World Cup downhill training kicks off at Beaver Creek |

World Cup downhill training kicks off at Beaver Creek

Ian Smith
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. ” There was a buzz at Beaver Creek on Monday and it didn’t have to do with all the new snow on the mountain.

Birds of Prey is back.

Athletes, coaches and fans alike made it through dicey road condi tions to get ready for the 10th running of the race. It’s the only set of men’s World Cup races on American snow.

“It’s awesome to be back home at Beaver Creek,” U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said. “We love it here. It’s great to be back in the U.S.A. This is a special place for us.”

Despite a heavy snowstorm that pushed through the area last weekend, equipment started arriving from Lake Louise, Alberta ” the site of last weekend’s races ” during the late-morning hours. That’s a good start to a hectic week.

In 2003, a snafu with customs delayed the skis and caused more than a few headaches.

With the skis arriving in time for Tuesday’s downhill training at 1 p.m., the teams can now turn their attention to reaching the podium.

Traditionally, Americans have fared well in the race.

In the past five years, Americans have stood on the podium 14 times, with wins coming from Bode Miller (three) and now-retired Daron Rahlves (two).

“When you race at home, you have a little extra punch because you want to do well,” Rearick said.

Fifteen Americans were listed among the 96 entrants.

Race officials told team captains to expect difficult course conditions. Crews were still working on the course on Monday evening, and were expected to continue through the night.

Downhill training was originally scheduled to start at 11 a. m., but it was pushed back to accommodate the extra preparation.

The race events included a super combined on Thursday, a downhill on Friday and super G on Saturday.

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