Miller 4th in Birds Training Opener
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Nov. 30 - Ski Racing Magazine News Service) - Swiss veteran Didier Cuche was the fastest skier down the Birds of Prey downhill course today in Beaver Creek, Colo. for the first training run after yesterday’s run was canceled for last-minute course work.
Cuche is looking to continue his early season success after wining the season-opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise.
“The fun is when you ski like that...sunny perfect snow, pushing carves and good turns., nice jumps, coming through the finish and seeing you're fast,” said Cuche who has hinted at retirement at the end of this season.
The sun was back out again today, but additional course work delayed the start an hour after forerunners were sent down at the original 11:00 start time and found some areas that needed adjustment.
“That's one of my favorite courses, you have to see that from the top to the bottom, you have no two turns that have the same technique,” said Cuche. “If you make the perfect run here, even if you are are not on the top like you wanted to, that's a undescribeable thing.”
Reigning super G World Champion, Italian Christof Innerhofer was a tenth of a second behind Cuche in second, while Austrian Hannes Reichelt landed third, one hundredth of a second behind Innerhofer.
American Bode Miller, the event’s athlete representative and key voice in yesterday’s training run cancellation, was pleased with the work done on the course and crossed the line with the day’s fourth-fastest time. Fellow American Andrew Weibrecht was the next fastest for the home team in 25th, followed Wiley Maple in 26the and GS specialsit Ted Ligety in 29th.
The Canadian men also had a strong day with three men in the top 30, Robbie Dixon led the way in 7th, followed by Erik Guay in 14th and Jan Hudac in 22nd.
Racing begins Friday with the downhill race, followed by a super G Saturday and a GS Sunday. Additionally, races originally scheduled in Val d'Isere, France have been moved to Beaver Creek due to lack of snow in Europe. The men will have a GS Tuesday and a slalom Thursday. The World Cup women will also come to town for a super G on Wednesday.
"The course preparation is as good as I've ever seen it here."
"It feels great. It felt good to finally get that run off. We've been waiting around for a couple days in perfect weather. To get down it takes away a little bit of the nerves as we now know what to expect for the next few days."
"I definitely feel good, the body feels good, and I'm looking forward to this weekend."
"It's awesome to be on a hill that really challenges you and brings everything you've got. This is a full on downhill - you have to be going the whole time."
"We've prepared really well here so it's nice not to have to travel across the ocean in a hurry to do the race."