Birds of Prey World Cup downhill: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde victorious again
Norwegian speed specialist claims top podium spot for second consecutive day
Different discipline, same course, same result.
A day after winning in super-G on the challenging Birds of prey course at Beaver Creek, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde skied an aggressive line to capture Saturday’s downhill for his second straight World Cup win.
Kilde had surgery to repair a torn ACL less than a year ago, but you wouldn’t know it watching the 2020 World Cup champion tear down the course Friday and Saturday
The 19th skier out of the gate Saturday, Kilde grabbed the early lead with a time of 1 minute, 39.63 seconds, and his mark was never matched. Austria’s Matthias Mayer was second, 0.66 seconds back followed by Switzerland’s Beat Feuz a full 1.01 seconds back. The top American was Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who held the early lead after skiing second, but finished in sixth.
For the two-time Olympian Kilde, it is his eighth World Cup victory and 22nd podium. The 10-year veteran of the World Cup won the overall season title back in 2020, but is still in search of his first world championship and Olympic medal with the Beijing Winter Games just two months away. His resume also includes a super-G season crown from 2016.
Feuz and Mayer are familiar names on World Cup downhill podiums. The 34-year old Feuz, who made ESPN headlines two weeks ago for lamenting about a second consecutive Olympics being held in a country lacking in traditional enthusiasm for skiing, is the four-time defending season downhill globe winner. Mayer won the 2014 Olympic gold medal in the downhill and another gold medal in the super-G in 2018. He snagged a podium earlier in Beaver Creek with his second-place super-G finish on Thursday but narrowly missed out Friday with a fourth-place result.
American Travis Ganong, who flew to a third-place finish in Friday’s World Cup super-G, ended his day in 24th. Veteran Steve Nyman continued to bely his age with an 18th place showing, tying another veteran in search of World Cup win No. 1, 40-year old Johan Clarey. Clarey was second in the downhill at Birds of Prey in 2020. The three-time French Olympian has not discussed any retirement plans, and will continue striving for that elusive top step of the podium in tomorrow’s bonus downhill event. Bryce Bennett, Jared Goldberg, Erik Arvidsson, were 22nd 36th and 38th, respectively to round out the American contingent.
Fifty-eight skiers took the course, revered on the World Cup circuit for its challenging technical sections under a Colorado bluebird sky. Designed by Swiss Olympic downhill champion Bernhard Russi, the challenging course begins at 11,427 feet and forces racers to navigate 1.7 miles of track descending some 2,500 feet in elevation. Racers hit speeds above 80 miles an hour and soar through the air on six jumps on course — including traveling some 140 feet through the air on the Golden Eagle jump. Earlier in the day, a ceremony for Birds of Prey legend and Olympic champion Ted Ligety took place to dedicate a section of track named in his honor — “Ligety’s Legacy.”
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Norway – 1:39.63
Matthias Mayer, Austria – 1:40.29
Beat Feuz, Switzerland – 1:40.64
6. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, 1:40.87
18. Steve Nyman, 1:41.50
22. Bryce Bennett, 1:41.61
24. Travis Ganong, 1:41.67
36. Jared Goldberg, 1:42.38
38. Erik Arvidsson, 1:42.56