The lowdown on the super-G
BEAVER CREEK – OK, super-G time at 11 a.m., and we’ve got two questions.
Is it going to snow and who’s going to win?
This is about the only time locals don’t want it to snow, aside from, say, July. Weather.com forecast 1-3 inches Friday night and has 3-5 more for today. (Your mileage may vary because some of our recent weather reports haven’t been close.) Maybe we can have one of those storms that skips Beaver Creek and dumps about 2 feet on Vail? Though the resorts are so close, there can be variation in snowfall, though maybe not to that extreme.
Having snow also affects the race. If we’ve got something moving in as the race begins, give the advantage to the guys with single-digit bib numbers.
As for who’s going to win the race, super-G at Beaver Creek and Birds of Prey always seems to be a wild-card race. For neophytes to ski racing, remember that the field has been training the downhill course, not the super-G one, and the athletes only get to inspect the course this morning.
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We had three-straight first-time winners on tour from 2003-05. Austria’s Georg Streitberger won last year and that was only the second win of his career. The regular names should be in the hunt, but a surprise today will not be a surprise.
Facts, figures and picks follow:
Weather: Snow or no snow, it’s going to be cold, people. Weather.com is forecasting a high of 19 degrees. That puts it in the low teens at Red Tail. Coffee and hot chocolate sales should be brisk.
Birds of Prey super-G champs: Hermann Maier (1997, 1998); Maier and Lasse Kjus (tie, 1999 Worlds); Fredrik Nyberg (2000), Didier Cuche (2002), Bjarne Solbakken (2003), Stefan Goergl (2004) and Hannes Reichelt (2005, 2007), Aksel Lund Svindal (2008) and Georg Streitberger (2010)
Super-G stats: As opposed the downhill, the racers start lower on the mountain just after The Brink at 10,948 feet. It drops 2,004 feet to Red Tail. The course is 6,165 feet long.
Intervals: Pumphouse, Golden Eagle and The Abyss.
Look out in the super-G: The Talon is right out of the gate for super-G, and that can be a whopper. A clean run through Russi’s Ride is a must. Depending on the course set, check out how the racers control and/or are thrown through the final three jumps, Golden Eagle, Harrier and Red Tail.
Americans (bib number): Bode Miller (9), Tommy Ford (31), Ted Ligety (32), Andrew Weibrecht (34), Marco Sullivan (37), Ryan Cochran-Siegle (39), Thomas Biesemeyer (41), Travis Ganong (52), Will Gregorak (58), Tim Jitloff (65).
Favorites: Switzerland’s Didier Cuche (22) was last year’s World Cup super-G champ, and he’ll be looking for a bit of a bounce-back from Friday’s downhill, not that ninth place is a reason for crying in your beer. Streitberger (12) was No. 2 in the rankings, and, as noted, is your defending champ. Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic (16), better known for his tech skills, was third in super-G last year and that helped him to the overall. Austria’s Reichelt (19) is a two-time winner here as well. If you’re wondering, Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal (11) won the first super-G of the season up in Canada last weekend.
Dark horses: Strange to put Miller here, but after he won Friday’s downhill, he was talking about how he’s struggled at Beaver Creek in this discipline. Back in 2004, he took second here, but he has two DNFs, a 30th in 2007 and 14th in 2008. Ligety had a seventh-place finish a few years ago on this snow and skied very well in the downhill Friday. Switzerland’s Carlo Janka (21) and Austria’s Romed Baumann (17) and Benni Raich (10) could be heard from before we’re done.
Staff picks (please no wagering):
First off, we must admit that we are in the presence of greatness. Lauren Glendenning, goddess of the slopes, nailed it Friday with her Bode Miller pick. We think she walks on water, too. (Actually, she does. It’s called snow.)
On a humbler note, Sports Editor Chris Freud did not have his pick hit by a bus outside his hotel before he even got to the slopes. He had Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, who finished a very respectable fifth.
Chris Freud: Cuche.
Lauren Glendenning: The clairvoyant one is going with Svindal.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.