Thursday morning, Birds of Prey Chief of Race Greg Johnson skied top-to-bottom on Beaver Creek’s infamous Men’s Downhill racecourse. So what’s the big deal you may be asking yourself?
Well…that run may well have been the earliest such a ski down has ever taken place as ideal snowmaking temperatures and snowstorms, courtesy of Mother Nature, over the course of the past month has left Birds of Prey in such excellent condition that the International Ski Federation (FIS) today waived their normal snow control inspection, giving organizers two thumbs up for the December 2-4 races.
Johnson sent a message to FIS Men’s Chief Race Director GuenterHujara on Wednesday stating that “the resort is 99 percent complete with snowmaking for this year’s events. There is zero chance we will have issues with the event given the forecast we have currently. I believe this is the best we have ever done relative to so many years of snow control.”
Hujara responded on Friday with a message of his own that said, “Based on the excellent current snow conditions in Beaver Creek, everything is ready and the 2011 Audi FIS Ski World Cup races on the Birds of Prey are confirmed.The races could take place this weekend. We very much look forward to returning to Beaver Creek where this year's World Cup events will also serve as one of the important steps towards the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2015."
The 2011 Audi Birds of Prey World Cup Race Week gets underway Wednesday, November 30, with Downhill Training. Competition kicks off Friday, December 2, with the traditional Birds of Prey Downhill, followed by Super-G on Saturday, December 3. The weekend’s racing will conclude with Giant Slalom on Sunday, December 4.
We were also understandably excited with the news.
“Our valued partners at Vail Resorts have certainly made the most of what Mother Nature has provided,” explained Michael Imhof, our Vice President of Sales and Operations for the Foundation. “Thanks to the favorable snowmaking conditions and the natural snow we have received, everything is not only on track for a great weekend of racing at the Audi FIS Birds of Prey, but also for a great start to the ski season for everyone.”
Beaver Creek Resort is scheduled to open for the 2011-12 season next Wednesday, November 23.
- John Dakin
Last year's Best of Birds of Prey Photo Album