Weibrecht cruises to fifth place in downhill | VailDaily.com

Weibrecht cruises to fifth place in downhill

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
American Andrew Weibrecht gets sideways while negotiating a turn into The Brink section of the Birds of Prey World Cup downhill race on Friday in Beaver Creek. Weibrecht was the top American in fifth with a time of 1 minute, 43.31 seconds.
Courtesy Justin Q. McCart |

BEAVER CREEK — Starting in the 34th position, American Andrew Weibrecht was not skiing from an advantageous spot in the line up. However, the fact that he ended up in fifth place on Friday’s downhill shouldn’t have shocked anyone, as he’s known for risky performances and surprising underdog finishes. That’s how he earned the nickname the “War Horse,” after all — for fighting hard when things get tough.

Weibrecht got a slower start, but then steadily gained time as he proceeded down the course. By the time he blazed into the finish area and turned to look at his result, the crowd was screaming and cheering. He tied for the fifth spot with Switzerland’s Carlo Janka, with a time of 1 minute, 43.31 seconds. It is his best career downhill finish at Beaver Creek.

“I was definitely hanging it out. A couple times I didn’t know if maybe I gave away too much, or risked a little to much, but I guess it was right in there,” said Weibrecht.

“I skied the way I wanted to all the way down, and that’s what matters to me.”

The Lake Placid, New York, native finished in the top 30 in both downhill and super-G last week at Lake Louise, Alberta, scoring him World Cup points. The result at Beaver Creek is a big confidence booster for his season, he said.

“It’s just nice to get a good solid result at the beginning of the season. To be in the top 10 in one of the first three races is great,” he said. “I risked a lot today and let it run. To come through and get that good a result early in the season is incredible.”

Ganong, Nyman disappointed

Teammates Travis Ganong and Steven Nyman were denied a top-10 finish, coming in 12th and 15th respectively.

Ganong struggled with the course conditions, which he said were much icier and faster than during the training days. Coming into the Pumphouse section of the course, he turned toward the gate too early and had to skid sideways to correct his line, losing precious time.

“It was really tough today. It was a lot slicker. It was icy, pretty fast and totally different from the training runs. I never really adjusted,” said Ganong. “It was a wild ride. I definitely missed the timing in a couple places. I got pushed off line and had to make these little adjustments — that’s not fast.”

On Saturday, he’ll be looking to redeem the weekend at the super-G, an event where he tied for fourth at Lake Louise.

“I can’t wait to go again tomorrow,” he said. “It would be fun to get another good super-G result.”

Nyman was looking to improve on his training runs and take more risks, but ended up with a handful of mistakes that cost him.

“I started risking it and threw it down the hill. I had to check stop halfway down Pete’s Arena because I went too direct. That was a bummer there,” he said. “At Harrier, I thought I nailed it, but when I landed I lost my (footing) a little bit.”

Missed gates and milestones

Marco Sullivan skied off course early on in the course at a gate that he’d also missed in training (and incidentally, one that many other skiers had missed in training as well). He called it a “rookie move.”

“On the flat section right before Golden Eagle, there’s just a quick gate with a roll right in front of it. If you’re set up for it, it’s really not a big deal, but I came in a little bit late and just got kind of twisted. Before I knew it I was off by the gate in the blink of an eye. It was a mistake on my part and just a bummer to go out on a relatively easy section.”

The American results were rounded out by Jared Goldberg in 31st and World Cup newcomer Bryce Bennett in 29th. The top-30 finish earned the 6-foot 7-inch Truckee, California, native his first World Cup points.

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at mwong@vaildaily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.