by Doug Haney
It feels like opening day after a two foot blower. I’m jittery even before coffee. Birds of Prey will do that.
All the forerunners at our home races are young, usually way too skinny to be downhillers – yet. I make it a point to talk to these guys after their run. It takes a while before they can say anything more than “Wow, that was fun.” By the final training day, they usually make all the gates.
North of here the women are getting their speed on as well – seriously. In the final training run yesterday, almost everyone was in the top 30 with Cookie, LV and Jules in the top 10. Laurenne was knocking on the door with 12. Lake Louise has beengood to us.
It’s still early in Beaver Creek, but the Marco Rocks Fan Club is already saying good morning to Bloody Mary. I love this race, here’s the notes:
Beaver Creek, CO – Audi Birds of Prey downhill
- It’s Bode’s 10th straight season of starting the Birds of Prey downhill. If you add at least one training run to each of those years and in some years a super combined, he’s easily run this hill 30 or more times. If anyone is feeling ambitious this morning, dig that fact up. Point is, the guy knows this hill. He was fourth in the finaltraining run and stood up over Red Tail jump. “I wouldn’t have an opportunity to run on a track like that any other way,” he told journalists after run. “I’d get arrested or locked up or whatever.” My day is already better. Bode goes 13.
- There’s a bit more swing to the old Birds this year – a little less air, but no less speed and certainly no less intensity. Fast times on Thursday were in the 1:43′s and that’s on parwith years past. Bode last won this thing in 2006 in 1:46.15. Travis Ganongsaid it best on Wednesday – “It’s not as same as it was before, but I like turny. I like those high speed turns and being really active. It links really well if you ski it right.” He was 7th Wednesday. Trah kicks out 37.
- War Horse! – Yes watch this now: http://www.youtube.com/usskiteam#p/a/97D9BE259C9F9D41/0/zY9dW3VfhB0. The shoulder and ankle are fixed folks and Andrew runs 23.
- T. Ford is no longer a Birds of Prey virgin. He did yesterday’s run more-or-less for training and didn’t plan onracing. From bib 76 he did a race-day reach for the paint – smiling. He’s 66 today.
Sully, Nyman, Shred and Fish are also locked and loaded my friends. It’s breakfast time at Birds with this thing goes off at 11 a.m. local and beamed to your local NBC station at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Lake Louise, Alberta – women’s downhill
- LV has won this race seven times, including the last five. Last year she did it with blood running out of hermouth after kneeing herself in the chin at the top. Yes, I did pick her for a podium at www.FanstasySkiRacer.com, but I’m not saying where. Who’d you pick Pat Graham: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/2010-12-02-3258967338_x.htm. Vonn starts 16 – I’m pretty sure that’s her favorite start number.
- Jules was second on day one in Lake Louise, then won Wednesday’s session. She was ninth yesterday and then her best friend Chemmy Alcott took a digger and ended up in Banff with a broken leg.She’ll be gunning with bib 19. We all saw a different Julia in Aspen and damn it was awesome. Go get it Jules.
- Stacey Cook had the best result of her career in Lake Louise with fourth a few years back. She’s been doing some cool skype interviews with Universal Sports. Check them out: http://www.universalsports.com/video/assetid=7804aeee-4e39-4131-a527-35fc1f95dba5.html#watch+grounded+cook+take+lake+louise
- Alice has the hole shot, Chelsea, Leanne, Laurenne will likely be in the points and Julia Ford is getting her first World Cup downhill start. She was born in 1990 folks. It’s going to be a good day.