Vail Daily view: Birds of Prey 2008: Wow!
Vail, CO, Colorado
Another Birds of Prey World Cup ski race has come and gone.
Hosting a World Cup ski race represents a lot of work, on and off the piste. Volunteers and members of the Vail Valley Foundation work tirelessly to make the annual event a success. In the newsroom, it’s something to look forward to during the fall and an event that taxes the staff to the max.
The entire newsroom at the Vail Daily ” our sports guys are only a sliver of those involved at the Daily ” goes full throttle during the Birds of Prey week to keep ahead of all the local, national and international press that descends on the Vail Valley during the races.
Of course, the reporters and photographers and such take a back seat to the racers, the people who put on the races and the weather. Ah, the weather ” there’s a big part of the story this year.
Before the races even started, the forecast called for big snow, so the downhill training runs were moved up a day. And in those training runs, Bode Miller was the fastest.
There’s a story.
On the second day, snow kept racers from practicing. Even so, press conferences were held despite the lack of a second training day.
The third day, the super combined was canceled due to too much snow on the course. Too bad for the races, but a big story for Beaver Creek Resort and Colorado skiing. Too much powder for the World Cup. Bummer! (Wink, wink.)
Finally, the racing action. Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal took both the downhill race and the super-G on Friday and Saturday. The man who suffered a season-ending injury at last year’s Birds of Prey downhill practice comes storming back the next year to win two events in a row. Phenomenal. (And not bad for NBC’s rebroadcast the next Sunday afternoon opposite NFL football games).
And a podium finish in super-G for Hermann Maier, a true legend in ski racing and Birds of Prey perennial favorite, coming back from a devastating motorcycle crash in the offseason and rehabbing himself skiing the slopes of Chile, yet another great story.
The final day, American Ted Ligety won the first run of the giant slalom race and came in one-hundredth of a second behind Austrian Benni Raich. That translates to a couple of inches over a course that’s nearly a mile long.
What a great day for the Americans ” Ligety showing the world what it means to be a class act, even in such a close defeat.
Stay tuned for the next Birds of Prey, Dec. 3 through 6, 2009. We’ll be there, too.
Vail Daily Editorial Board