Hahnenkamm " the Super Bowl of ski racing " kicks off today
KITZBUEHEL, Austria ” A snowstorm that dropped upwards of three feet of snow on The Streif, the fabled Hahnenkamm downhill course, erased two days of training as the Super Bowl of ski racing neared. Organizers planned to go ahead today with the super G.
“Oh, training is overrated,” U.S. Men’s head coach Phil McNichol laughed Thursday night. He quickly added, “Seriously, of course, it’s always better to get more training on this hill. It’s gnarly and you want your athletes to be prepared. One training run is not optimal, but it’s the cards we have to play this time.”
The schedule for Hahnenkamm’s 66th race weekend includes a super G today, the downhill Saturday and a slalom ” with a combined calculation from the DH ” on Sunday. The races are the final speed events before the U.S. Olympic team is named next Wednesday during the Snowsport Industries America trade show in Las Vegas.
One of the central figures this week in Kitzbuehel has been Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, Calif.), who has won two Hahnenkamm races. He captured the 2003 Hahnenkamm DH and the 2004 super G. And he listed winning the Hahnenkamm DH again as one of his goals this season.
Rahlves has won three downhills this winter ” at the VISA Birds of Prey races at Beaver Creek, then Bormio, Italy, after Christmas and the Lauberhorn DH last week in Wengen, Switzerland. He was fourth in the lone training run Tuesday on The Streif.
The U.S. Ski Team will start Rahlves and five others today in the super G: defending World Cup leader Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, N.H.), JJ Johnson (Park City, Utah), Scott Macartney (Redmond, Wash.), Steve Nyman (Orem, Utah) and Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.).
“We’ve had two nice days of powder skiing,” said Sullivan, a 2002 Olympian, who is looking to rebound from two years on the sidelines with knee injuries to make his second Olympic Team. Sullivan was 16th last weekend in the Lauberhorn DH.
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