Two legends return to Birds of Prey
Ted Ligety and Daron Rahlves reflect on their winnings on the Golden Eagle run
Daron Rahlves’ heart beats a little faster when he’s in Beaver Creek.
“There’s a certain energy and a vibe I have when I show up here and when I go up for inspection, that’s when I really feel those memories kick in. It’s really special, I have a lot of great memories here,” said the skier who still holds the fastest time on North America’s Downhill.
The memories Rahlves is talking about are from his success at Beaver Creek’s famed Birds of Prey downhill races. Rahlves won the downhill in 2003, took second behind teammate, Bode Miller in 2004 and was at the top of the podium again in the 2005 downhill race. He retired from Alpine ski racing after the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, and did compete in skier cross at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler, Canada.
“The U.S. team was not a big contender here when I was racing. It was the Norwegians, the Italians and the Austrians and I finally had enough. I made the mental switch and said ‘this is our turf. We have one chance during the season to shine in front of the home crowd,’ and I made a point to will myself to go fast here and then we saw incredible success here for a few years,” Rahlves said.
Due to the canceled downhill race on Friday, Rahlves took to the slopes with a few current U.S. Ski Team members and his teenage son, Dreyson. Rahlves says he is fortunate to stay in the industry and ski a lot and work with companies like Red Bull, Atomic, Flylow, Gyro and more.
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“I’m the race liaison between the Gyro brand and the athletes and we’re trying to build a race team up, so we’ve signed Ava Sunshine Jemison and Kyle Negomir,” Rahlves said.
“I really like to mentor younger racers and really be there as a resource for the athletes,” Rahlves said.
To learn how Rahlves will be involved in the World Cup race being held at Palisades Tahoe later this season, his role in the latest Warren Miller film and how he is coaching the next generation of ski racers, watch today’s video.
Also in town this weekend was Ted Ligety. Ligety has a long list of podiums at the Winter Olympic Games and the FIS Ski World Cup circuit. He is also among the winningest ski racers in Birds of Prey history. Mr. GS, as he was referred to, won the giant slalom five times from 2010 until 2014, just behind Austria’s Herman Maier, who had six wins at the Birds of Prey. After 15 years of racing here, he was back in the Vail Valley as a spectator. Ligety retired in February of 2021.
Ligety enjoyed skiing powder with some friends and team members on Friday when weather factors canceled the first of two downhill races on the Golden Eagle run and said it was fortunate the call was made early.
“At least in the case on Friday, the race was canceled at 7:00 a.m. and you can just stay in bed and treat it like a rest day and you stay active and can go to the gym versus on days when you’re out there and it’s 1:00 p.m. and it gets canceled, that is pretty mentally exhausting because you’re trying to get yourself ready to race all day long,” Ligety said. “On a day like today I think it is pretty easy to blow off and get ready for the next day.”
Find out what Ted is doing with his eyewear company, Shred, home life with three kids and advice he has for aspiring racers in the video interview.