DOWNHILL DAY. It might as well be Christmas morning, because I couldn’t sleep. The presents under the Christmas tree today are the #AmericanDownhillers. Presents that hurl their bodies down a mountain at 90 mph and are in constant beastmode-style?! The best.
The Scoop: It’s a another gorgeous day on the Birds of Prey downhill track. It’s buff, it’s fast and it’s ready for some downhill day action, my friends! The Brink looks delicious. Or gnarly. Depending on how you look at it. I caught up with Bode during inspection, talking about the Brink. Just stoked. It’s faster today than it’s been the past two days in training. It’s slick and the guys are going to be sending it like crazy today. Over Golden Eagle there’s a bit of a tail-wind. As D Team athlete/forerunner Sam Morse said, “It’s going to be BOOSTING today!” Ask any nation and they’ll tell you they love it here at Birds of Prey. That buttery smooth, grippy Colorado surface makes the hill that much better – thanks, hugely, to the Talon Crew. They’ve done an outstanding job preparing the course after Mother Nature dumped 21 inches of fresh snow over the last week. This is a world-class course crew, and they’re ready for some world-class ski racing to commence. Let’s do this, shall we?!
Meanwhile, up in Lake Louise…Success is no stranger to the U.S. Ski Team speed women at Lake Louise. In fact, Lindsey Vonn has won so many times on this track it’s been deemed “Lake Lindsay.” For good reason, seeing as though she’s snagged 15 victories in Lake Louise – by far the most by a single skier at a specific venue – 12 in downhill and three in super G. Count ‘em. Today is going to be FUN.
Here we gooooooo!
Beaver Creek, CO – Men’s Downhill
- Start time: 10:45am local time
- U.S. Starters: Steven Nyman (bib 13) Travis Ganong (bib 14), Marco Sullivan (29), Andrew Weibrecht (34), Jared Goldberg (37) and big ol' Bryce Bennett (53).
- “We are on home turf. We’re going to show the world that this victory goes to us. I really want to see some fire here, and I know we can sweep the podium. Lets be confident.” said Head Men’s Speed Coach Alex Hoedlmoser in team meeting.
- I sat with the boys, Travis Ganong, Steven Nyman and Marco Sullivan, last night at dinner. They couldn’t be more ready to send it. Nyman and Ganong were the top Americans in training runs, and they know they’ve got more in them. A couple of slight tweaks here and there and they’ll be gunning for the W.
- Check out what Nyman had to say about maintaining focus earlier this week on George Thomas’ Snowbound with Steven Nyman podcast. He and friend Ken Hoeve from TV8 switched it up the other day – Nyman tried out snowboarding and Hoeve skied for the first time ever. Hilarious. If you’re at Beaver Creek, keep an eye out for it on the big screen.
- Eight years ago here at Birds of Prey in his first World Cup downhill, that Warhorse (Andrew Weibrecht) skied from 53 to 10th place, in true Warhorse style. It was impressive. And he wants to sneak back into the top 30 in downhill. He can. He likely will.
- That big ol’ yeti Bryce Bennett had an excellent day 1 training run finishing 28th, and he’ll look to channel those good vibes and crush today. Jared Goldberg sat out Lake Louise to rest his back for the big show here at Beaver Creek. He’s feeling good too. Keep an eye on that guy. What about #MarcoRocks?! Pulling for that veteran to put on the rocket ship skis and kick it into another gear today.
Who’s in the Hunt: Watch out for Italy’s Peter Fill (12) and Christof Innerhofer (1) too, and – of course – those Attacking Vikings Kjetil Jansrud (18) and and Aksel Lund-Svindal (16). Svindal recorded back-to-back wins at Lake Louise last weekend in his comeback weekend. He’s strong. He’s fierce. After a not-so-Jansrud lookin’ performance in Lake Louise, he’ll be looking for redemption in today’s downhill. He has proven that in training runs this week. Keep a close watch on Carlo Janka (15) – the Swiss Iceman – and Germany’s Josef Ferstl (24), and Austria’s Hannes Reichelt (17) and Matthias Mayer (22). Maybe throw that Frenchie Guillermo Fayed (20) in there.
Lake Louise – Women’s Downhill
- GO time: 12:45 local time
- U.S. Starters: Stacey Cook (11), Laurenne Ross (18), Lindsey Vonn (21), Alice McKennis (24), Jackie Wiles (26), Breezy Johnson (41), Anna Marno (46),
- This year’s track boasts some new terrain that took some getting used to for the women. It didn’t seem to take too long for Vonn, who posted the 34th fastest time yesterday and the second fastest time in today’s training run. “I just had a different approach today,” Vonn said. “I changed some things in my line that yesterday didn't really pan out for me. But I was happy with my skiing. I definitely can clean up a few sections for tomorrow but in general it was a pretty solid run and I'm just looking forward to my first speed race of the season.
- Vonn also announced yesterday that teammate Wiles will be named as the first-ever athlete ambassador for The Lindsey Vonn Foundation. “We’re really excited today to announce that I’m sponsoring Jackie through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation,” stated Vonn. “It’s actually me personally that’s sponsoring her but she’s going to be the newest ambassador for the foundation. I’m really proud of her. She’s done an amazing job in her career so far. She’s really young, talented, has a great attitude, so I think she’s a great ambassador for my foundation.”
- Stacey Cook, who snagged second place in last year’s historic American podium sweep, finished third behind LV yesterday in training and she’s stoked to smoke it today. Alice McKennis has had strong training runs, and is feeling healthy and skiing better than ever. Laurenne Ross can sneak in to the top 5 too, definitely.
- The young Jackie Wiles with a 15th yesterday in the second of two training runs?! And the World Cup newcomer Breezy Johnson with 28th yesterday. I mean, it’s honestly not outlandish to say that the Americans could sweep the podium again today. Certainly possible to stack the top 15 hardcore-like.
Who’s in the Hunt: Goodness, I don’t even know. With Anna Fenninger and Tina Maze out this season, I’m way bummed. Let’s say: keep an eye out on Lara Gut (16), Cornelia Huetter (10), Tina Weirather (18), Larisa Yurkiw (15), Mirjam Puchner (27), Vicktoria Rebensburg (22)…some usual suspects, some unusual. Throw in Lizzie Goergl there too…I like her feisty attitude and her experience. She’s focusing on speed solely this year. She’s running 19.
TV Schedule (times EST):
Friday, Dec. 4
12:30pm – Men’s DH, Beaver Creek – NBCSN – Live
12:30pm – Men’s DH, Beaver Creek – NBC Live Extra – LIVE STREAM
2:30pm – Women’s DH, Lake Louise, NBC Live Extra – LIVE STREAM
8:30pm – Women’s DH, Lake Louise, Universal HD
Here we go!
Ski in Peace,