Vail Valley: Birds of Prey racing returns |

Vail Valley: Birds of Prey racing returns

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – The World Cup returns to Beaver Creek in Colorado’s Vail Valley for the 11th annual Birds of Prey races Dec. 4 through 6 with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, just over the horizon.

As the only U.S. World Cup men’s stop prior to the games, Beaver Creek will feature the top Olympic hopefuls from around the world, including 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety, three-time Birds of Prey winner Bode Miller and Birds of Prey podium finisher Steven Nyman, who all hope to be Vancouver-bound.

“Beaver Creek is always one of my favorite races,” said Ligety, who finished second in last year’s giant slalom here. ” It’s good to take the (Europeans) out of their element, and it’s nice to have an event early in the season where Americans are the fan favorites.”

Known as one of the most exciting and treacherous tracks on the men’s World Cup circuit, Beaver Creek opens with the annual Birds of Prey downhill on Dec. 4 before moving to super-combined Dec. 5 and closing with giant slalom Dec. 6.

American men have an outstanding 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.

Also on tap to compete in Beaver Creek are Andrew Weibrecht, Scott Macartney and T.J. Lanning.

Just two seasons ago, Weibrecht blasted onto the international racing scene with a spectacular run from the 53rd starting position to 10th, prompt-ing thousands to watch his on-edge run on YouTube.

” This year’s Audi Birds of Prey Race Week will take on even greater signif-icance than usual,” said the Vail Valley Foundation’s Michael Imhof. “Beaver Creek will be the only U.S. pre-Olympic site for the men, featuring all the top World Cup competitors racing in three exciting disciplines. The road to Vancouver will definitely run right through Beaver Creek with the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup Race Week, and there will be no better preview of the games for American race fans.”

Spectator activity begins Dec. 3 with the public bib presentation to the world’s top downhillers, including Marco Sullivan and last season’s Birds of Prey downhill and World Cup over-all champion, Aksel Lund Svindal, of Norway. U.S. Ski Team members will be on hand to sign autographs.

For complete information on the Birds of Prey, check out

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