BEAVER CREEK — If history is any indication, this month’s dress rehearsal for the 2015
World Alpine Ski Championships in Beaver Creek will go off without a hitch. The local
organizing committee in the Vail Valley is widely regarded as the best in the world. But
unfortunately they have no magic wand.
That’s what it would take to prepare two full-length World Cup downhill courses in the
month of November. No one else in the world has ever done it, nor has anyone else in
the world ever been asked to do it.
Beaver Creek initially intended to run the test events this fall on adjacent courses, as
will be the case in 2015. But a June decision to modify the World Cup schedule made
that impossible. The women’s event was initially scheduled to run the second week of
December, a week after the men’s races, but Peter Schrocksnadel, president of the Austrian Ski Federation, complained that the agreed-upon timetable kept European teams in
North America too late into the season.
The Austrians got their way, and the women’s races were moved up by two weeks —
two weeks in the early part of the season that mark the difference between being able to
prepare a second course or not.
So now the plan is to combine the two courses.
“We’re referring to it as a hybrid course,” said Birds of Prey Chief of Race Greg Johnson,
who was also the primary architect for “Raptor,” the new women’s speed track. “The initial
plan is that we will use the upper half of the women’s downhill, and then just below the
Golden Eagle Pump House, there’s a traverse that will bring us into the ‘Box Net’ about
five gates down from the men’s GS start … and then we’re going to use the lower half of
the men’s trail.”
It had to be this way because Beaver Creek is unable to run GS on the lower portion of
the women’s speed hill — it’s too flat toward the end — so organizers are forced to pri-
The new women’s downhill course at Beaver Creek
is set to make its debut Nov. 29, but a change to the
World Cup calendar has complicated matters for
local organizers BY GEOFF MINTZ
The Raptor Rises