Friends and family (Courtesy of Justin Samuels)
Hey everybody, thanks for checking back in. I guess that I’ll start by doing a recap of the Beaver Creek race week. Beaver Creek is the best, it’s the only opportunity that we ever get to race at home so it’s super fun for the US athletes but also there’s a lot of external stuff going on that makes the week busy. It’s a great opportunity to be able to get up in front of the home crowd and showcase what you’ve got and hopefully give everybody something to cheer about.
This year all the cold and stormy weather that we dodged in Lake Louise crashed down on us in Beaver Creek. We lost the first two of three training runs because initially a good potion of the athletes couldn’t get from Calgary to Denver and then we got hit with a quite a bit of snow. Personally, I wasn’t complaining because last week every extra day that I got off was another day that I could rehab my leg, so as far as I was concerned the more missed runs the better. We did eventually get a training day off on Thursday and because of incoming weather the DH race was moved to Friday.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of positive to report on the DH race from our perspective. In a nutshell everybody seemed to ski fairly well, however the speed wasn’t there especially on the top flat where all our guys inexplicably lost relative eons of time for a thirty second glide section. Bode and Travis both popped into the top fifteen and Steven, Fisher, and Marco all put it into the points as well. Personally, I was probably too slow on the top flat to be a factor anyway but I was somewhat psyched because I made good turns before skiing out at the cut from the Raptor to The Birds of Prey. All said it was interesting to ski a course at Beaver Creek that wasn’t The Birds of Prey, as always it was prepared phenomenally, which made the skiing fun but it definitely lacked some of the pop and challenge of the normal course.
In contrast to the DH I personally thought that the hybrid SG was a much more fun and flowing course than the normal Birds of Prey. The four mellow turns out of the start of the Raptor SG allow you as a racer to build into the steep and gnarly that you know is coming down below. Don’t get me wrong I love the Birds of Prey SG, however I found the Raptor SG to be a little more attackable because you had a little time to settle into the course. Anyway, the SG yielded some stronger results from individuals, however the group as a whole seemed to struggle a little bit. Ted skied solidly into fifth, Bode had a big mistake on the bottom to blow a solid top ten finishing fourteenth and I followed suit making the same mistake on the same gate dropping over a second in the final split to finish twentieth. On a personal level this race was a huge confidence booster for me after the Lake Louise debacle and despite blowing a great result my goal was a top twenty so in a sense I was happy with that.
SG Race (Courtesy of Jonathan Selkowitz)
I obviously didn’t race the GS but as most of you might know it was a historic day for the USA finishing one and two on the day. It was great to see Bode really light it up in GS again and if it wasn’t for one Ted Ligety being in a totally different league Bode would have had a very comfortable win over Hirscher, who incidentally looked like he might cry in the finish. Anyway, it was awesome to see that type of skiing out of our guys, obviously it’s somewhat expected from Ted at this point but Bode’s more of an x-factor, or was because it looks like he’s back.
That’s pretty much it for the good ol USA this year, most the team is headed home for a few days off right now before traveling to Italy. Personally, I’m going to head over to Copper for the Nor Am races to get some more time on snow to make up for those weeks I missed before Lake Louise. As always looking forward to getting over to Europe, the North American tour is great but there’s something fun about racing on that side pond. The plan right now is to be in Europe until the middle of March so I’m looking forward to a couple nice “American” meals before it’s Schnitzel and Sausages for the next three months. Thanks for reading and I’ll be checking in soon…
Until next time Beaver Creek (Courtesy of Justin Samuels)