Many mistakes on super G course
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK – As snow fell on the Birds of Prey super-G course Saturday, many World Cup ski racers had trouble skiing clean runs and several ended up hitting gates or just skiing off course and missing gates all together.
The problem section of the course was Pete’s Arena, up at the very top of the course, for many of the earliest starters. Austrian Matthias Mayer, who started sixth, went off course in an area that would give Friday’s downhill winner Bode Miller trouble just a few minutes later.
Miller made a big mistake in Pete’s Arena and looked as though he was going to miss his next gate but made a dramatic recovery – the time lost was too much to make up farther down the course, though. Miller ended up finishing 21st.
Austrian Georg Streitberger, who won the Birds of Prey super-G last year, hit a gate and did not finish, proving that many strong skiers were struggling here Saturday.
Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who held the lead for a while early on but ended up finishing second, said he didn’t ski the top very cleanly, either. He said he had some mistakes, but nothing big.
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American Ted Ligety skied off-course just a few gates into the race. He said he had hoped for a top 10 super-G finish.
“There’s just a small compression and it’s grippy snow, and I was trying to be clean and got off line and hooked it up,” Ligety said, adding that visibility wasn’t “super dark, but it’s not great.”
Pete’s Arena, a steep section of the Birds of Prey course, is technical section. American Will Gregorak, who had a clean run through Pete’s Arena, said it’s an easy area to make mistakes. Another problem area on the course is The Abyss, which claimed a few skiers Saturday, too.
Out of 70 racers, 15 didn’t finish. There weren’t any big crashes, everyone just skied off-course or missed gates.
For the guys who skied the course well, the tactics for getting through problem areas were different.
Swiss skier Didier Cuche, who finished 9th, had a clean run and said the snow was “really grippy.”
“You have to be gentle with the snow and find the right touch,” Cuche said.
Italian Christof Innerhofer finished 13th and didn’t have any problems through Pete’s Arena, but it was because he said he didn’t risk too much.
“The top is every time really difficult,” Innerhofer said. “Because it’s steep and bumpy in the middle of the gates. Some guys risk too much, so they miss the gates. I had risked less.”
While visibility wasn’t terrific Saturday, most skiers said it wasn’t horrible, either. Plus, the snow never let up at all throughout the race, making it an even playing field for each racer.
“It’s kind of an equalizer because nobody can see,” said American Andrew Weibrecht, who had a strong run and finished 10th. “It’s consistent for everybody.”
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.