Skiers still dissecting course conditions on Sunday |

Skiers still dissecting course conditions on Sunday

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
BOP Maier GS KA 12-07-08

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” With all the talk about course conditions during the week at the Birds of Prey, it seemed like Sunday would be the day for all the chatter to end.

Not so fast.

Despite sunny skies and balmy temperatures, the course continued to be dissected by skiers after the giant slalom. Second-place finisher Ted Ligety said the second setup for the GS acted more like a super-G. The faster track could’ve favored bigger competitors like Askel Lund Svindal and eventual winner, Benni Raich.

“It was a super-G up there,” Ligety said. “It was way faster than I normally like. Especially on that last pitch, people were going straight down that thing. There were less turns than in the super-G. It was tough for me to totally succeed, that’s not my specialty. But, it’s a good day.”

Ligety dominated the first run, and took a 0.56-second lead into the finals. Unfortunately for him, he lost time in the lower portion of the course and finished second by 0.01 seconds. Coincidentally or not, the bottom of the course is where it straightened out the most and allowed the bigger skiers to pick up speed. I

ronically, after Saturday’s super-G ” where Ligety finished a surprising seventh place ” skiers complained that it was more like a downhill.

Numbers game

Apparently, one of the spectators at the Birds of Prey is a math-wiz. After Ligety finished 0.01 seconds behind Raich, the fan started to crunch the numbers. After a few quick calculations, it was determined that the 0.01 deficit translated to 5.7 centimeters. That’s how close the giant slalom was on Sunday.

When Ligety was told how close it was on the bus ride down from Red Tail, he turned to a friend and held up his fingers the approximate distance apart with a look of disbelief on his face.

The Herminator

Fans did their best on Sunday to wish Hermann Maier a happy 36th birthday, but unfortunately it wasn’t the best day for the Austrian. On his first run in the giant slalom, Maier lost control and skied out of bounds to end his stay at Beaver Creek.

“The run was bad, but fast,” Maier said. “The upper section, I wasn’t very behind. After the Golden Eagle, I went out.”

All week, Maier was questioned about whether or not he would race in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Maier couldn’t commit either way, saying thinking that far ahead made his brain hurt.

Disappearing Bode

Reporters who happily chatted with Bode Miller after he won downhill training were left stranded the rest of the week. Miller spent six minutes with the media on Tuesday, and one reporter guessed it was the most time he spent talking to reporters in three years.

That’s as good as it got for reporters in regards to talking to the World Cup overall champ. After each his three disappointing finishes at Beaver Creek, Miller didn’t talk with the press.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

Support Local Journalism