U.S. Team ready for Beaver Creek
BEAVER CREEK -The men’s World Cup at Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek is less than two weeks away with training starting Dec. 2 and racing on Dec. 4
Fans can go to the Red Tail finish area as reigning Olympic combined gold medalist Ted Ligety and two-time World Cup overall champion Bode Miller cross the line to a pulsating roar from the crowd.
“There’s nothing like ripping Birds of Prey,” said Ligety, a three-time Birds of Preypodium finisher. “Beaver Creek is our only home game and the entire Team gets amped to perform in front of our friends and family. It’s not that often where the entire finish area is your cheering section.”
“My sister tells me the ‘Marco Rocks’ fan club will be rolling pretty deep again this year,” said Marco Sullivan. “They’ve rented three condos and will definitely be the 30-40 loudest people around that week.”
Birds of Prey opens with super combined on Dec. 4 followed by the downhill on Saturday before wrapping with Ligety’s bread and butter, the-giant slalom on Sunday. Super combined and downhill start at 11 a.m., with the GS at 9:45 a.m.
“Birds of Prey is the full package,” said men’s alpine head coach Sasha Rearick. “The guys are stoked to race in front of their fans and nobody puts together a World Cup event better than Beaver Creek. Plus the race hill is just awesome and includes every single aspect of modern downhill. From speed to turns to big air, it’s all there and is such a fun track for our guys to perform on.”
The team is priming for Birds throughout the Vail Valley and Colorado Rockies taking full advantage of excellent snow conditions at Vail, Copper Mountain and Loveland before moving to Lake Louise, Alberta, for the opening men’s World Cup speed races over Thanksgiving.
“The training has been awesome,” said Sullivan. “By the time we get to Birds, we’ll have two solid weeks under our belts in Colorado and a few races from Lake Louise before we crank things up in Beaver Creek.”
Longtime Birds of Prey chief of course Greg Johnson reports that more than 85 percentof snowmaking is completed with crews dozing the Golden Eagle Jump to the Red Tail finish Friday, then moving up to the Pumphouse turn over the weekend.
A men’s World Cup stop for 13 years, the U.S. Ski Team has a storied record of success in Beaver Creek with 15 podiums, including five wins since 2003. Miller accounts for three of those victories, plus an additional two top-three finishes, while Ligety, Steven Nyman and alpine veteran-turned-ski-cross ace Daron Rahlves are also Birds of Prey podium staples.
It has also been a launching pad for young racers’ careers as both Andrew Weibrecht and TJ Lanning have kicked of solid seasons at Beaver Creek. It was only two years ago when Weibrecht exploded from the 53rd start position in a snowstorm to take 10th in the downhill with one of the most on-edge runs in the race’s history.
A full slate of off slope activities are planned for the week including autograph signings with the U.S. Ski Team, a public bib presentation and fireworks.
Stiegler Out For Season
VAIL – U.S. Ski Team athlete Resi Stiegler will be out for the season as a result of an injury in giant-slalom training Thursday at Copper Mountain. According to U.S. Ski Team medical director Richard Quincy, Stiegler suffered a serious complex injury to her left leg, which will keep her out for the rest of the season.
Quincy stated that Stiegler suffered fractures of the tibia and femur, which required surgical intervention. She was treated at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic, where she was hospitalized following surgery Thursday.
“This was a serious injury for Resi, but her spirit is strong,” said Quincy. “One of the first things she asked was if she could be ready for on-snow camp in New Zealand next summer.”
Stiegler made a comeback from a series of injuries to start in the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships last February, before breaking her foot. Her training this fall had been strong and she was-back in action returning to the Audi FIS World Cup in Austria last month. She had been scheduled to start in the Aspen Winternational Nov. 28-29.
Birds of Prey Schedule
Friday, Dec. 4
11 a.m. – Super combined downhill
2:30 p.m. – Super combined slalom
Saturday, Dec. 5
11 a.m. – Downhill
Sunday, Dec. 6
9:45 a.m. –Giant slalom, first run
12:45 p.m. – Giant slalom, second run