World Cup Notebook: Birds of Prey World Cup races cleared for takeoff in December, Mikaela Shiffrin races in Levi Saturday
Races get green light for Dec. 2-4
Birds of Prey race schedule
- Friday, Dec. 2, 10:15 a.m. – Downhill
- Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – Downhill
- Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. – Super-G
It’s official — the International Ski and Snowboard Federation on Friday gave the green light for the Xfinity Birds of Prey World Cup scheduled for Dec. 2-4 in Beaver Creek.
As with every stop on the World Cup, each mountain must pass “snow control” ahead of the races to ensure course quality. Beaver Creek has enjoyed cold temperatures and early-season snow and will be opening early next week ahead of the races.
“Xfinity Birds of Prey is always an exciting time for our community. We are honored to be a part of a very small group that has been hosting World Cups for 55 years,” said Sarah Franke, vice president of operations and marketing for the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, which organizes the event each year. “Although Mother Nature gave a little help this year, all credit and thanks go to our longtime partner Vail Resorts, and their amazing and dedicated Beaver Creek Mountain Operations team. It is looking beautiful up at the race course and we are looking forward to welcoming back the world’s fastest men on skis.”
The races were moved up to 10:15 a.m on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the European T.V. viewing schedule, which will be broadcasting two World Cup soccer games before and after the Birds of Prey races, media chief Ross Leonhart explained. Considering the 45-minute long estimated commute from the parking lot to the venue, fans hoping to catch the finish line in person are encouraged to plan accordingly.
Beaver Creek Village comes alive during Xfinity Birds of Prey with a jam-packed weekend of events. Races are free to spectate from the finish area and, new this year, a live watch party will be set up in the heart of the village on the ice rink (which will be covered).
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“We’re really activating the village this year, giving people another opportunity,” Leonhart said. Food and drink will be available, as will sponsor expos, and a live DJ will get the party started each day at 9 a.m. before switching over to the live race feeds.
The weekend also includes a Stifel U.S. Alpine Team Signing, free live music, a visit from Santa, Beers of Prey, fireworks, the Pumphouse Bar, sponsor activations and much more. A full schedule of festivities can be found at BCWorldcup.com/Festivities.
“That’s a big part of Birds of Prey, too,” Leonhart said. “It’s all about the ski racing but then we have all these festivities for people to get excited and celebrate the start of winter here.”
Shiffrin kicks off overall globe defense on Saturday in Levi
Mikaela Shiffrin, the defending women’s Alpine ski overall globe winner, will begin her 2022-23 season on Saturday and Sunday with two World Cup slalom events in Levi (FIN). The first run is at 2 a.m. MST on both days. Shiffrin, who broke the all-time wins record in a single discipline (47) last season, has more records to chase right out of the gate. A win would equal the women’s record for consecutive seasons with at least one World Cup victory (11). Even a podium would break a tie with Lindsey Vonn (66, downhill), for the most women’s World Cup podiums in a single discipline.
Her main competition will likely come from Petra Vlhova, the defending slalom crystal globe winner. the 27-year-old from Slovakia has won the last four World Cup slaloms in Levi, and five total at the venue. That’s tied with Anja Parson (Maribor) and Shiffrin (Killington) for the most slalom wins at any one location.
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Coverage: FIS World Cups (alpine, cross country, freestyle, snowboard, and freeski) held in the United States.
Cost: $4.99/month with commercials; $9.99/month without
Coverage: FIS World Cups (alpine, cross country, freestyle, snowboard, and freeski) held in the United States plus Austrian World Cup events.
Cost: $12.99/month (current special, up to $15.99/month starting in November). Can also select sport-specific passes ($8.99/month) or per race ($1.99).
Coverage: International FIS World Cup events except those held in Austria.
On TV: NBC/CNBC
“NBC platforms will also broadcast all eight domestic FIS World Cups for the 2022-23 season. NBC will present 19 hours of coverage for the domestic World Cup event’s across their multiple platforms, including live and tape-delayed coverage on NBC, CNBC and simulcasted on Peacock,” per the U.S. Ski and Snowboard press release.