alpine skiing as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are to baseball, except for one rather salient detail.

On the hills throughout the world, the Swiss haven’t rallied from a 3-0 deficit in whatever is the Alpine equivalent of the American League Championship Series — yet.

The Nations Cup, emblematic of national-team success throughout a ski season, has been gathering dust in the Land of Mountains.

“Of course, Switzerland and Austria, they’ve won many races. They’ve had so many good skiers in the history of alpine skiing. For example, Beat,” Kreichmayr said to laughs after Saturday’s race. “Of course, I want to beat every guy and all the Swiss guys.”

The Austrian men have won it 26 straight years dating back to 1993. Feuz was 5 the last time Switzerland won the Nations Cup. Odermatt wasn’t born.

“There’s always the fight between the Austrian (guys) and the Swiss (guys),” Feuz said. “But I also compete against the world.”

The biggest question looming over the men’s World Cup is “What does the world look like after Marcel Hirscher’s retirement?”

One of the answers to that question could be Switzerland takes back the Nations Cup. Hirscher scored 1,546 points last season, and in 2018-19, Austria beat Switzerland, 6,102-4,650, or by 1,452 points.

Yes, one person can affect the Nations Cup that much. The U.S. Women’s Ski Team finished fourth in last year’s standings with Mikaela Shiffrin accounting for 2,204 of the American women’s 2,498 points.

As Red Sox and Cubs fans have said in the many years before their deliverance in 2004 and 2016, respectively, this could be the year for Switzerland.

Looking across the disciplines, the Swiss have Feuz, the World Cup downhill champion, and Mauro Caviezel in that discipline In super-G, those two Swiss skiers go against Kriechmayr and Matthias Mayer.

In giant slalom, the Swiss have Loic Meillard (fifth last year in the points) and Odermat (eighth), while the Austrians’ best-returning racer is Manuel Feller (14th).

In slalom, the Swiss have a powerful punch in Daniel Yule and Ramon Zenhaeusern while the Austrians counter with Marco Schwarz and Feller.

After Saturday’s downhill, Switzerland leads Austria, 906-771. 

Old and new

• Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 27, was the exciting American surprise on Saturday. Wearing the No. 28 bib, Cochran Siegle was in the green early and had a shot at the podium before clipping a gate on Harrier, a slight miscue that cost him the podium.

Nonetheless, his fifth-place finish was easily the best World Cup result of his career. Previously, he’d been 10th in a combined and a giant slalom.

“I knew in a lot of the key sections I was pretty on line and skiing well,” Cochran-Siegle said.

Cochran-Siegle arrived to a roar from the home crowd, but as he said, “There’s always a roar here, regardless of how you do.”

The compliment to the Beaver Creek fans aside, this is a big move in his career. The Vermont native has been right on the bubble when it comes to the top 30 in the points and the quality starting positions that accompany those numbers.

• Meanwhile, Austria’s Hannes Reichelt, 39 and the oldest racer in the field, was nearly on the podium, finishing fourth. He finished 2-hundredths of a second behind Clarey and Kriechmayr.

Reichelt has been in the top 10 in 18 races during his career at Birds of Prey.

Shortened course

With high winds, the International Ski Federation moved the start down to the edge of The Brink, eliminating a major gliding section of the course, The Flyway.

It’s an outdoor sport, and it happens. The course change seemed to favor the more technical racers.

As for France’s Clarey, he had no idea what to expect after Friday’s super-G in which he finished an unsightly 46th.

Finishing second in Saturday’s downhill made life better.

“I don’t have any explanation right now. I wasn’t skiing very well,” Clarey said. “My super-G yesterday was so bad. It was (such) bad skiing that today I said, ‘Push and we’ll see results.’  I was pretty surprised with second place and so happy.”

Birds of Prey World Cup downhill preview: Who’s it going to be?

So whose idea was it to attach to planks to one’s feet and go hurtling down a mountain?

Depending on the source, it happened in China, Russia or Scandinavia well before the birth of Christ.

In the ultimate test of skill and courage/sanity, racers will reach speeds up to 70 mph, traveling 1.6 miles in about 1 minute, 40 seconds in today’s Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS World Cup downhill, starting at 11 a.m.

Not that it needs illustrating, but Germany’s Thomas Dressen is a walking (happily) example of the danger of downhill.

He wiped out during last year’s downhill here — two torn ligaments in his knee and a busted shoulder — on Dec. 1, 2018. Saturday was the first anniversary of that crash, and he came back with a downhill win in Lake Louise, Alberta.

The format

It’s pretty simple: Get down the hill as quickly as you can while avoiding injury.

Birds of Prey tests all elements of the athletes. You have to have a powerful glide up top on the Flyway, which is where Daron Rahlves won in 2003. Drops and turns? The Brink, Talon, Pete’s Arena. Hermann Maier mastered them early and often with three World Cup wins here and the 1999 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships gold.

Jumps? Better watch for those, too. Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal wrecked off Golden Eagle during a training run in 2007, only to come back the next year to win.

Svindal finished his career with three downhill wins here.

The history

The winners of this race is pretty much a who’s who of World Cup skiing during the last two-plus decades.

Maier will always be the Man here. He helped build the course’s legend. Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller gave this an American touch, winning four straight times from 2003-2006.

While Rahlves was the first American to win at Birds of Prey, Miller ended up as being only one of the three to win here three times or more in downhill — Maier, Bode and Svindal.

Unlike super-G at Beaver Creek, there isn’t a winner that makes a ski-racing fan scratch his or her head.

Who joins history today?

Past podiums

Beat Feuz of Switzerland, is the defending champion. Teammate Mauro Caviezel was second and Svindal third.

As noted, Dressen won last week in Lake Louise, while Italy’s Dominik Paris was second and Feuz and Switzerland’s Carlo Janka tied for third.

The picks

First off, as expected, none of our expert panelists had Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt in Friday’s super-G. Big shock. Since Odermatt was winning his first World Cup, we’re pretty sure Odermatt didn’t have Odermatt. Shauna Farnell, our resident ski goddess, came the closest with Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finishing second.

Second, a member of our panel wanted a prize, so here we go: The winner this week gets a free digital subscription to the Vail Daily.

Our panelists get points for the place of the racers they pick. Lowest score wins. The standings after Friday:

Farnell: Kilde, 2.

Tom Boyd, chief of press for the Vail Valley Foundation: Mauro Caviezel, Switzerland, 5.

Nate Peterson, Vail Daily: Caviezel, 5.

Chris Freud, Vail Daily: Vincent Kriechmayr, Austria, 7.

Ross Leonhart, Vail Daily: Max Franz, Austria, 30.

Pat Graham, AP Denver: Carlo Jankaa, Austria, 35.

Our picks for today

Boyd: A comprehensive man, he goes for the entire podium — Kriechmayr, Dominmik Paris and Bryce Bennett.

Farnell: U-S-A! … Travis Ganong.

Freud: We like the comeback story … Dressen

Graham: Going to Paris, the Italian version … Dominik Paris.

Leonhart: Based on the fact that we rode up on the bus with his family … Travis Ganong.

Peterson: Hermann Maier … He’s really old school (Both Maier and Peterson).