World Cup week getting underway in Beaver Creek |

World Cup week getting underway in Beaver Creek

A World Cup sign as seen from Beaver Creek village on Sunday; the village this week will be converted into a sporting-event atmosphere for the Xfinity Birds of Prey World Cup, which is scheduled to begin with training runs on Tuesday.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

The fastest men on skis are set to arrive in Beaver Creek on Monday, with World Cup training scheduled to start Tuesday.

The main event – Beaver Creek’s Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup – will start Friday, running through Sunday, with two downhills and a super-G race set to take place.

The event represents the highest level of competition out of an Olympic or World Championships race, but in Beaver Creek, the venue is also a well-known World Championship track, considered among the finest downhills in the world.

Beaver Creek last hosted a World Championship in February of 2015, and this weekend the venue will attempt to recapture some of that 2015 atmosphere by converting the ice rink in Beaver Creek Village into a viewing area.

Preparations were already underway on Sunday, with signage throughout the village letting guests know it’s World Cup week.

Support Local Journalism

“Want to hang in Beaver Creek Village and still watch the races? We’ve got you covered this year,” said Ross Leonhart, media chief of the races for the local organizing committee Vail Valley Foundation.

“In addition to the electric atmosphere at the Red Tail Stadium finish area, which is free to spectate from, we’re looking forward to Beaver Creek Village serving as another hub for race action with the Live Watch Party on the covered ice rink each day of the races,” Leonhart said.

The other option is the venue itself, known as the Red Tail Stadium. Entrance to the stadium and shuttle access to the venue are both free from Beaver Creek Village.

A look toward the Red Tail run on Sunday at Beaver Creek. The resort’s nearby Birds of Prey race track is set to host the fastest men on skis starting with training runs on Tuesday. Event competition takes place Friday to Sunday.
John LaConte/Vail Daily

Leonhart said there’s still no word on the possibility for on-snow access to the Red Tail Stadium finish area; occasionally it’s accessible on skis for guests, if there’s enough coverage to get to the bottom of the venue and back to the village. Beaver Creek reported 2 inches of fresh snow to start the ski day on Sunday, bringing the total accumulation this season to 53 inches this season.

But temperatures have been cold, which has made for good snowmaking conditions. The Birds of Prey race track had no problem receiving approval from the International Ski Federation earlier this month.

A coaches meeting is scheduled for Monday night, and the first day of on-snow training on the Birds of Prey track is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. Like the main event, training is also able to be viewed from Red Tail stadium by catching a shuttle from Beaver Creek Village.

In discussing the venue with event organizers the Vail Valley Foundation, former race winner Daron Rahlves – who has notched the fastest time on the Birds of Prey downhill track – said the training runs were always a big wake-up call for athletes.

“Ultimately, the demands of looking for speed on this hill and the consequences woke up all World Cup athletes on the first day of inspection and training,” Rahlves said. ”It’s a big price to pay if you’re off the timing into a turn or jump.”

Friday’s downhill competition is scheduled to start at 10:15 a.m., and Saturday’s downhill and Sunday’s super-G are scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

Support Local Journalism