Birds of Prey names new course areas for Miller, Rahlves
BEAVER CREEK — The Birds of Prey racecourse in Beaver Creek has two newly named segments.
As part of the Saturday, Dec. 2’s celebration honoring American ski greats Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, Beaver Creek, in conjunction with the Vail Valley Foundation named two portions of the course for them.
The section between Peregrine and Russi’s Ride is now Rahlves’ Roll. The area between the Golden Eagle and Harrier jumps is Miller’s Revenge.
Miller and Rahlves were surprised by their new course segments in a ceremony before Saturday’s World Cup downhill.
Rahlves and Miller share the podium(s)
Rahlves was the first American to win at Beaver Creek during a rescheduled downhill from Val d’Isere, France, in 2003. That win began a chain reaction of the two winning the Birds of Prey downhill three straight years from 2004-06.
In 2004, Miller and Rahlves went 1-2 in the downhill. In 2005, the Americans played a game of “Flip the Podium.” Rahlves accurately predicted that he would reverse the order of that’s year’s downhill. He was true to his word as the Northern California native took the top step with Miller nabbing silver.
The very next day, Miller and Rahlves traded places with the Franconia, New Hampshire, racer winning gold in giant slalom and Rahlves in second.
After Rahlves retired following the 2005-06 season, Miller won the downhill again here in December 2006. Miller wasn’t done, capping his Birds of Prey career with a final downhill win in 2011 and a surprise second-place finish in GS in 2013.
Miller finished second behind Ted Ligety, making for the first 1-2 American finish in a Birds of Prey World Cup since the 2005 Miller-Rahlves giant slalom.
Rahlves’ Roll is in a critical part of the downhill course just before Russi’s Ride, which often shakes racers, causing them to lose time.
Rahlves was one of the best in the tuck, using his sturdy frame to glide, so that is apropos.
Miller’s Revenge is a spot on the course that has caused mayhem for many, including Miller himself. Between Golden Eagle and Harrier jumps, this section was part of Bode’s wild ride in his 2005 GS win. He defied physics with his ability to stay upright during those two runs.
Combined, Miller and Rahlves had six World Cup wins at Beaver Creek.
Miller, who finally retired in November, had 33 World Cup wins, two World Cup championships, four gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and six Olympic medals. He is considered the best all-around American men’s skier of his generation.
Rahlves is the best downhiller in American history with 12 World Cup wins, nine in downhill. He was the 2001 super-G world champion. While Worlds are huge, there is no greater stage than Kitzbuehel, Austria, where he won the downhill in 2003 and the super-G in 2004.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.