Is it newbie or legend to take the crown in Birds of Prey super-G?
BEAVER CREEK — So can you name the six ski racers who made the Birds of Prey super-G their first World Cup win?
Of course you can.
They are Norway’s Bjarne Solbakken (2003), Austria’s Stephan Goergl (2004), Austria’s Hannes Reichelt (2005), Switzerland’s Sandro Viletta (2011), Italy’s Matteo Marsaglia (2012) and Switzerland’s Vincent Kriechmayr (2017).
Reichelt’s win in 2005 launched a career, and history seems to be repeating itself with Kriechmayr. The other five are answers to a trivia question
Will it be No. 7 on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup at 11 a.m.? Will the race happen? We’re typing this at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1, and it’s dumping.
We put our faith in Beaver Creek and the Talon Crew, and return to the subject.
Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who has some credibility with 16 career super-G wins including the 2008 Birds of Prey title, hypothesized a while ago that first-timers break through in the discipline because they are willing to take chances for that first win. Meanwhile, the veterans sometimes pull back to stay upright on a tough course set and collect the points by finishing.
Despite six newbies at Beaver Creek, there also iconic names on the Birds of Prey super-G winners’ list. Herman Maier has won thrice, including the historic tie with Norway’s Lasse Kjus at the 1999 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Switzerland’s Carlo Janka is on the list. The Ice Man won it in 2009 as part of his three-day sweep (super-combined and giant slalom). Marcel Hirscher’s only speed win was the 2015 super-G, and his place in skiing history is pretty much cemented.
Newbie or legend? We find out on Saturday.
• It’s a one-run race. Super-G is run on a shorter course than downhill and has gates. The kicker is that racers don’t train with the gates in place. They only get to inspect where they are on the morning of the race.
• The super-G starts with the Talons Turn, and is 1.16 miles long — DH is 1.62 miles, by comparison. The course drops 1,991 feet and winning times are roughly 1 minute, 10 seconds.
When previewing the downhill, we told you this was a fool’s errand. None of our distinguished panel took Beat Feuz in the downhill. Not to toot somebody’s horn, but Sports Editor Chris Freud got the closest with Svindal, who was third.
As always, this is for entertainment purposes only. No gambling, please.
Freud: I’m sentimental and go with Reichelt.
Shauna Farnell, ski-writing goddess: She’s sentimental, too, and takes Reichelt.
Ross Leonhart, Vail Daily: Going with Svindal.
Pat Graham, Associated Press, Denver: He takes the defending champ Kriechmayr.
John LaConte, Vail Daily: He makes all our picks whether Austrian or Norwegian with Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud.