American vets, rookies have strong showing in Birds of Prey giant slalom
BEAVER CREEK — It was an exciting day for the seven Americans racing the giant slalom on Sunday, with four earning World Cup points and three getting World Cup runs under their belts.
Ted Ligety led the way for the Americans, finishing in a tie for eighth, followed by Tommy Ford in 15th, Brian McLaughlin in 18th — and getting the first World Cup points of his career — and Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 22nd.
Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy’s River Radamus continued his World Cup weekend with a start in the GS. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Kyle Negomir got his first World Cup start, and Luke Winters got his first World Cup GS assignment.
“It’s a really cool atmosphere right now,” said Negomir, who grew up working at this race setting up nets and slipping the course. “We’ve got a really talented group of young skiers coming up and the older guys are doing a really good job mentoring the young guys and bringing them up.”
‘It’s the hometown’
With the season-opening GS race canceled in Soelden, Austria, for the second year in a row, World Cup racers started the season’s GS competitions at Beaver Creek.
“It’s always fun on this hill and with this crowd,” Ligety said after the race. “The last two years have been super straight courses, so having two turny ones is definitely an adjustment that needs to be taken into consideration.”
Ligety and Ford have had success at Birds of Prey, and Sunday was a day for younger racers on the U.S. Ski Team to get some experience.
“It’s just crazy to be out here,” Winters said. “It’s the hometown and my whole family’s here, and they’ve never been to a World Cup. I’ve never even skied this hill in my whole life.”
For Winters, the Birds of Prey course was an eye-opening experience.
“It’s a lot different than it looks on TV,” he said. “The steeper sections are a bit steeper in real life than they look on TV. There’s a little more swing and a lot of chatter running in the back, but other than that it was really good.”
Negomir had some trouble toward the bottom of the course during his run.
“I took a GS gate between the legs, so that was a little bit of trouble and didn’t feel that great,” he said. “I think a lot of people are having trouble at the bottom.”
Negomir was beaming, and still catching his breath, in the finish area after his first race on the World Cup circuit. How does one celebrate such a special life occasion?
“I’m hopping in the car right after this and heading to the airport,” he said, on his way to Lake Louise, Alberta, for more racing.
McLaughlin made the biggest jump of the Americans, starting with bib No. 37 and finishing 18th. Those were McLaughlin’s first World Cup points, a big marker in a skiing career. Cochran-Siegle was also in the points.
“It was awesome,” Ligety said of having four Americans in the second run.
“I’m really close with this group of guys and it’s been fun incorporating Ryan into our group. It’s awesome to see him stepping up on a race day.”
Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.
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