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Birds of prey will fly … for now

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be freezing my butt off right now.

Sitting out on my deck in a T-shirt on a Sunday in late November is a comfortable feeling, albeit a bit unsettling.

If you’re worried about the Birds of Prey World Cup, let me quell some of the fear. In all likelihood, the course, from top to bottom, will be ready with some time to spare.

The races finish at Beaver Creek’s mid-mountain, which means lower temperatures that allow snowmaking on most nights. (Natural snow, as anyone who has been around the last few years knows, is more of an impediment to the course than anything). And even on warm, sunny days, like Sunday, the course is under some good shade cover.

While the races will be good to go this year, I don’t really know about what’s going to happen a few years from now, or for the rest of the World Cup season.

Global warming is potentially catastrophic for snow sports (not to mention the recreation industry), but, sadly, there isn’t a whole lot the sport alone can do to solve the problem. As many issues as their may be with other sports ” baseball and steroids, cycling and doping, tennis and match-fixing, soccer and hooliganism, football and insubordination ” they all see to have comparatively easy fixes. The biggest scandal is snow sports has been an Austrian skier riding in the buff and Bode Miller talking about getting tipsy.

So it seems almost unfair that winter sports are at the mercy of something that transcends the sport. I’m sure anyone who loves skiing or snowboarding will be the first to admit that warm winters and no snow would be near the bottom of their list of concerns if global warming continues.

You’d think that an issue of life-changing magnitude would command more action. After all, if the United States Congress felt the need to investigate steroids in baseball, there will surely be an uproar to save skiing, right?

– Barry Bonds’ problems never had anything to do with race. Simply put, the guy is a lying jerk. Bonds has forever and a day been a selfish ball player, not a teammate. He never stretches with the team, he ignores and insults the media and even disrespects his fans. Here’s how much of an ego the guy has: He could have avoided an indictment, which may send him to jail, if he had just told the truth. But Bonds decided to lie to a grand jury, even though he was granted immunity from being prosecuted. In a way, though, I’m glad he lied. If Bonds goes to jail, there will be a giant Asterix on his hole career: He won’t be going to the Hall of Fame.

There is only one Manny Ramirez, but Alex Rodriguez doesn’t think so. Last week, A-Rod did his best “Manny being Manny” impression when he came back to the Yankees after opting out of his contract. Super agent Scott Boras, who represents A-Rod, is terrible for sports, but I think I’d hire him if I were as good as A-Rod. Then again, I’d probably have hired the “Dream Team” if I had been O.J.

– Although it ran as smoothly as the Ukrainian Presidential Election in 2004, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s recent election put some fresh blood (not the kind with more red blood cells) into office when it chose John Fahey to replace Dick Pound Saturday.

Let’s hope Fahey, the former Australian finance minister who also helped his country secure the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, can help restore some dignity to sports worldwide. It wasn’t all that long ago when we were singing the endless praises of American track and field star Marion Jones and her five medals at the 2000 Olympics. I’m glad we knew that that she cheated, but I’d rather have found out a bit sooner, like when she was qualifying for those Olympics.

– In case you missed it, there was a pretty good football game on Sunday. Well, I guess we call it soccer. Major League Soccer’s championship match was exciting, as far as domestic soccer goes. But I’d much rather watch a 2-1 come-from-behind win then watch the Patriots go for it on 4th-an-1 with a 35 point lead.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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