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

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail . . . . . . . . . . 18

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

A Legacy of Excellence . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

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

Building a Course of Dreams . . . . . . . . 26

Racers To Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Thanks to our Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Previous Birds of Prey Winners . . . . . 14




Photo by TBD.

WELCOME TO BEAVER CREEK Dear Ski Racing Fans, Welcome to the 2019 Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup race week at Beaver Creek. Inside this program you’ll find much more than a guidebook to the event. You will find maps, schedules, facts and information – but you’ll also see much 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, we’ve enjoyed a reputation as one of the great ski races on earth – and within these pages you’ll find two excellent stories on how our race came to be, and how members of the U.S. Ski Team eventually came to conquer the famed competition on their own home soil. You’ll also read about Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, one of many partner organizations who help make these races a success each year, and which is helping cultivate the next generation of quality people and phenomenal skiers. The global spotlight shines on Beaver Creek this weekend, and we are very glad that you are here with us to witness the race action – and all the surrounding festivities – live and in person. More than a hundred million will join you watching from afar on television, livestream, and social media. On behalf of our Board and staff at the Vail Valley Foundation, our incredible volunteers, our partners, Vail Resorts, Beaver Creek Resort, U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the International Ski Federation, the U.S. Forest Service, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and everyone who works round the clock to put together this global event, we welcome you to World Cup racing in the Rockies. Sincerely,

VAIL VALLEY FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS Andy Arnold John Arnold Hans Berglund Sam Bronfman Linn Brooks Susan Campbell Charlene Chen Steve Coyer Andy Daly Matt Donovan Johannes Faessler Tim Finchem Margie Gart Sheika Gramshammer Nadia Guerriero Beth Howard Al Hubbard B.J. Hybl David Hyde Mike Imhof Chris Jarnot Alexia Jurschak Anne-Marie Keane Sarah Millett Ellen Moritz

Kaia Moritz Dan Pennington Jill Plancher Michael Price David Salvin Ken Schanzer Rod Slifer Ann Smead Hap Stein Kristin Tang Fred Tresca Mary Webster Betsy Wiegers Gary Woodworth Kristy Woolfolk Life Trustees Adam Aron Judy Berkowitz Marlene Boll Bjorn Erik Borgen Berry Craddock Jack Crosby, In Memoriam Bill Esrey

President Gerald R. Ford, In Memoriam Harry Frampton Pete Frechette, In Memoriam Steve Friedman John Galvin, In Memoriam John Garnsey George Gillett Donna Giordano Pepi Gramshammer Steve Haber Martha Head Mike Herman William Hybl Elaine Kelton Kent Logan Peter May Eric Resnick Doug Rippeto Mike Shannon Stanley Shuman Oscar Tang Stew Turley

Mike Imhof President, Vail Valley Foundation

Photo by TBD.



11am, Birds of Prey Racecourse

Welcome Party

Kick off BC World Cup weekend with drink specials, epic giveaways, ski movies, a live DJ & more 8pm, Coyote Cafe

FRIDAY, DEC 6 Super G Race

10:45am, Birds of Prey Racecourse

Birds of Prey Way

Pumphouse Bar, live music, sponsor village, giveaways & more 12pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village

Live Music: Drunken Hearts 2pm–3:45pm, Beaver Creek Village

U.S. Ski Team Athlete Signing 4pm–5pm,

Silent Disco presented by

4pm-6pm, FREE, Beaver Creek Village




6:15pm, Beaver Creek Village

Warren Miller’s Timeless

6:30pm, Vilar Performing Arts Center Tickets & info at bcworldcup.com

SATURDAY, DEC 7 Bloodies & Bluegrass

Free pre-race bloody marys and live music by Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon) & Mark Morris (Rapdigrass) 9:30am, Beaver Creek Village

Downhill Race

11am, Birds of Prey Racecourse

Birds of Prey Way

Pumphouse Bar, live music, sponsor village, giveaways & more 12pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village

Live Music: Whitacre

1pm–2:45pm, Beaver Creek Village

Beers of Prey presented by

A sampling of limited edition, seasonal and fan favorite brews 2pm–6pm, Beaver Creek Village Tickets & info at bcworldcup.com


*Schedule subject to change

Live Music: Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue

3:15pm–5:45pm, Beaver Creek Village

Warren Miller’s Timeless

6pm & 9pm, Vilar Performing Arts Center Tickets & info at bcworldcup.com

SUNDAY, DEC 8 Bloodies & Bluegrass

Free pre-race bloody marys and live music by Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon) & Mark Morris (Rapdigrass) 8:45am, Beaver Creek Village

Giant Slalom Race

Run 1: 9:45am, Birds of Prey Racecourse Run 2: 12:45pm, Birds of Prey Racecourse

Birds of Prey Way

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


This event is being recorded. It’s possible your face, voice, and/or behavior might end up in the media and in advertising for our and others’ products and services.

Photo by TBD.

Photo © Trekker Photo

Give your goals some forward momentum Whether it’s breezing in the air or blazing through the powder, every goal has a journey. To help you on your financial journey, we offer high-yield banking and low-rate mortgage solutions made to maximize your money’s potential—so you can focus on what you love. Official bank of the Xfinity Birds of Prey FIS Ski World Cup

Visit TIAABank.com/mountain

TIAA Bank® is a division of TIAA, FSB. TIAA, FSB NMLS ID: 399805 ©2019 TIAA, FSB. 19SPS0948.01

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. Regularly scheduled free shuttles will bring spectators to the Vilar Performing Arts Center and Birds of Prey Way expo area. Free race shuttles depart from the Covered Bridge, every 5-10 minutes throughout training and race days. Skis and snowboards are not permitted on the race shuttles. 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 on request. Please contact Birds of Prey Registration at 970.748.5901.

Spectator Access & Viewing The Birds of Prey Racecourse has a mid-mountain finish and all race events are free and open to the public. 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





WiFi that keeps up with the whole family. Xfinity xFi gives you fast speeds and the best in-home WiFi experience. See who’s online, set curfews and pause your WiFi to bring the family together. Xfinity xFi puts you in control. Now that’s simple, easy, awesome. Go to xfinity.com, call 1-800-xfinity or visit an Xfinity Store today.

Restrictions apply. Not available in all areas. Actual speeds vary and are not guaranteed. Xfinity xFi is available to Xfinity Internet service customers with a compatible Xfinity Gateway. Ability to pause limited to home WiFi network. Does not apply to Xfinity WiFi hotspots. Call for restrictions and complete details. NPA224259


WATCH Ted Ligety

Age: 35 Hometown: Park City, UT World Cup Wins: 25 World Cup Podiums: 52 Discipline titles: 5 GS overall titles, one in Combined World Championships Medals: 7 Olympic Medals: 2 Birds of Prey Wins: 5 2018 Birds of Prey: SG/22, GS/8 2017 Birds of Prey: SG/DNF, GS/7 2015 Birds of Prey: SG/2, GS/DNF 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/28, SG/11, GS/1 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/42, SG/5, GS/1 2012 Birds of Prey: SG/4, GS/1 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/22, SG/DNF, GS/2, GS/1, SL/13 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/DNF, GS/1 2009 Birds of Prey: SC/DNF, GS/4 2008 Birds of Prey: GS/2, SG/7 2007 Birds of Prey: SC/8, GS/4, SG/23

Kjetil Jansrud

Age: 34 Hometown: Vinstra World Cup Wins: 22 World Cup Podiums: 52 World Cup Titles: 3 discipline (DH, 2 SG) World Championships Medals: 3 (2019 Downhill gold) Olympic Medals: 5 (2018 DH silver, SG bronze) Birds of Prey Wins: 1 10



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

Hannes Reichelt Age: 39 Hometown: Radstadt

World Cup Wins: 13 World Cup Podiums: 44 World Cup Titles: 1 SG World Championships Medals: 2 Birds of Prey wins: 2 (both SG) 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/44 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/22, SG/3, GS/DNF 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/4, SG16, GS/DNQ 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/8, SG/1, GS/25 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/3 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/24, SG/3, GS/12 2011 Birds of Prey: DG/10, SG/5, GS/5 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/13 2009 Birds of Prey: GS/6 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/46, SG/10, GS/DNF 2007 Birds of Prey: DH/44, SG/1, GS/7

Alexis Pinturault

Peter Fill

World Cup Wins: 24 World Cup Podiums: 55 World Cup titles: 3 in Combined World Championships Medals: 3 (2019 Combined gold) Olympic Medals: 4 (2018 Combined silver, team event silver, GS bronze) 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

World Cup wins: 3 World Cup podiums: 22 World Cup titles: 2 DH World Championship medals: 2 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/10, SG/16 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/8, SG/26 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/10, SG/4 2013 Birds of Prey: DH/3, SG/3 2012 Birds of Prey: DH/8, SG/DNF 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/25, GS/DNF, GS/DNQ 2010 Birds of Prey: SG/6, GS/DNF 2008 Birds of Prey: DH/11, SG/12, GS/DNF 2007 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/36, SC/30, GS/15 2006 Birds of Prey: DH/4, SC/4, GS/DNQ, 2005 Birds of Prey: DH/7, SG/15, GS/DNF 2004 Birds of Prey: DH/14, SG/DNF, GS/DNQ, SL/DNF 2003 Birds of Prey: DH/28, DH/29, SG/4 2002 Birds of Prey: DH/30, SG/20

Age: 28 Hometown: Courchevel

Steven Nyman

Age: 37 Hometown: Provo, UT World Cup Wins: 3 World Cup podiums: 11 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/9, SG/20 2017 Birds of Prey: Did not compete (injury) 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

Dominik Paris

Age: 30 Hometown: Merano World Cup Wins: 16 World Cup Podiums: 57 World Cup Titles: 1 (2019 SG) World Championships Medals: 2 (2019 SG gold) 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

Photos by Agence Zoom.

Age: 37 Hometown: Castelrotto

Beat Feuz

Age: 32 Hometown: Schangnau World Cup wins: 11 World Cup podiums: 44 World Cup Titles: 2 (2018 and 2019 Downhill) World Championship medals: 2 Olympic medals: 2 (2018 SG silver, DH bronze) 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

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde

Age: 27 Hometown: Bærum World Cup wins: 3 World Cup podiums: 11 World Cup titles: 1 SG 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


Matthias Mayer

Travis Ganong

Age: 29 Hometown: Afritz

World Cup wins: 6 World Cup podiums: 21 Olympic medals: 2 (2018 SG gold) 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/15, SG/8, GS/DNQ 2017 Birds of Prey: DH12, 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

Henrik Kristoffersen

Age: 28 Hometown: Linz

World Cup wins: 18 World Cup podiums: 53 World Cup titles: 1 SL World Championship medals: 1 (2019 GS gold) Olympic medals: 2 (2018 GS silver) 2018 Birds of Prey: GS/4 2017 Birds of Prey: GS/2 2015 Birds of Prey: GS/3 2014 Birds of Prey: GS/27

World Cup wins: 4 World Cup podiums: 11 World Championship medals: 2 (2019 silver SG, bronze DH) 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/5, SG/7, GS/DNQ 2017 Birds 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, SG/16, GS/DNQ

Mathieu Faivre

Thomas Dressen

Age: 27 Hometown: Isola 2000

Age: 26 Hometown: Mittenwald

World Cup wins: 1 World Cup podiums: 7 2018 Birds of Prey: GS/7 2017 Birds of Prey: SG/49, GS/DNQ 2015 Birds of Prey: GS/7 2014 Birds of Prey: GS/11 2013 Birds of Prey: GS/4 2012 Birds of Prey: GS/28


World Cup wins: 2 World Cup podiums: 4 World Championship medals: 1 (2015 DH silver in Beaver Creek) 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

Vincent Kriechmayr

Age: 25 Hometown: Lørenskog


Age: 31 Hometown: Lake Tahoe, CA

World Cup wins: 3 (2018 Hahnenkamm DH champion) World Cup podiums: 4 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/DNF (seasonending ACL injury) 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/3, SG/10 2015 Birds of Prey: DH/DNS, SG/DNF


Christof Innerhofer

Age: 34 Hometown: Gais-Gais World Cup wins: 6 World Cup Podiums: 18 World Championship medals: 3 Olympic medals: 2 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

Mauro Caviezel Age: 31 Hometown: Tomils

World Cup podiums: 6 (second in 2018 Birds of Prey DH and SG) 2018 Birds of Prey: DH/2, SG/2 2017 Birds of Prey: DH/14, SG/DNF 2014 Birds of Prey: DH/42, SG/DNF 2013 Birds of Prey: SG/42, GS/DNQ

Marco Odermatt Age: 22 Hometown: Buochs

World Cup podiums: 2 World Junior medals: 6 (5 gold, won every event he entered in 2018) 2018 Birds of Prey: SG/42, GS/27 2017 Birds of Prey: GS/DNF

Stefan Luitz

Age:27 Hometown: Bolsterlang World Cup wins: 1 (2018 Birds of Prey GS) World Cup podiums: 7 2018 Birds of Prey: GS/1 2017 Birds of Prey: GS/3 2015 Birds of Prey: GS/22 2014 Birds of Prey: GS/DNF 2013 Birds of Prey: GS/9 2012 Birds of Prey: GS/13

Tommy Ford

Age: 30 Hometown: Bend, OR Currently 4th in World Cup GS standings 2018 Birds of Prey: GS/15 2017 Birds of Prey: GS/10 2015 Birds of Prey: SG/28, GS/DNQ 2012 Birds of Prey: GS/26 2011 Birds of Prey: DH/62, SG/27, GS/22, GS/15 2010 Birds of Prey: DH/64, SG/49, GS/DNQ 2009 Birds of Prey: GS/DNQ

Bryce Bennett Age: 27 Hometown: Alpine Meadows, CA

Finished 2019 season as top American in Downhill standings (7th) 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










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


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


DH Hermann Maier, AUT SG Fredrik Nyberg, SWE


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

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

SG Georg Streitberger, AUT GS Ted Ligety, USA


DH Stephan Eberharter, AUT SG Didier Cuche, SUI






No races held


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


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

2005 DH SG GS SL

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

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


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

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

2006 SC DH GS SL

Aksel Lund Svindal, NOR Bode Miller, USA Massimiliano Blardone, ITA Andre Myhrer, SWE

2007 SC DH GS SG

Daniel Albrecht, SUI Michael Walchhofer, AUT Daniel Albrecht, SUI Hannes Reichelt, AUT




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

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

No races held


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


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






















100 %





Ski and Snowboard Club Vail has been developing World Cup athletes one generation at a time When the U.S. Ski Team’s River Radamus comes down the course at the Xfinity Birds of Prey, he’ll be cheered on by a local fanclub of young ski racers ringing cowbells and donning team jackets. Every racer at the event gets a warm reception from this enthusiastic bunch, but none likely warmer than Radamus, the Edwards, Colorado local who grew up right down the street from the famed course and earned his racing stripes at one of the most renowned clubs in the world: Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV). Radamus will be joined on the hill for the second year in a row by fellow SSCV alum and U.S. Ski Team member Kyle Negomir, who is confirmed for the Super G and eyeing starts in the Downhill and Giant Slalom. Also up-and-coming on the national-team roster are SSCV alumni Cooper Cornelius and Bridger Gile, who will likely compete for a remaining start via time trial, while Jacob Dilling and Kellen Kinsella round out new additions on the national Development Team. It’s a special group that trained for years at SSCV under Matt Underhill and Max Lamb, both of whom this season also graduated onto the U.S. Ski Team as coaches. And they’re just the latest generation of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumni to be tapped by the national team, joining the likes of Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, and Chad Fleischer, who have all skied to thrilling finishes at the Beaver Creek venue. This week, the Golden Eagle track will be familiar territory for Negomir who grew up performing course-slipping and hill-prep duties at the annual Birds of Prey races. It’s a long-standing tradition and partnership between race organizers and SSCV — and in certain




cases, it’s good preparation for athletes who go on to earn one of the coveted starts at the annual World Cup event. “All through Ski Club, we would come out and slip the course and set up B net for World Champs and World Cup,” Negomir said. “We’d do those high-speed slips down the Downhill. And that was my first introduction to the course. It makes it super cool to be able to ski it now, and to go into the Downhill never having raced it before, I can still tell you every turn from memory from having worked it so many times over the years.” Every year, SSCV mobilizes more than 50 coaches, athletes, and parent volunteers per day amounting to nearly 4,000 man hours to help set up and refine the Golden Eagle course. The club’s responsibilities include installing B net, slipping the track, and facilitating the runner crew. “It’s definitely an intimidating course,” said Negomir, who until recently lived in Avon and could see the venue from his house. “But having done those high-speed slips and having worked it so many times, it doesn’t feel like my first time at a race venue. It all feels very familiar.”

Expansion and Development With a fresh crop of SSCV alumni populating the U.S. Ski Team this season, local coaches and staff are working hard to develop the next generation of racers, aided now by long-awaited developments taking shape at Vail’s Golden Peak training and race center. “It’s been a really exciting time at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail,” said Executive Director Kirk Dwyer. “Over the summer, we were thrilled to

begin construction on the expanded training and competition venue at Golden Peak, which is going to be a game-changer for developing athletes at the club. We’ve also now settled into our new clubhouse at the base of the hill, with construction of the interior set to be completed in 2020.” The expanded terrain on Golden Peak, which is expected to be open and operational before the end of the year, will provide approximately 30 acres of additional trail space, a brand-new high-speed surface lift and improved snowmaking infrastructure. With these enhancements, 600 vertical feet have been added to the venue, providing more than 1,700 vertical feet of total terrain. This amounts to a doubling of the training space on Golden Peak and creates three new trails — two that will primarily host alpine ski racing activities and one that will serve as a dedicated mogul venue (the latter expected ahead of the 2020-2021 season). The venue can be homologated up to men’s NorAm Downhill and women’s World Cup Downhill and will be dedicated to ski racing activities on a season-long basis.

John “JC” Cole, longtime leader of SSCV’s Xfinity Birds of Prey setup, providing instructions to a group of ski club athletes in the days leading up to the annual races at Beaver Creek. Every year, SSCV mobilizes more than 50 coaches, athletes, and parent volunteers per day to help prep the hill. Photo courtesy SSCV.

At the base of the hill, SSCV is nearing completion of a new landmark facility, which has been perused in one form or another for decades and replaces the old, dilapidated clubhouse that once stood in its place. The first three stories of the new structure will host SSCV facilities, such as enhanced equipment storage, locker rooms, coaches’ workstations, administrative offices, conference rooms, athlete lounges, video rooms, warm-up/ warm-down rooms, a state-of-the-art tuning facility, a gym and medical treatment center. “The expansion represents another element of the incredible progress that is happening at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail,” said SSCV Chief Operating Officer John Hale. “Both the expansion and the new clubhouse have been projects that have long been dreamed about at SSCV. Happily, both of these projects are rapidly becoming reality, but none of it matters without great coaching. So we’ve taken huge steps over the last few years to hire and retain top-tier coaches at all levels of the program, and it’s been exciting to see the progress happen for our athletes in real time.” BY GEOFF MINTZ, SKI & SNOWBOARD CLUB VAIL Photo by Geoff Mintz, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

Former SSCV athlete, now with Dartmouth College and the U.S. Development Team, Kellen Kinsella trains on Vail’s Golden Peak. Kinsella is among a strong crop of SSCV athletes who made the U.S. Ski Team over the last two seasons. His teammates River Radamus and Kyle Negomir, also formally of SSCV, are expected to get starts at the Xfinity Birds of Prey. Photo courtesy SSCV. 19


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OUR TIME ON TOP The U.S. Ski Team once dominated Birds of Prey – can they do it again?

Daron Rahlves made U.S. Ski Team history by taking third in the 2002 Birds of Prey Downhill, and following that up with wins in 2003 and 2005, and a second-place to teammate Bode Miller in 2004. Photo by Jonathan Selkowitz.

The development of the Birds of Prey course over 20 years ago brought out the best in many racers—including and especially a trio of Americans with the surnames Miller, Rahlves and Ligety. Collectively, the three have 11 wins on a course known to test a racer’s limits. Daron Rahlves, the oldest of the three, was the first to reach the podium, finishing third in the 2002 Downhill. Marco Sullivan (sixth) and Bode Miller (eighth) were also in strong form that day—the first time three Americans finished in the top 10 of a World Cup Downhill since 1972. Rahlves was 29 at the time, and though he had only been on a World Cup Downhill podium three times to that point in his career, two of those trips were to the top step in back-to-back wins at Kvitfjell, Norway, at the end of the 1999-2000 season. Feisty and determined—and at 5’8”, 185 pounds, more compact than his rivals— he was also the surprise winner of the Super G at the 2001 world championships in St. Anton, Austria, upsetting the favored Austrians Stephan Eberharter and Hermann Maier on their home snow. Six weeks after his Beaver Creek performance, Rahlves became the first American to win the fabled Kitzbühel Downhill in 44 years. American ski racing history had a bright, new chapter to explore.

Getting a ‘Grip’ on Victory In 2003, Rahlves would score the first of his two Birds of Prey Downhill wins in a race moved to Beaver Creek from Val d’Isere, France. Home snow, often described as grippy, suited Rahlves just fine, as it did for Miller, who first gained attention in 2002 when he won two silver medals (combined and Giant Slalom) at the Salt Lake Olympics. In 2004, Miller, then 27, made his first appearance on a Birds of Prey podium, finishing second in the Super G that opened the weekend of racing. Miller and Rahlves often talked about pushing each other to be the better racer in addition to their own internal motivations for success.




Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves went 1-2 in the 2004 Birds of Prey Downhill. The next year, Rahlves won and Miller took second. Photo courtesy Vail Valley Foundation. It’s a familiar scene across sports—what would Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic be without each other to challenge them? They also both liked the challenge of the Birds of Prey course, considered among the most difficult on the World Cup circuit.

“I do better in Downhills that make you fight more, that make you work hard,” Rahlves said. “You want to be getting in the gate and everybody to think: We’ve got to watch,” Rahlves said later in his career about his approach to racing. “I love putting down exciting runs that get people going ‘Whoa.’

Bode Miller was renowned not only for his top finishes, but for his noholds-barred style of racing. Photo by Jonathan Selkowitz.

Ted Ligety was the next American to find dominance on the Birds of Prey course, notching five World Cup GS wins and an additional Alpine World Ski Championships win. Photo by Jonathan Selkowitz.

That shock factor, blow people out of their mind with the stuff you pull off. You want to be pushing the limits, taking risks and tapping into your total limit.”

been outside the top 10 only once in 13 races—a first run DNF in 2015. In the intervening 10 years, Ligety earned the “Mr. GS” moniker in part due to his mastery of the Birds of Prey course: five World Cup victories in six attempts, including four successive wins between 2011-2014. A fifth consecutive triumph came at the 2015 World Championships before a raucous crowd, making for a grand total (so far) of five World Cup Giant Slalom wins and an additional Alpine World Ski Championships win, all on Birds of Prey.

To the crowd’s delight, Miller and Rahlves were one-two in the 2004 Birds of Prey Downhill, one of five times they finished in the top two spots in their careers, with the added twist of a tie for first at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, later that season. Miller’s victory was part of a 16-day dominance that saw him win in all four available events— Slalom, Giant Slalom, Downhill and Super G—at the time only the second racer along with Marc Girardelli to achieve the feat in a single season. “If you’re happy with what you’re doing, records don’t mean much,” said Miller, always one to speak his mind. “I think it’s just fun to ski four events.” In 2005, Rahlves got the top spot over Miller in the Birds of Prey Downhill. “I charged from the minute I left the gate all the way to the finish. Everything came out and that’s what I’m most proud of, just skiing with my full heart, soul and every ounce of power and determination I could muster up.” The following day Miller led the one-two charge in the Giant Slalom. Erik Schlopy, who whacked his left hand on a gate hard enough to break it in the first run, was an agonizing one one-hundredth off the podium in fourth, prompting third-place finisher Kalle Palander (FIN) to quip he felt like he was at an American championship race. On the event’s final day of racing, 21-year-old Ted Ligety would take his first step onto a World Cup podium with a third in the Slalom, and wrap up a highly successful weekend in which Americans took five of 12 podium spots.

“Any time you get a win in the U.S., it’s awesome,” said Ligety at one point during his streak. “I mean, Ted, he should ski two or three gates more than the other skiers,” said Hirscher after losing to Ligety by 1.76 seconds in 2012, a comment that drew a laugh from the assembled media. Said Ligety at the time: “I’m skiing fast. I don’t know if I’m skiing at a different level. I think a lot of other guys have made mistakes. It’s tough to say exactly what it is, but I feel like I’m skiing well.” Now focusing solely on Giant Slalom, Ligety would love to recapture the magic that produced three successive Giant Slalom overall world championships (2011, 2013, 2015) as well as three golds in a single championship (2013 at Schladming, Austria, in Giant Slalom, Combined and Super G); an Olympic gold (2014); 17 wins out of 31 races across four seasons, and five career Giant Slalom discipline titles. Injuries and Marcel Hirscher—who redefined the sport Ligety himself had redefined—took their toll in recent years, but Ligety is again ready to charge. Hirscher is now retired from ski racing, and yet a field of challengers are lined up to try and fill Hirscher’s spot and dethrone Ligety, who has been the undisputed top Giant Slalom of Birds of Prey over the past 10 years.

The Shred Begins

It has fans asking: Could history repeat itself?

Ligety’s first Giant Slalom result at Birds of Prey, in 2005, belied his future success—a DNF in the first run. A year later, with one World Cup win under his belt, he claimed his first podium at Beaver Creek, and has



Founded by Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer Pepi, an international racer and member of the Austrian “Super” Ski Team from 1955 to 1960, and Sheika, a dancer in Las Vegas and model in New York, came to the United States in 1959. Pepi and Sheika arrived in Vail in 1962 and s hortly thereaer opened Pepi’s Restaurant & Bar, well known for its international cuisine and Apres Bar with live music.

In memory of Pepi, who we lost this year, we welcome you to our community and to ‘Pepi’s Day at the Races’


The creation of the Birds of Prey racing course was a seminal moment in Audi FIS Ski World Cup history Not long after the successful 1989 World Championships came to a close in Vail, local organizers started thinking, “Hey, that was fun. Let’s do it again.” The event put Vail and Beaver Creek on the world stage—not in the least due to 30+ inches of snow that fell prior to the men’s Downhill, causing a one-day delay. Course workers started digging, European TV reporters stood waist 26


deep to send dispatches across the ocean, reservation phone lines were ringing, and no doubt a lot of people had a good powder day. Two or three years later, the group of visionaries that brought the event to the Vail Valley were unanimous in one major change that needed to occur if the world was to come back: a new men’s Downhill course.


The same course feature that created intrigue in the 1989 version on Beaver Creek’s Centennial run—Rattlesnake Alley, a luge-like chicane dug into the earth and shaped with snow and water—was also a major challenge when that big snowfall came: it filled up fast, and had to be dug out by hand—lots of hands wielding shovels.

Previous Page: The ribbon-cutting ceremony from the opening day of the 1997 Birds of Prey course. Left to right: John Garnsey, Bernhard Russi, Andy Daly, Tony O’Rourke, Adam Aron, Pepi Gramshammer, and Pete Seibert. Photo courtesy Vail Valley Foundation. Top to bottom: A Downhill inspection from the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships from left to right: Bob Knous, Pepi Gramshammer, Bernhard Russi, Mike Farney, Cindy Nelson, John Garnsey and Bill Brown. Photo by John Dakin. Lasse Kjus (NOR), pictured here at the 1999 Alpine World Ski Championships, was one of the top performers in the early days of the Birds of Prey course. Photo by Rex Keep. Hermann Maier (AUT) is the all-time top performer on the Birds of Prey course. Photo by Rex Keep. More importantly, the tide was changing in favor of tougher, more challenging courses that played into the hands of the nations that compete regularly on the World Cup, as opposed to a tamer version that could accommodate the countries that only field a team for major events.

“The desire was to the best of our ability put together a kick-ass Downhill,” said John Dakin, former VP of Communications for the Vail Valley Foundation, and part of the discussions in the early 1990s. The bid was secured in 1994 with the prospect of creating a new course incorporating the East Vail Chutes, according to John Garnsey, then president of the VVF. But establishing a course in Beaver Creek became a priority, and Jim Roberts and Greg Johnson, both longtime officials of the race organization and what later became Vail Resorts, explored the possibilities and presented what is now Birds of Prey. Course designer Bernhard Russi, who earned Olympic gold and silver, World Championship gold, and nine World Cup Downhill wins for Switzerland in the 1970s, put the visions of 27

local organizers into reality and connected the dots to Beaver Creek’s existing runs. ‘’When I first saw Birds of Prey,’’ Russi said to the New York Times in 1999, ‘’I told others, I don’t want to change the mountain. But I want to listen to the mountain and see what it tells me. I could see this was a wellbalanced mountain with all the features you need to ski it.’’ In one summer, 1997, the Birds of Prey course was constructed, which largely involved difficult work at the top of the mountain to create a start area and the initial gliding section that leads into the steep terrain where the Brink, Talon and Pete’s Arena are located.

“The Beaver Creek Downhill has everything,” said Kjetil Andre Aamodt, winner of the 1999 combined, and a bronze medalist in the Downhill that year—two of 20 medals he captured in Olympic or world championship events. “It’s a modern Downhill. It has gliding sections. It has a lot of action—steep parts, turns, jumps—which I think all the racers love.” The Birds of Prey course underwent its first and only test, prior to the massive 1999 World Championships, during a test event in December 1997, and quickly drew rave reviews. While Italy’s Kristian Ghedina was the winner of the inaugural Downhill, the always dominant Austrians soon took charge.

“The top 30 seconds are dead flat and you’re just in a full tuck,” said Bode Miller as part of “The Thin Line,” a 2010 film by Jalbert Productions. “And then it goes into some of the steepest stuff we have on the World Cup, at least for an extended period of time.”

“Once you are over the Brink, those turns come at you so fast. And once the tight turns are over, by the pumphouse, you know it’s getting faster and faster. You have no time to think about what’s coming up.” What’s coming up is a lot of air time plus a potential deceleration: the Peregrine, Goshawk, Screech Owl and Golden Eagle jumps, followed by a compression known as the Abyss, where the terrain flattens out and can take away a lot of the speed a racer has gained to that point. “He’s (Russi) built some killer courses. I really like how he’s worked in the natural terrain,” said Daron Rahlves, twice a winner on the Birds of Prey Downhill. The final Red Tail jump is capable of launching a racer “60 to 70 meters,” Miller said. “That’s almost the length of a football field. And it’s where a racer has to just let it go to carry his speed across the line.”



Said Russi in 1999, where Maier won the Downhill in front of an estimated 20,000 fans— including Arnold Schwarzenegger—and tied Norway’s Lasse Kjus for the Super G gold,

“I can imagine that five years ago this course would be too steep, too ‘turny.’ It would not have been acceptable,” he told the Denver Post. But times had changed, and Russi had created a masterpiece. “It is just the right course at just the right time.”

Russi said it takes a special mindset to ski his course. “What’s the challenging thing on Birds of Prey is you need a different attitude to ski,” he said. “Out of the starting gate you have to be very light and very smooth. And once you come over the Brink, and it changes from heaven to hell. From one moment to the other you have to change your technique completely.

“The course is getting an A-plus rating. The stadium is getting an A-plus rating. The transportation is working. Therefore, it’s a big relief for us as organizers. Now we can start working on fine tuning and detail.”

Compared to his days two decades earlier, Russi said “the racers are 10 times better, and I think you have to give them a chance to show it. If they’re just going straight, no one knows how good they are.” Winners of the first-ever Birds of Prey Downhill Dec. 4, 1997. Left to right: Norway’s Lasse Kjus, third place, Italy’s Kristian Ghedina, first place, and France’s Jean-Luc Cretier, second place. Photo by Susan Farley AFP/Getty Images. Hermann Maier ultimately won six of 10 World Cup races he started between 1997 and 2003. While the combination of the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Resorts and the local community has earned high praise for its continued success at organizing and executing ski races dating back to the 1960s, there was a natural trepidation if all the moving parts would work as they should in December 1997 at a new venue. “We had a lot of anxiety about this venue,” said John Garnsey, president of the VVF at the time, to the Denver Post. “We didn’t know what it would do. We didn’t know if we could get the people here. We didn’t know how the stadium would work. We didn’t know how the course would be perceived.


Birds of Prey was quickly recognized as one of the top courses on the World Cup circuit—right up there with Kitzbühel, Bormio, Val Gardena and Wengen. It became a place where Americans would shine—11 wins between 2003 and 2014— which no doubt helped draw the crowds that have flocked every year. It has all of the elements the planners envisioned when preparing for the 1999 championships and beyond. The wildly successful 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships drew just under 221,000 spectators and millions more on TV to watch American stars Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Steven Nyman and Travis Ganong mix it up with their European rivals. “It’s our big home race. It’s the only race we (men) get to have in the United States,” said Ted Ligety in 2008. “It’s very important for us. It’s nice to be able to go to a race here your friends and family can show up. Beaver Creek is obviously awesome for all events.” BY CHERYL LINDSTROM



Born in Kufstein, Austria, in 1932, Pepi Gramshammer's dream came true when he skied for Austria from 1955-1960. He then immigrated to the United States, where he was instrumental in bringing the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to Vail/Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999, and 2015. He was also a key contributor to the creation and success of the Birds of Prey races.

Thank you to Pepi and the Gramshammer family!




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2019 Xfinity Birds of Prey Program Book  

Official program book for the 2019 Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup ski races in Beaver Creek, CO.

2019 Xfinity Birds of Prey Program Book  

Official program book for the 2019 Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup ski races in Beaver Creek, CO.