Beaver Creek a Janka Sweep Switzerland’s Carlo Janka takes all three races on the fabled Birds of Prey course; Bode Miller and Ted Ligety show off strong fourth-places finishes BY HANK MCKEE
Natiko Zrncic-Dim, Didier Defago and
Carlo Janka gather in the finish area.
In the final team captains meeting for the Beaver Creek Birds of Prey races
(December 4 to 6) FIS tour director Gunter Hujara summed up the pre-
vailing attitude of the coaches. “I have a very short report about today, to-
day’s race, the whole week,” he said. “It is this.” And Hujara began clapping,
initiating a round of applause that spread quickly to fill the large meeting
Birds of Prey has earned the reputation as the premier North American
downhill course. And this year, the largely volunteer work force, known as
the Talon Crew, performed to the highest standards possible. After a week
of training runs and competitions, the surface didn’t show a mark from the
razor-sharp edges of the most powerful ski racers in the world.
The big story of the week was Swiss Carlo Janka, who swept all three races,
a feat rarely accomplished and last seen at the World Cup finals of 2007 when
Aksel Lund Svindal won three events. The great Hermann Maier won three
races at Beaver Creek back in 1999.
The Swiss were the dominant power from Friday through Sunday, claiming
three wins and two second-place finishes. Norway got a pair of bronze-medal
placings from Svindal and the Austrians got a single podium, in the final race,
from Benjamin Raich. The other podium went to Croatia’s Natko Zrncic-Dim
in the combined.
GEPA ( 3); CAS TON/SHIPMAN (CUCHE & CROWD)