Welcome to town, Kjetil, Ted and everyone | VailDaily.com

Welcome to town, Kjetil, Ted and everyone

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud enters Birds of Prey as the favorite after sweeoping the downhill and super-G last weekend up in Lake Louise, Alberta.
AP | The Canadian Press

Birds of Prey 2014


Downhill training, 11 a.m.


Downhill training, 11 a.m.


Downhill training, 11 a.m.


Downhill, 10:45 a.m.


Super-G, 11 a.m.


Giant slalom, 9:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

So the storyline for Birds of Prey 2014, for a while, was looking kind of like a bummer with Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal being out.

Then came “the other Norwegian.”

Meet Kjetil Jansrud, 29, who is apparently busting out after sweeping the Lake Louise, Alberta, speed races (downhill and super-G) last weekend.

Mr. Jansrud comes south to Beaver Creek with a bull’s eye on his back.

It’s early. Some courses suit some people better than others, which would explain why the World Cup is a travelling circus. But Jansrud’s been trending in the right direction, regardless of Svindal’s status.

He won Olympic super-G gold in Sochi, Russia, about 10 months ago and followed that up with his first two World Cup wins in March in Kvitfjell, Norway. And now he has Nos. 3 and 4.

At Birds of Prey, Jansrud has three podiums — silver in giant slalom in 2010 followed by bronze in the same the next year. In 2012, he nabbed bronze in the downhill behind Italy’s Christof Innerhofer and that Svindal guy.

Last year, Jansrud was 12th in downhill, ninth in super-G and 17th in GS here.

So, how does Lake Louise success translate to Beaver Creek?

In the past five years, only one guy has won speed events both here and at Lake Louise. Here’s a hint — he’s Norwegian.

You really can’t make this up. Svindal won super-G up north last year and then the Birds of Prey downhill five days later.

It’s easy to see why there isn’t a Lake Louise-Beaver Creek double often. The former is a glider’s course, while Birds of Prey is a lot more technical.

However, the unexpected is the norm here, so stay tuned.


We lied. There’s another person who’s won in Lake Louise and Beaver Creek in the same year. Lindsey Vonn did it in 2011 — three wins in Canada and then a super-G at home here when there wasn’t enough snow in France.

Keep in mind that Birds of Prey is the first part of a doubleheader beamed back to Europe in primetime. After we have a podium here, all eyes go to Lake Louise and Vonn’s first races after the latest reconstruction of her right knee.

There’s no better place for Vonn to make her comeback — she owns the place (14 career wins up there). She’s had the proper time off to rehab.

Can she actually win in her first race back? Of course, that’s a ridiculously high expectation. We should be thinking that Vonn should just get down the hill in one piece and in the top 30.

But there’s the fact that she finished 10th in a downhill and fifth in a super-G there last year with one knee. More so, what makes Vonn the athlete she is is her internal motor. Just speculation, but she wants to come back by throwing down.

Ted and Marcel

Last year, the Birds of Prey talk was all about Vonn’s knee. This year, meet Ted Ligety’s left wrist. Ligety bashed his wrist during training on Golden Peak a little more than a week ago. He has four screws in his left hand, according to the X-ray posted on his Facebook account.

(Thanks for sharing, Ted. Gotta love social media.)

Just a reminder, though, as we get closer to the GS on Sunday, there are other really good racers in the field not named Ted Ligety. I’m not saying I don’t like his chances, but Austria’s Marcel Hirscher is only the three-time overall World Cup champion, and he’s gotten there by wiping the floor with the competition in GS and slalom. (Ligety and Hirscher shared the globe in GS last year with 680 points.)

You’re old, Marco

OK, so last week I wrote Marco Sullivan, 34, was a little long in the tooth, and then he goes out and finishes fifth in the Lake Louise downhill. Good work, Freud. I apologize to anyone affiliated with a green hat.

But since it worked last week, get an AARP card, Marco.

Sullivan was part of pretty solid weekend for the red, white and blue in the Great White North.

Let’s hear it for Steve Nyman, who went from bib No. 46 to 16th in the downhill and from No. 41 to 29th in super-G. World Cup points are great when you’re starting in the 40s.

Andrew Weibrecht, who, knock wood, is healthy, punched in at 20th in super-G. Travis Ganong was 10th in the downhill, extending his top-10 streak in World Cup/Olympic DH starts (six). He also worked through a bobble in the super-G to take 21st in Sunday’s super-G.

The American men had four in the points in both downhill (Wiley Maple of Aspen, 22nd) and in super-G (Jared Goldberg, 25th).

Weather watch

So far, so good. As always, FIS requires one day of training to hold a downhill. Weather.com has a high of 46 degrees in Avon with no precipitation today. That’s means mid- to high-30s at Red Tail.

There’s a 40 percent chance of precipitation on Wednesday, but nothing like last year when we got a huge storm and had only Thursday for training.

Let the racing begin.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.

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