Birds of Prey course is ready for business
BEAVER CREEK — After a day’s wait, Birds of Prey 2017 is good to go.
At Tuesday, Nov. 28’s captains’ meeting, a gathering of International Ski Federation (FIS) officials and national team representatives, all involved set the first session of downhill training for Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 11:45 a.m.
France’s Adrien Theaux has the honors of getting bib No. 1.
After warm temperatures canceled last year’s races in Beaver Creek and some challenging weather conditions this fall, the races are on schedule.
“Last year, we were so disappointed we couldn’t have you join us. We are so excited to have you back,” Beaver Creek’s Greg Johnson, Birds of Prey’s chief of race, said. “The coaches who were up on the hill, I think you saw a course in phenomenal shape.”
The need for new skis
And in a nod to the icy conditions desired by World Cup racers, Johnson added, “And I need some sharper skis.”
In addition to Wednesday’s training, FIS and Beaver Creek announced a second training run for Thursday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m.
While one training run is a necessity to holding a downhill, which is set for Saturday, Dec. 2, it looks like Beaver Creek will be able to have the ideal scenario of two training runs.
“Welcome to Beaver Creek,” said Markus Waldner, FIS’ chief race director. “We are extremely happy to be back after last year’s cancellation. We’ve been on the course this afternoon, and it’s really, really good.”
FIS officials were profuse in their thanks to the Talon Crew, Ski &Snowboard Club Vail, the Vail Valley Foundation as well as Beaver Creek’s staff for their efforts in making the racecourse ready for the world’s best.
After administrative matters were completed, representatives for the top 30 ranked racers picked starting spots.
Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won last weekend’s downhill up in Lake Louise, Alberta, is going No. 7. Defending World Cup downhill champion, Peter Fill, of Italy, is lucky No. 13. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud, goes No. 15. He won the World Cup super-G title last winter and last week’s super-G in Canada.
Steve Nyman is the first of the American contingent to race at No. 8. All eyes will be on the Provo, Utah, native. He competed in training last week in Lake Louise, but did not race, coming off a knee injury last season.
Travis Ganong goes No. 18 and Bryce Bennett 28th.
Aspen’s Wiley Maple is No. 53; Sam Morse No. 57; Thomas Biesemeyer No. 65; Andrew Weibrecht No. 67; Ryan Cochran-Siegle No. 77 and Ted Ligety No. 81.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.