Halftime’s over: Time for the GS | VailDaily.com

Halftime’s over: Time for the GS

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” That was a nice break from Birds of Prey.

We got a day off with Saturday’s snow, and we hope everyone had a powder day.

The super-G is now on Monday at 10 a.m. In the meantime, we turn our attention to the giant slalom today. The first run is at 9:45 a.m., with the second at 12:45 p.m. The top-30 from the first run go in reverse order of finish in the second run.

Most importantly, the two-run format gives reporters time to get lunch between heats, and we’re sure all of you were very concerned about that important detail. (One cannot write on an empty stomach.)

We do have a forecast of snow showers for the morning, but expect this race to go. As opposed to super-G, GS involves a shorter course ” thus there is less snow to clear and ” lower on the hill ” making visibility better.

And you’ve got to figure that everyone wants to get this in even if the racers have to do powder-8s to make it happen.

What to look for today:

Weather: Weather.com says a high of 31 degrees, which makes for the low-20s at the finish area. There is a chance of snow until noon, but nothing like we saw Saturday.

Birds of Prey defending champ: Massimiliano Blardone (Italy).

Past champions: Lasse Kjus (2004) and Bode Miller (2005); Kjus also won the 1999 World Championship GS in Vail.

GS stats: The race starts at 10,351 feet and drops 1,424 feet to 8,928 feet. The course is 4,970 feet long.

Number of racers: 65.

Intervals: Pumphouse, Screech Owl and The Abyss

Look out on the GS: The Pumphouse has yet to rear its head this week, and racers have it straight out of the gate. The Abyss is always a factor in a Birds of Prey GS. We also issue our standard warning of keeping one’s speed on the lower part of the course.

Americans (bib numbers): Miller (1), Ted Ligety (6), Erik Schlopy (27), Steven Nyman (35), Dane Spencer (37) and Jake Zamansky (45).

Bode leading off: Very interesting. If the weather’s rough, it’s usually better to go first. Advantage Bode. Then again, Bode does his own thing. In 2005, it was downright nasty, Bode skied all over the course and still ended up winning.

Favorites: Bode in the No. 1 spot is very appealing. This is Ligety’s type of race, too. Blardone’s the defending the champ here, and second in the discipline. Benjamin Raich was third in the GS behind Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal.

Dark horses: Watch for Canada’s John Kucera and Italy’s Daniel Simoncelli. Also Schlopy’s raced well here before. Kalle Palander of Finland has a good history here.

Staff picks:

Freud: Blardone.

Cropp: Palander.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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