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American Olympic super-G silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle skied to seventh place on a tough, dark, snowy Birds of Prey downhill track on Saturday as Beaver Creek enlisted an army of volunteers to pull off a World Cup despite an intense snow cycle that scrubbed Friday’s race.
Local ski-racing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin’s boyfriend, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, won Saturday’s race in difficult conditions. Now the men get ready for a super-G on Sunday. For more information on accessing the free races, which are open to the public, click here.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team on Saturday’s race:
The men’s Birds of Prey Downhill went off Saturday thanks to the help of the hundreds of volunteers and course workers. The workers helping to prepare the hill after the day’s previous snow storm that brought 14 inches to the course hill.
Aleksander Kilde of Norway won the run for his second Downhill win of the season. Right behind him is another top skier, Marco Odermatt. On the U.S. side, Stifel U.S. Alpine team member Ryan Cochran-Siegle finished in seventh place, his second top ten result of the season.
“It was obviously not the same snow we were hoping for. But I think it was a fairly fair race,” said Cochran-Siegle. “I think today I had just a couple little things here and there that pushed me off of that top three. You’ve got to ski with a lot of intensity and I think today was a good step.”
The men’s team described the conditions today as tough with varying light, inconsistent with the previous day’s training runs. “It was really tough, the conditions were really dark,” said Travis Ganong.
The speed men will now look to the men’s super-G on Sunday.
Here’s the press release from the Vail Valley Foundation:
Aleksander Aamodt KILDE (NOR) went from flu to first this weekend at the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup.
KILDE, who posted on social media that he wasn’t feeling well but that it was… “OK, it’s just the flu,” became only the third racer to win back-to-back downhills at Xfinity Birds of Prey with a winning time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds at today’s race.
“It’s been a tough week … but [the illness] really hit me hard,” KILDE said. “I already feel way better today than I did yesterday… I’m still feeling it a little bit of it in my system but I got the possibility to be ready for the two minutes that I needed.”
KILDE narrowly edged out rival Marco ODERMATT (SUI), who was last season’s overall World Cup champion. ODERMATT marked a time of 1:42.15 (+0.6).
The Canadian team, which had quality results throughout training, showed well again today with James CRAWFORD (CAN) taking third with a time of 1:42.88 (+.72).
Olympic super G silver medalist Ryan COCHRAN-SIEGLE (USA) was seventh with a time of 1:43.15 (+1.06). Bryce BENNETT (USA) and Travis GANONG (USA) also scored in 26th and 27th place. Sam MORSE (USA), who is coming back from a devastating leg injury, was 31st, just outside the points by .02s. Steven NYMAN (USA) struck a gate with his right shoulder, was knocked back, and skied off course in the bottom third. NYMAN skied through the finish but appeared shaken by the gate collision.
Only two other racers have won back-to-back downhills at Xfinity Birds of Prey: Beat FEUZ (SUI) did in 2018-19, and Hermann MAIER (AUT) accomplished the feat in 1999-2000.
KILDE’s chance to win yet another downhill this Friday, Dec. 3, was not to be. The race was cancelled due to heavy snow. Official snowfall totals at Beaver Creek were reported as 9 inches, but course workers showed pictures of 12-to-15 inches on portions of the course.
Course personnel worked through the night to prepare for today’s race, creating quality track conditions despite periods of flat light and gusty winds. The athletes reported to officials that they were, “amazed,” how well the track skied given the conditions over the past 24 hours.
With today’s result, Norway has edged out Austria as the winningest nation on the Xfinity Birds of Prey downhill piste. Norway has won seven compared to Austria’s six. The United States has won five (Daron RAHLVES two, Bode MILLER three).
Henrick VON OPPEN (CHI), who marked Chile’s first-ever World Cup points at the Nov. 27 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Super G race in Lake Louise, Canada, finished 34th today with the 48th bib. He had finished 18th with the 41st bib at Lake Louise.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s super G, KILDE said he knows there is tough competition that will make another victory difficult.
“Marco ODERMATT for sure, he can be one of them to stop me,” KILDE said. “There are also a lot of contenders. It’s not easy to win ski races.”
Xfinity Birds of Prey continues tomorrow, Dec. 4, with super G race start scheduled for 10 a.m.