American Nyman ready for Birds of Prey downhill, eyes on World Championships in Are, Sweden
BEAVER CREEK — With 16 years on the U.S. Ski Team, Steven Nyman says he has the most mileage of anyone on the circuit on the Birds of Prey racecourse at Beaver Creek.
“I’ve spent a lot of miles on this hill, and I’m comfortable and confident with it,” he said of racing on this course as well as training throughout the years.
On Friday, Nov. 30, the 36-year-old American from Utah will once again be in the start gate for the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS World Cup downhill.
“It’s awesome,” Nyman said after training on Wednesday, Nov. 28. “The course just flows well, the jumps are so fun and when the crowd gets going — that’s the best to get across the finish line.”
In Lake Louise, Alberta, to start the season, Nyman finished 11th in the downhill, leading the Americans.
Peaking for Worlds?
Nyman said he’s feeling much better at Birds of Prey this year compared to last year, when he was fresh off an ACL injury.
“I thought I could join in with the crew in November and get up to speed quickly and that was not the case,” he said. “Skiing pretty much all last year was scary, skiing on a leg and a half.”
At “about 90 percent” healthy, Nyman is focused on a solid campaign leading up to the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden, a course he’s found success on and where he found the start gates for his first World Championships.
“That course spoke to me, immediately,” he said. “The World Cup finals I was leading and I crashed right before the finish, which was a confidence builder for me actually, knowing I could compete.”
Nyman likens the snow at Are to the snow that falls in Colorado, “very dry, grippy snow.”
“I’m excited to get back there,” he said of Are. “I have Swedish blood, so I’ve always felt at home there. I have a lot of friends in Are. I’m fired up and that’s definitely a big focus of mine.”
With snow in the forecast for Beaver Creek and softer surfaces than usual on the World Cup circuit, Nyman is expecting to find harder, more reliable surfaces throughout the season.
“As the season goes on and a deeper winter approaches, I think we’ll reach harder snow and I can start refining that stuff,” he said, “and hopefully it brings me to a peak around Worlds.”
Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.