Seven inches of snow forces cancellation of super combined
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Mother Nature 2, World Cup 0 ” just in case you’re scoring at home.
For the second consecutive day, weather forced the cancellation of the Birds of Prey. On Thursday, the super combined was wiped out, only a day after weather did the same to the second training run for the downhill.
The Birds of Prey super combined has been moved to Val d’Isere, France, next Friday in the form of a super-G and a giant slalom, the International Ski Federation’s Guenter Hujara announced during Thursday’s captain’s meeting in Beaver Creek.
If all goes well, today’s downhill race at 11 a.m. will be the first official race of the 2008 Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek.
“I think we will have the downhill (today),” Guenter Hujara, F.I.S. Chief of Race, said. “I’m very sure.”
For that to happen, crews will need the clear seven inches of snow a storm dropped on the race course Wednesday night and Thursday. If they aren’t able to get the course ready for race conditions, it won’t be for lack of effort.
On Thursday night, 250 course workers were working to get the course in shape. Today, race officials plan to up the number of volunteers to 300, while bringing in 20 snow cats and 7 winch cats.
“It’s an amazing effort, what they’ve done,” John Garnsey, COO of Beaver Creek, said. “The interesting thing is, they have a lot of experience because they do it every year. The last couple of years, we’ve had the same storm cycles. They are kind of experienced in it, unfortunately.”
Volunteers have already worked overtime this week, clearing nearly four feet of snow total off the course.
“These volunteers are coming from all over the world,” Garnsey said “They plan their vacations around this. They are committed, dedicated, passionate about ski racing. Particularly, this course. It’s a very unique and special course. It’s one of the toughest in the world. They are proud to be able to help create it.”
Unfortunately, course workers can’t do anything when Mother Nature decides to drop a large amount of snow on the area. Because of that, Thursday’s super combined won’t be made up at Beaver Creek.
“We’ve struggled for many, many years having races here, then going to Europe,” Hujara said. “If you have events too early after you have time adjustments, and adaptation, everything goes into a safety issue.”
F.I.S. officials decided before the week that no races would be moved to Monday, like in last year’s super-G. If the weather acts up overnight and the downhill can’t go, the race would likely be moved to Saturday or Sunday, wiping out either the currently scheduled super-G and giant slalom this weekend.
“I have to go for the best solution for all,” Hujara said. “What might hurt here, because there is no Monday, serves the best for the athletes and the World Cup.”
Weather.com predicted Avon to receive less than one inch of snow Thursday night. Today’s forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, with a high of 26.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.