Once more with feeling, the men’s super-G today | VailDaily.com

Once more with feeling, the men’s super-G today

The biggest development of Wednesday at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships was that the weather people got it right.

Seriously, people, how often do meteorologists actually get it right?

“We’re expecting 2-3 feet of snow,” says the weather person, and zilch or it’s a measly 1-2 inches.

Seriously, if this sports-writing thing doesn’t work out, I’ve considered becoming a weather man.

Freud’s forecast for October through May in Eagle County: “It may snow. It may not. Why are you asking me?”

That would be a good living.

Instead, we go back to covering ski racing with the men’s super-G, take two.

Your defending champion at Worlds remains Ted Ligety (Bib No. 3). He is a longshot to repeat, but the Birds of Prey super-G is more technical than most, so it suits “Shred” better than most. That said, he has not cracked the podium here, finishing fourth, fifth and 11th the past three years here during the regular Birds of Prey World Cup stop.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud (17) is the man to watch. He won the Olympic super-G last year in Russia. Can he join Austria’s Anna Fenninger as a double winner of Olympic and Worlds super-G within a 12-month period?

Jansrud, by the by, leads the World Cup in super-G points, finished second at Beaver Creek, despite a major bobble, in December and was the fastest in training on Tuesday.

Italy’s Dominik Paris (20) won the Kitzbuehel, Austria, super-G before everyone came to town, and Austria’s Hannes Reichelt (19) is the defending Birds of Prey super-G champ.

Today’s race

The lowdown on the men’s super-G:

Format: One run with the fastest time winning, as long as you stay within the gates. Racers will get an inspection of the course, but not ski it before the race.

Course numbers: The regular super-G start on Birds of Prey starts at 10,995 feet and drops 2,201 feet during a mere 1.04 miles.

Weather: Looking much better today with highs in the low-40s and mostly sunny.

Notable winners of yore in super-G here: Norway’s Lasse Kjus and Hermann Maier shared the gold during the 1999 Worlds. Maier also won in 1997. Fredrik Nyberg, of Norway, took it in 2000, snapping the Herminator’s streak of seven wins in as many starts at Beaver Creek. Reichelt has won three times here, including the first World Cup win of his career in 2005.

Things to know

Watch out: The Screech Owl Turn is right out of the gate, and that has traditionally been a tough spot. Maintaining the balance of speed and control through the course’s last three jumps, Golden Eagle, Harrier and Redtail is always key. The Abyss, between Golden Eagle and Harrier, tends to throw racers off course.

Favorites: In addition to Jansrud, Paris and Reichelt, Switzerland’s Patrick Kueng (16) and Austria’s Georg Streitberger (14) have wins here. Austrian’s Otmer Streidinger (18) and Matthias Mayer (21) should be in the mix.

Dark horses: There are two racers, Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal (15) and Bode Miller (9), making their return from injury. Could they pull the rabbit out of the hat? Ligety also has to be in this category.

Americans (bib number): Ligety (3), Miller (9), Andrew Weibrecht (12), Travis Ganong (23) and Steve Nyman (29). The mathematically astute will have determined that there are five, not four, Americans in the race. If a nation has the defending champ — Ligety — said champ automatically qualifies and does not count against the nation’s four entries.

The picks: Our gurus did OK, all going with Lindsey Vonn on Tuesday. If you haven’t heard, she won bronze. Today, Vail Daily sports editor Chris Freud and the paper’s ski goddess Shauna Farnell take Reichelt. Pat Graham, of AP Denver, goes with Miller.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.