U.S. Team leaves Beav with history in tow | VailDaily.com

U.S. Team leaves Beav with history in tow

Daily Staff Report

BEAVER CREEK – The U.S. Ski Team left the VISA Birds of Prey race week in Beaver Creek, the only domestic stop on the men’s alpine World Cup circuit, with one of its most successful weekends in history. It was a record the team’s president and CEO Bill Marolt says could easily have been missed had it not been for the world-class job by organizers tackling several feet of new snow in four days and running races on schedule.The U.S. Ski Team compiled two wins, five podiums and seven top-fives over four races, leaving Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller holding 2-3 in the overall World Cup standings. Rahlves’ win Friday marked the third straight year an American won a Birds of Prey Downhill. Rahlves and Miller combined for back-to-back 1-2 finishes in the downhill and giant slalom, while newcomer Ted Ligety scored his first podium Sunday in the slalom.”This was a great weekend for the U.S. Ski Team, no question,” said Marolt. “But this weekend would never have happened if we did not have such strong, heroic support from the professionals at Beaver Creek and the more than 1,000 volunteers coordinated by our race organizer, the Vail Valley Foundation.”Thursday night and Friday morning, Marolt and race officials were worried about having any racing at all. Heavy snow, blowing winds and mountain fog all seemed to conspire against the running of Friday’s downhill, and plagued all four races to some degree. Backup plans were already underway to replace valuable television slots on NBC and OLN.”We work in a sport that has many variables. Some of them are athletic and some of them are just Mother Nature,” said Marolt. “And it doesn’t always go the way you planned in athletics. This weekend took a great partnership – the athletic preparation of our U.S. Ski Team coaches and athletes, plus the skill and hard work of the organizers to make it happen. As an example, I felt that Saturday’s giant slalom was the best day I’ve ever seen for this men’s team in terms of everyone skiing to their potential. And we almost didn’t have that opportunity. It’s amazing to me that Beaver Creek was able to beat the weather and give our athletes that opportunity.”And honestly, the most emotional moment of the weekend for me was seeing Ted Ligety get on the podium Sunday, despite another blizzard.””Beaver Creek and VVF always do a great job and have truly gained the confidence of the FIS,” said USSA’s Vice President of Events Annette Royle. “So in weather situations such as we faced at the Birds of Prey, that confidence allows the FIS to work more effectively with the organizer to ensure that the race goes on and is conducted safely.”And one of the most exciting elements for us was that every day we had tremendous crowds of spectators who all got to see some of the greatest ski racing ever.”Miller, Rahlves and all the U.S. Ski Team athletes lauded organizers for their efforts. “If this wasn’t an exciting ski race for you, I don’t know what is,” said Miller Saturday. “I want to thank all the fans for coming out.”This weekend, the U.S. men head to Val d’Isere, France, to resume racing.Vail Colorado

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