Training day nixed but Birds of Prey super-G set to go | SummitDaily.com

Training day nixed but Birds of Prey super-G set to go

IAN CROPP
Eagle County Correspondent

BEAVER CREEK ” The Birds of Prey course got a day off Wednesday.

Training for the men’s downhill was canceled due to heavy winds and snowfall.

Despite Wednesday’s cancellation, the super-G will start at 11 a.m. today.

“During the day (Wednesday), I got many questions what the real reason was not to start the training run,” said International Ski Federation Chief of Race Director Gunter Hujara during a news conference. “Those who asked me maybe were sleeping in untill later when the sun came out, but they should have been on the hill in the early morning. There were very strong winds on the upper part (of the mountain) and it was not possible to get up on the higher chairlifts.”

And when the sun did come out, the snowfall got more and more heavy, Hujara said.

In addition to the weather conditions on Wednesday, Hujara and the race officials were concerned with this week’s four races.

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“We did our schedule to have the race hill ready for the (super-G), downhill, (giant) slalom and slalom races,” Hujara said. “It’s a very difficult issue because we run the races on the same slope, and that’s why we decided to clear the whole width, from net to net, and this takes time.”

For today’s super-G, Hujara noted the forecast called for nice weather with a little overcast.

Super-G

The starting order for today’s race is set based upon the point totals from last year’s total super-G points.

Depending on the course conditions, some of the earlier racers may see fast times, said U.S. men’s coach Phil McNichol.

“If it’s not snowing, and the snow can’t be as hard as we’d like, earlier start positions could be better,” McNichol said. “You’ve got to look out for (Bjarne) Solbakken, (Hannes) Reichelt and even (Lasse) Kjus.”

Regardless of what the weather does to the course before the race, McNichol thinks the course will be in great shape.

“They have some of the best cat operators here, and the best people preparing the hill,” McNichol said.”

McNichol likes the starting setup that places a throng of American races in the later half of the draw.

“Our guys should be fine (starting) in the back,” McNichol said. “I’m confident we are going to have a good day. I just can’t wait to be racing and not waiting for it. The anticipation kills you.”

The Americans are set to race as such: Daron Rahlves, 28th; Bode Miller, 30th; Justin J. Johnson, 33rd; Scott Macartney, 40th; Marco Sullivan, 41st and Steve Nyman, 54th.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.