2021 Birds of Prey Program Book

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DEC 3 SUPER G  |  DEC 4 DOWNHILL  |  DEC 5 SUPER G 2021 EVENT PROGRAM  |  BCWORLDCUP.COM


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Welcome to Beaver Creek . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Team USA’s Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Schedule of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

One-of-a-Kind Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Getting to the Races . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail . . . . . . . . . . 30

Racers to Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Thanks to our Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Previous Birds of Prey Winners . . . . . 14 Explore Beaver Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Photo by Rick Lohre.

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WELCOME TO BEAVER CREEK Dear Ski Racing Fans, The Vail Valley Foundation, and our partners, Vail Resorts, US Ski and Snowboard, and FIS are thrilled to welcome you back to the 2021 Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup race week at Beaver Creek! Inside this program you will find maps, schedules, facts and information, and more. The Xfinity Birds of Prey races have a legacy that takes us back to 1997, when a test event was held on the new course in anticipation of the 1999 Alpine World Ski Championships. Since that time, the races at Beaver Creek have enjoyed a reputation as one of the most iconic and challenging alpine World Cup races on earth. The global spotlight, especially as we lead into an Olympic year, will shine bright on Beaver Creek, and we are very glad that you are here with us to witness all of the action – from the races to the surrounding celebrations. More than 100 million will join you in watching from afar on television, and tens of millions more will interact with the event through various global media and social media. On behalf of the Board and staff of the Vail Valley Foundation, our incredible volunteers, our sponsors, and our partners, Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek Resort, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the International Ski Federation, the U.S. Forest Service, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and everyone who works around the clock to put together this incredible event, we wish you a great experience and welcome you back to World Cup racing in the Rocky Mountains.

VAIL VALLEY FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Andy Arnold John Arnold Carrie Besnette Hauser Sam Bronfman Linn Brooks Susan Campbell Charlene Chen Will Cook Alejandra Cortés de Milmo Steve Coyer Johannes Faessler Tim Finchem Margie Gart Sheika Gramshammer Nadia Guerriero Beth Howard Al Hubbard B.J. Hybl David Hyde Mike Imhof Chris Jarnot

Cheryl Jensen Alexia Jurschak Anne-Marie Keane Mike Krupka Sarah Millett Ellen Moritz Kaia Moritz Dan Pennington Jill Plancher Chris Romer David Salvin Ken Schanzer Susanna Johnson Shannon Rod Slifer Ann Smead Hap Stein Kristin Tang Fred Tresca Melina Valsecia Gary Woodworth Kristy Woolfolk

Sincerely,

Mike Imhof President, Vail Valley Foundation

Photo by Rick Lohre.

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SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FRIDAY, DEC. 3

SATURDAY, DEC. 4

SUNDAY, DEC. 5

Super G Race

Downhill Race

Bloodies & Bluegrass

Birds of Prey Way

Birds of Prey Way

Birds of Prey Way

10:45am, Birds of Prey Racecourse

11am, Birds of Prey Racecourse

Pumphouse Bar, live music, sponsor village, giveaways and more

Pumphouse Bar, live music, sponsor village, giveaways & more

12pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village

12pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village

Live Music: The Other Brothers

Beers of Prey

A sampling of limited edition, seasonal and fan-favorite brews.

2pm–3:30pm Beaver Creek Village, FREE

Tickets & info at bcworldcup.com. 2pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village

Free Ice Skating

3pm–5pm, Beaver Creek Ice Rink

Live Music: Rapidgrass

Ted Ligety Celebration & Signing

1pm–2:45pm Beaver Creek Village, FREE

3:45pm–4:30pm, Beaver Creek Village

Silent Disco presented by

Pumphouse Bar, live music, sponsor village, giveaways & more 10am–3pm, Beaver Creek Village

Super G Race

12pm, Birds of Prey Racecourse

* For tickets and information, please visit vilarpac.com. **Schedule subject to change

Free Ice Skating

3pm–5pm, Beaver Creek Ice Rink

4pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village, FREE

Live Music: The Ross James Band

Fireworks

6:15pm, Beaver Creek Village

3:30pm–5:45pm, Beaver Creek Village, FREE

Warren Miller’s Winter Starts Now*

Warren Miller’s Winter Starts Now*

7:30pm, Vilar Performing Arts Center

9:30am–11am, Beaver Creek Village

5pm & 8pm, Vilar Performing Arts Center

Photo by Rick Lohre.

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Photo © Trekker Photo

Give your goals some forward momentum Official bank of the Xfinity Birds of Prey ski races Visit TIAABank.com

TIAA Bank® is a division of TIAA, FSB. TIAA, FSB NMLS ID: 399805 ©2021 TIAA, FSB. 21SPS0670.01


GETTING TO THE RACES Parking & Arrival at Red Tail Stadium Spectator parking is available in the resort parking lots at the base of Beaver Creek – in the Elk and Bear lots. Regularly scheduled free shuttles will bring spectators from the base parking area to the Vilar Performing Arts Center and Birds of Prey Way expo area in Beaver Creek. Free race shuttles depart from the Covered Bridge in Beaver Creek often throughout race days. Skis and snowboards are permitted on the race shuttles. *Masks are required on buses. From the race shuttle drop-off location, there is a five-minute on-snow walk to Red Tail Stadium. Please allow one hour of travel time from the base of Beaver Creek Resort to Red Tail Stadium to avoid missing any of the action! ADA access to the venue is available upon request. Please contact Birds of Prey Registration at 970-470-2269.

Spectator Access & Viewing The Birds of Prey Racecourse has a mid-mountain finish and all race events are free and open to the public. VIP experiences are also available. Public concessions and restrooms are available.

KNOW WHERE TO GO Check out the event digital map BCWORLDCUP.COM/MAP For directions & details on: - Spectator information - Event locations - Beaver creek restaurants & bars - Sponsor village layout

SCAN WITH SMART PHONE CAMERA TO SCAN VIEWWITH NOWSMART PHONE CAMERA TO VIEW NOW

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RACERS TO

WATCH Beat Feuz

Age: 34 Hometown: Schangnau World Cup wins: 15 World Cup podiums: 52 World Cup titles: 4 (DH, 2018-2021) World Championship medals: 3 Olympic medals: 2 (2018 SG silver, 2018 DH bronze) Birds of Prey wins: 2 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/1, SG/15 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/1, SG/19 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/25 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/23 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/6, SG/26 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/3, GS/16, GS/17 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/20, DH/DNF, SC/16, GS/DNQ

Christof Innerhofer Age: 36 Hometown: Gais-Gais

World Cup wins: 6 World Cup podiums: 18 World Championship medals: 3 (2011 SG gold) Olympic medals: 2 Birds of Prey wins: 1 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/23, SG/24 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/4, SG/13 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/14 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/27, SG/20 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/14, SG/21 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/1, SG/17 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/12, SG/13, GS/DNQ, GS/28 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/4, GS/DNQ 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/12, GS/DNQ, SC/13 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/31, SG/4, GS/DNQ 2007 Birds of Prey: DH/26, SG/19, GS/DNQ, SC/24

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Dominik Paris

Age: 32 Hometown: Merano World Cup wins: 19 World Cup podiums: 39 World Cup titles: 1 (2019 SG) World Championship medals: 2 (2013 DH silver, 2019 SG gold) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/11, SG/13 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/12, SG/3 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/10, GS/DNQ 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/20, SG/13, GS/DNQ 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/4, SG/5 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/DNF 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/29 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/49 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/DNF 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/23, DH/36

Bryce Bennett

Age: 29 Hometown: Alpine Meadows, CA 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/39 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/39 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/46 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/29, SG/42 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/52, SG/42


Johan Clarey

Max Franz

World Cup podiums: 8 World Championship medals: 1 (2019 SG silver) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/46 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/26 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/7 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/22, SG/37 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/18, SG/27 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/27, SG/18 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/13 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/4, SG/44 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/16, SC/17 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/33 2007 Birds of Prey: DH/16, SG/46, SC/26 2006 Birds of Prey: DH/15, SC/DNF 2003 Birds of Prey: DH/35, SG/43, DH/43

World Cup wins: 3 World Cup podiums: 10 World Championship medals: 1 (2017 DH bronze) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/30 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/13, SG/1 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/16, SG/19 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF, SG/15 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/DNF 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/10, SG/28 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF, SG/DNF 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/18, SG/25

Age: 40 Hometown: Annecy

Vincent Kriechmayr

Age: 30 Hometown: Linz World Cup wins: 9 World Cup podiums: 21 World Cup titles: 1 (SG 2021) World Championship medals: 4 (2019 SG silver, DH bronze; 2021 SG gold, DH gold) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/7 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/7, GS/DNQ 2017 Bird of Prey: DH/6, SG/1 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/14, SG/10, GS/DNF 2014 Birds of Prey: SG/DNF, GS/DNQ 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/39, GS/DNQ World Cup podiums: 2 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/6

Ryan Cochran-Siegle Age: 29 Hometown: Burlington, VT World Cup wins: 1

Adrian Smiseth Sejersted Age: 27 Hometown: Bærum

World Cup podiums: 2 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/8 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/24, SG/23

Age: 32 Hometown: Klagenfurt

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde

Age: 29 Hometown: Bærum World Cup wins: 6 World Cup podiums: 20 World Cup titles: 2 (2016 SG, 2020 overall) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/2, GS/DNF 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/3, GS/DNQ 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/14, SG/8, GS/26 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/16, SG/7, GS/DNF 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/33, SG/DNF, GS/DNQ 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF, SG/23, GS/DNQ

Kjetil Jansrud

Age: 36 Hometown: Vinistra World Cup wins: 23 World Cup podiums: 55 World Cup titles: 4 discipline (2015 DH, 2015 SG, 2017 SG, 2018 SG) World Championship medals: 3 (2019 Downhill gold) Olympic medals: 5 (2010 GS silver, 2014 SG gold and DH bronze, 2018 SG bronze and DH silver) Birds of Prey wins: 1 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/11 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/17, SG/10, GS/28 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/11, SG/2, GS/DNQ 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/55, GS/15 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/1, SG/2, GS/15 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/12, SG/9, GS/17 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/3, SG/6 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/26, SG/6, GS/3, GS/7 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/10, GS/2 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/23, SC/11, GS/5 2008 Birds of Prey: SG/19, GS/4 2005 Birds of Prey: SL/4

Photos by Agence Zoom.

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Travis Ganong

Marco Odermatt

Age: 33 Hometown: Lake Tahoe, CA

Age: 24 Hometown: Buochs

Finished 2020-21 season 2nd overall World Cup wins: 4 World Cup podiums: 13 Birds of Prey wins: 1 2019 Birds of Prey: SG/1, DH/45, GS/DNF 2018 Birds of Prey: SG/42, GS/27 2017 Birds of Prey: GS/DNF 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/19, SG/18

World Cup wins: 2 World Cup podiums: 4 World Championship medals: 1 (2015 DH silver in Beaver Creek) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/40, SG/6 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/28, SG/15 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/30, SG/33 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/12, SG/6 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/28 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/15, SG/DNF 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/16, SG/DNF 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/33, SG/DNF 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/31

Steven Nyman

Age: 39 Hometown: Provo, UT World Cup wins: 3 World Cup podiums: 11 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/17, SG/24 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/20 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/15, SG/35 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/3, SG/DNF 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/37 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/33 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/25 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/31 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/25 2007 Birds of Prey: SC/DNF, DH/2, GS/DNQ, SG/DNF

Alexis Pinturault

Age: 30 Hometown: Courcheval World Cup wins: 34 World Cup podiums: 71 World Cup titles: World Championship medals: 6 Olympic medals: 4 2019 Birds of Prey: SG/4, GS/17 2018 Birds of Prey: SG/16, GS/14 2017 Birds of Prey: SG/5, GS/12 2015 Birds of Prey: SG/DNF, GS/DNF 2014 Birds of Prey: SG/3, GS/2 2013 Birds of Prey: SG/18T, GS/5 2012 Birds of Prey: GS/5 2011 Birds of Prey: GS/9T, GS/4, SL/DNF

Matthias Mayer Age: 31 Hometown: Afritz

World Cup wins: 10 World Cup podiums: 36 Olympic medals: 2 (2014 DH gold, 2018 SG gold) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/31, SG/3 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/15, SG/8, GS/DNF 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/12, SG/6, GS/DNF 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/54 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/17, GS/24 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF, SG/10, GS/DNF 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/21, SG/7, GS/16 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/48, SG/DNF, GS/DNF, GS/DNQ

Romed Baumann

Age: 35 Hometown: Sankt Johann, Austria World Cup wins: 2 World Cup podiums: 10 World Championship medals: 2 (2021 SG silver, 2013 SC bronze) 2019 Birds of Prey: DH/29, SP/DNF 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/35 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/32, SG/35 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/34, SG/20 2014 Birds of Prey: Dh/21, SG/29 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/33 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/19, SG/28, GS/23 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/53, SG/19, GS/18, GS/16 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/18 2009 Birds of Prey: DH/19, GS/11, SC/5 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/37, SG/DNF 2007 Birds of Prey: DH/35, SC/18 2006 Birds of Prey: SL/DNF, SC/22

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PREVIOUS BIRDS OF PREY WINNERS 1997

DH Kristian Ghedina, ITA DH Andreas Schifferer, AUT SG Hermann Maier, AUT

1999 SL GS DH SG

Didier Plaschy, SUI Hermann Maier, AUT Hermann Maier, AUT Hermann Maier, AUT

2000

DH Hermann Maier, AUT SG Fredrik Nyberg, SWE

2004 DH SG GS SL

Bode Miller, USA Stephan Goergl, AUT Lasse Kjus, NOR Benjamin Raich, AUT

2005 DH SG GS SL

Daron Rahlves, USA Hannes Reichelt, AUT Bode Miller, USA Giorgio Rocca, ITA

2006

No races held

SC DH GS SL

2002

2007

2001

DH Stephan Eberharter, AUT SG Didier Cuche, SUI

2003

DH Daron Rahlves, USA DH Hermann Maier, AUT SG Bjarne Solbakken, NOR

SC DH GS SG

Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR Bode Miller, USA Massimiliano Blardone, ITA Andre Myhrer, SWE Daniel Albrecht, SUI Michael Walchhofer, AUT Daniel Albrecht, SUI Hannes Reichelt, AUT

2008

DH Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR SG Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR GS Benjamin Raich, AUT

2009

SC Carlo Janka, SUI DH Carlo Janka, SUI GS Carlo Janka, SUI

2010

SG Georg Streitberger, AUT GS Ted Ligety, USA

2011 DH SG GS GS SG SL

Bode Miller, USA Sandro Viletta, SUI Marcel Hirscher, AUT Ted Ligety, USA Lindsey Vonn, USA Ivica Kostelic, CRO

2012

DH Christof Innerhofer, ITA SG Matteo Marsaglia, ITA GS Ted Ligety, USA

2013 DH SG GS DH SG GS

Lara Gut, SUI Lara Gut, SUI Jessica Lindell-Vikarby, SWE Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR Patrick Kueng, SUI Ted Ligety, USA

2014

DH Kjetil Jansrud, NOR SG Hannes Reichelt, AUT GS Ted Ligety, USA

2015

DH Kjetil Jansrud, NOR SG Marcel Hirscher, AUT GS Marcel Hirscher, AUT

2016

No races held

2017

SG Vincent Kriechmayr, AUT DH Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR GS Marcel Hirscher, AUT

2018

SG Max Franz, AUT DH Beat Feuz, SUI GS Stefan Luitz, GER

2019

DH Beat Feuz, SUI SG Marco Odermatt, SUI GS Tommy Ford, USA

2020

No races held

Winningest Racers

Hermann Maier, AUT (6 wins) Ted Ligety, USA (5 wins) Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR (5 wins) Marcel Hirscher, AUT (4 wins) Bode Miller, USA (4 wins)

Winningest Countries Austria (22 wins) Switzerland (14 wins) USA (13 wins)

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Photo by Rich Lohre.


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THINGS TO DO in Beaver Creek during Birds of Prey

Cookie Time, cabin dining & more available all winter long Cookie Time

Beaver Creek’s beloved Cookie Time is BACK for the winter 2021-22 season! Freshly baked, warm and gooey cookies will meet skiers, snowboarders and village visitors every afternoon at 3:00 pm at the bottom of Haymeadow and Centennial Express Lifts. Delectable, melt-in-your-mouth cookies have been a Beaver Creek staple for many years, with more than 500,000 cookies baked each season. What’s not to love?

Cabin Dining Beaver Creek cabin dining is committed to providing a world-class experience and serving gourmet fare while surrounded by mountain splendor. Dinner at our three fine dining cabins, Beano’s, Zach’s and Allie’s, is accessible by Beaver Creek Snow Cat-pulled sleigh, an experience to surprise and delight guests under moonlit and star-dotted skies. Beano’s Cabin will continue to elevate fine dining into a feast for the senses, awakening the appetite with a gourmet menu paired with a breathtaking wine list. Allie’s and Zach’s have been reimagined this winter season, launching new menu concepts to satiate foodies and families alike.

Beaver Creek Wonder

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Signature Parks Collection Beaver Creek is home to the most dedicated learning terrain in Colorado. With the founding of Beaver Creek’s Signature Parks Collection, beginner and intermediate skiers have more terrain built for their skill level than ever before. These dedicated learning areas provide beginner terrain that mimics the setting of advanced trails, granting guests of all ski levels a chance to explore more of the mountain on terrain they are comfortable skiing and snowboarding. The Signature Parks Collection is specifically designed for beginner through intermediate skier and riders to inspire confidence, progressively improve skills, and evoke a sense of wonder and accomplishment. Offering an extraordinary ski experience for beginner and intermediate skiers, this terrain allows guests to discover the amazing treasures Beaver Creek Mountain has to offer, such as mountain-top vistas, groomed glades, adventure zones and access to world-class dining.

Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School Have the races got you looking to sharpen your skills? Beaver Creek’s renowned Ski and Snowboard School is the ultimate place to learn. Whether igniting a child’s passion for the mountain or unlocking more of the mountain with new techniques, Beaver Creek has world-class instructors to teach all abilities. Beaver Creek Children’s Ski and Snowboard School instructors know how to connect and ignite a child’s love for the mountain experience. If you are an adult looking for steeps and trees – our adult instructors know how to accelerate you to the next level.

New during the 2020-21 season, Beaver Creek Wonder is an artistic playground of photo-friendly, oversize sculptures providing unique experiences scattered throughout Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek Resort has revitalized Beaver Creek Village in effort to transform the guest experience, from the moment guests arrive. Following numerous enhancements over the course of the past three summers, Beaver Creek’s 16

new art installations will bring to life a sense of adventure and discovery in the heart of the village. Upon arrival, families will be filled with excitement, awe, wonder and nostalgia as they embark on a unique journey through larger-than-life art. Each element is designed to draw families in, and provide a photo-worthy backdrop worth capturing and sharing, featuring towering Frost Flowers to ice bikes, a giant snow globe and more.

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TEAM USA LOOKS TO REGAIN GLORY AT ITS HOME COURSE “It’s our one chance of the year to show our U.S. fans what we can do” 18

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On one of the most challenging courses of the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit, American men have had more success at Beaver Creek than at any other stop in their annual months-long chase for the perfect combination of fitness, tactics, snow conditions, equipment preparation — and perhaps a little luck. Twelve of their 128 victories since the inception of the World Cup in the winter of 1966’67 have occurred at the Birds of Prey. For a handful of those wins, another U.S. racer also stepped up onto the podium; Americans have finished second or third 15 times. Most memorable was a snowy Saturday in 2005, when the U.S. finished first, second and fourth in the giant slalom. Quipped Finland’s Kalle Pallander, who was third, “I felt I was at the American championships.” For a group of men and women who spend the bulk of their competitive ski days on the other side of the planet, it’s both comforting and nerve-wracking to race “at home.” “It’s our one chance of the year to show our U.S. fans what we can do,” said Travis Ganong prior to the 2019 Birds of Prey weekend. Ganong, a resident of Tahoe City, California, was a silver medalist at the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships on the same course, and has two World Cup wins in his career. “I hope it inspires a lot of kids.” The most successful American racer on the Birds of Prey course is Ted Ligety, winner of five consecutive giant slalom races on this hill between 2011 and 2015 — four World Cups plus the gold at the 2015 World Championships. Throw in another World Cup GS win, three GS podiums and a podium each in Super G and


slalom, and Ligety’s legacy is impressive. Only Hermann Maier (AUT) and Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) have more World Cup wins at Beaver Creek, with six each. “I think the pressure is good in a way,” said Ligety prior to the 2019 events; he retired earlier this year to focus on his growing family and business pursuits from his home in Park City, Utah. Just prior to Ligety, Americans Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller lit up the Birds of Prey racecourse, with Rahlves the first one on the podium in 2002, in downhill, and on the top step for the same event a year later. Compact, superbly fit and focused, Rahlves was always ready to uncoil a fast run on a demanding course; he won twice and was on the podium three times (twice in downhill, once in giant slalom). Miller is one of America’s most decorated Alpine athletes; his four wins and three podiums at Birds of Prey are part of a

Previous Page: Team USA trains, competes and celebrates as a team. In 2019, the Americans celebrated Tommy Ford’s win at the Birds of Prey giant slalom on home soil.

stellar collection of 33 World Cup wins — most of any American male — plus six Olympic and five World Championship medals. Miller and Rahlves pushed each other, which often brought out the best in both. Three times they were first and second at Birds of Prey — once in 2004 (downhill), and twice in 2005 (downhill and giant slalom). “My intensity and ability to push the limit is my advantage,” said Miller prior to the 2013 races. “If I’m not the top, then I’m one of the top (racers).” Ligety and Miller were first and second in the 2013 giant slalom, and Ligety (second) shared the Super G podium in 2015 with Andrew Weibrecht (third), a fan favorite with his wild rides and spectacular recoveries at Birds of Prey. From Rahlves, Miller and Ligety to the current crew of racers — a mix of veterans and up-and-comers — all point to the course preparation as a major factor in their success. “The Talon Crew does amazing prep from top to

The most successful American racer on the Birds of Prey racecourse is Ted Ligety, winner of five races in his career. “I think the pressure is good in a way,” Ligety said prior to the 2019 races. Ligety retired earlier this year to focus on his growing family and business pursuits from his home in Park City, Utah. bottom,” said Steven Nyman in 2019. Nyman is working his way back from a string of injuries in hopes of having the run of his life at the Beijing Olympics. “The three best (downhill) turns on the World Cup are those going into the finish.” Nyman has been on the downhill podium three times at Birds of Prey.

Added Ligety, “It’s by far the best Super G course on the World Cup.” In 2019, Tommy Ford put together two impressive runs for his first-ever World Cup win — by 0.80 seconds — in the Birds of Prey giant slalom. He would go on to finish fifth in the GS standings that season, which was shortened by the pandemic, leaving a number of races uncontested, including two giant slaloms. A nasty crash at Adelboden, Switzerland, earlier this year left him initially unconscious, and with a knee injury that he is still working to overcome. Ford’s first Top 10 World Cup result came in 2017 at Birds of Prey, starting a string of strong World Cup results. He was sitting in fourth in the GS standings for the 2020-21 season at the time of his injury. “It’s a really fun course,” said Ford in 2019. “It’s

challenging to keep your head in it.” Also making his way back from injury is Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who scored his first World Cup win last December at Bormio, Italy, in Super G, just 10 days after his first podium at Val Gardena, Italy, in downhill. It’s also possible that River Radamus — fresh off a sixth-place finish in the opening giant slalom of the season at Sölden, Austria, that included a remarkable first-run save to avoid crashing — will race Super G at Birds of Prey. He grew up in the Vail Valley, and no doubt has spent hours of time on the course, racing or otherwise. He’s never finished in the points in previous World Cup attempts at Beaver Creek, but momentum is in his favor. Bryce Bennett is also psyched to race on a course he calls “one of my favorite places on the tour,” he said, adding that the Talon Crew is by far the best at preparing a race hill. His best result is a ninth in the downhill in 2018, and after a couple of seasons on “the struggle bus,” as he calls it, he’s ready to make his mark in 2021-’22. There is no GS at Beaver Creek in 2021, but with a downhill and two Super G races, and history on its side, it’s a reasonable bet that Americans will be stepping up onto the podium in Beaver Creek in December. BY CHERYL LINDSTROM Photos by Rick Lohre.

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BIRDS OF PREY CHAMPION | DECEMBER 3 & 4 12 PODIUMS IN BEAVER CREEK

*Photos by Agence Zoom , Jonathan Selkowitz and Kevin Krill.


THE STORY

BEHIND THE BIRDS OF PREY AWARDS Lisa Issenberg and Rob Westrich continue creating custom medals, bird prints for Birds of Prey winners Sleek, elegant, Colorado-sourced medals As a design student, Lisa Issenberg developed a close friendship with a Finnish woman who introduced her to Scandinavian design concepts — being in touch with nature, having a sense of minimalism and producing less waste. Working with metals to produce objects large and small, Issenberg kept her focus on melding nature into her welded designs, and never straying from the fundamentals she learned through her friend. “It’s an essence — less is more,” said Issenberg. 22

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She named her custom awards company Kiitella — a Finnish word that means “to thank, applaud or praise” — because it accurately describes her work. Based in Ridgway, Colorado, Issenberg produces the medals awarded to the World Cup ski racers each year who reach the podium at the Birds of Prey events. Sleek, elegant and made of materials primarily recycled and sourced in Colorado, the medals are a celebration of the design concepts Issenberg embraces. “The awards were the most satisfying,” she said of her work producing medals for athletic events, film and arts festivals, or other

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recognitions, all part of a larger portfolio that includes bear-proof trash containers for Telluride. “It’s fulfilling a need — creating a piece that both recognizes someone for their great accomplishments and creatively reflects the client’s branding.” Issenberg is unveiling a new design for the 2021 Birds of Prey medals. “It keeps what I do interesting and fun,” she said. It also seemed like the perfect time to make a shift, given the pandemic-forced twoyear break between events. “It makes sense to go fresh. The Birds of Prey logo is so cool.” That it is, as is the work of Kiitella.


Birds of Prey portraits As the name suggests, Birds of Prey is all about the raptors that prowl the Colorado skyscape, as well as the names of the runs that comprise the racecourse and adjacent trails on Beaver Creek Mountain. But it was a bird sanctuary in the St. Louis, Missouri, area that inspired the stunning photographs awarded to the winners of the World Cup events each year at Birds of Prey. After visiting the sanctuary with his son’s Cub Scout troop about 12 years ago, photographer Rob Westrich decided to pursue the idea of taking portraits of the birds. He produced a book, which made its way to the Vail Valley Foundation through friends who are homeowners in Beaver Creek, and soon his black and white portraits became an integral part of the Birds of Prey event. “I’ve always been a fan of ski racing,” says Westrich, who lives in St. Louis. “I remember watching events on TV in the ’60s and ’70s.” His portraits are taken in a controlled environment, where he can monitor the lighting and other aspects critical to his images. “I can bring in the real detail as opposed to what you get in nature, where there are so many variables. I’ve developed a way to pose (the birds),” he says, adding that he photographs from a 6-foot distance, sometimes closer. The birds in his series “are permanently going to be in captivity for one reason or another,” he said. “Either because of injury, or they were brought in from another country on the black market,” these are birds that cannot be released into the wild. Their beauty, nonetheless, shines through. BY CHERYL LINDSTROM Race photos by Rick Lohre. 23


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MEET TEAM USA’S

TALLEST RACERS, AND THEIR TECHNICIAN It’s not easy being tall. At least not in ski racing. So, when Bryce Bennett — all 6-feet7-inches of him — first made his way onto the U.S. Ski Team, Steven Nyman’s reaction was: “Finally, another tall dude.” At 6-foot-4, Nyman’s height had often worked against him when it came to making the subtle changes that ski racers do to scrape hundredths of seconds off a run.

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It’s a trial-and-error process; sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. For as much as skiing is a gravity sport, it’s also a geometric battle to find the angles that produce — rather than disrupt — speed. Boots, body, skis. Left, right, up, down. It’s all a matter of the right combination of angles and shapes that determine who steps onto the top of the podium. Consider the 2021 men’s

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Bryce Bennett and Steven Nyman stand well over 6-feet-tall, and their relationship with legendary technician Leonhard Mussi is ‘like family’ World Championship downhill at Cortina: one-hundredth of a second (0.01) was the difference between gold for Austria’s Vincent Kriechmayr, and silver for Andreas Sander of Germany. Three hundredths — aka hundies — kept Nyman off the downhill podium at the 2015 World Championships at Beaver Creek. Nyman viewed the new, tall dude as a collaborator.


Bryce Bennett

“When I first made the World Cup team, my eyes were wide open,” said Bennett. “Steve really helped me lean into the direction that would help me. We viewed things the same way.” In the early years, Bennett admitted he didn’t always heed Nyman’s advice. “My first season, he just let me struggle the whole time,” he said in an FIS interview, “And the next season he was like, ‘Are you ready to listen to me?’” The two dissect video for hours, discussing ways to shave the fractions of seconds so essential to success. And with Mussi’s technical preparation and input, they are finding precious hundies. “He’s (Mussi) been with me since 2006. That loyalty and relationship — he’s basically a father figure to me,” said Nyman.

“Instead of me just doing things alone, I had someone to bounce things off of. And that’s been key to our success,” said Nyman from Copper Mountain, where the U.S. and several other teams were training in preparation for the North American opening to the men’s speed events. “Bryce motivates me.” Their best day together came at Val Gardena in 2018, when Bennett finished fourth and Nyman fifth. It’s a race Nyman has won three times, and where height works in their favor — they are able to keep their skis on the snow over the rolling terrain, rather than becoming airborne, and losing fractions of seconds in the process.

“Finally, another tall dude.”

Prior to Nyman, Mussi guided Italy’s Kristian Ghedina to 13 World Cup victories — including the first-ever on the Birds of Prey course when it was unveiled in 1997 — and three World Championship medals. “I’ve spent more time with him than I have my own father,” Nyman said. And like a father, sometimes strong words are needed to motivate, to bring the purpose of all the work front and center. BY CHERYL LINDSTROM

Steven Nyman

–Steven Nyman

Nyman, now 39, and making a comeback from a string of injuries, most recently a torn right Achilles tendon in August 2020, was also instrumental in getting Bennett, 29, on Fischer products, where the two work with legendary technician Leonhard Mussi.

Previous Page: Bryce Bennett, left, and Steven Nyman, right, stand tall next to their legendary technician Leonhard Mussi during a training day in Colorado in November. Bennett and Nyman, at 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-4 respectively, enjoy training together, watching film together and making each other better. Photo by Ross Leonhart

Photos by Alexis Boichard | Agence Zoom

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NEW AT BEAVER CREEK:

McCOY PARK OPENS IN 2021 Beaver Creek Mountain is home to a variety of terrain for all levels – from World Cup ski racers to first-time skiers NEW this season, Beaver Creek is adding 250 acres of lift-served, welcoming ski terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers & riders to elevate their mountain experience. The McCoy Park investment is a commitment to the guest experience which will delight skiers and riders of all ages and abilities. A dedicated family friendly learning zone with an amazing natural feel, including signature groomed, gladed trails, McCoy Park is a place for the entire family to connect with nature

and each other in an accessible bowl setting. As the third installment of the Signature Parks Collection, McCoy Park offers 17 trails serviced by two new quad lifts, while maintaining snowshoe and cross-country areas. McCoy Park comes with a brand-new warming hut – Eaton Haus – offering guests a view of the Colorado Rockies that most guests have never seen before.


FOR THE KIDS

An unprecedented year yields strength and success for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail During the 2020-’21 winter season, the Birds of Prey World Cup Races – along with many other ski races around the world – were canceled in response to the global pandemic. The tumultuous year brought challenges both on and beyond the mountain. But with those challenges came new opportunities for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail to accelerate and develop not only physical strength on the hill but mental strength as a community. Amidst COVID-19, SSCV athletes and alumni raised the caliber of local competition, as races were conducted in a restructured manner resulting in a very successful season at all levels of competition. The community of athletes, coaches and parents banded together in order to uphold the club’s mission of placing all athletes on their individual pathways to excellence, and more importantly helping these youngsters maintain a positive mental outlook in an otherwise isolating time. “Despite the challenges faced throughout this arduous year, SSCV remained united against the common enemy of COVID-19,” said John Hale, SSCV Executive Director. “It was all thanks to the diligence of our staff, the vigilance of our parents, the adaptability of our athletes and the support of Vail Resorts and our local health professionals. This year has forged lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, on and off the snow.” Fast forward to the 2021-’22 season, an excitement fills the air at SSCV as young athletes buzz that the World Cup event is being held in Beaver Creek once again. They see the possibility of achieving World Cup racing prestige through the accomplishments of 30

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SSCV alumni who, not that long ago, trained at Golden Peak and/or attended their school, bolstering their determination and dedication to their sports.

UNPARALLELED RESOURCES The world-class coaching staff and the unparalleled resources that SSCV provide to their athletes establishes SSCV as one of the premiere snowsport clubs in the nation and the world. The recently expanded terrain on the Golden Peak Expansion yields 30 additional acres of training space, two new trails, a new surface lift and upgraded snowmaking fan guns. All of these additions add 600 vertical feet of training ground and 1,700 vertical feet of total terrain. The incredible on-hill training venues are complemented by a new state of the art Clubhouse at the base of Golden Peak. On the scholastic side, SSCV’s academic partners at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, Vail Mountain School and Red Sandstone Elementary School work in conjunction with the coaches to promote the scholastic achievement of the racers as well. This year alone 10 current and former SSCV athletes were nominated to the U.S. National Team for Alpine, including Paula Moltzan (A Team); Mikaela Shiffrin (A Team); Bridger Gile (B Team); Kyle Negomir (B Team); River Radamus (B Team); Nicola Rountree-Williams (C Team); Ava Sunshine Jemison (D Team); Trent Pennington (D Team); Allie Resnick (D Team); and Emma Resnick (D Team). “The combination of support, motivation and opportunity that SSCV provides their athletes enables incredible success and a special

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Kyle Negomir is a SSCV alumnus and member of the U.S. Ski Team. Current SSCV athletes are looking forward to attending the Xfinity Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek this year. Photo by Agence Zoom

community,” said SSCV and VSSA alumnus and U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Kyle Negomir. “The access to training facilities such as the Minturn Fitness Center and the nearby ski mountain, coupled with the public school academics support which included snowsport specific scheduling at VSSA, gives us the ability to take advantage of these opportunities, and really go after our dreams.” Numerous other SSCV alumni train and compete at the NCAA Division 1 collegiate level in tandem with pursuing their college degree. This is an extremely competitive avenue for alpine ski racers and proving to be an increasingly viable path to the U.S. Ski Team. This past year alone SSCV had 28 former athletes across 13 colleges named to NCAA Division 1 alpine ski teams (many of whom returned to train with SSCV last season with much of the collegiate competition season cancelled due to COVID-19). An unusual year brought further strength to SSCV values: character, courage and commitment, as their athletes flourished both on and off-snow in unprecedented circumstances, bringing new meaning to SSCV’s motto “FOR THE KIDS.” Learn more about Ski & Snowboard Club Vail at skiclubvail.org. BY OLIVIA LYDA, SKI & SNOWBOARD CLUB VAIL


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