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Women's downhill course at Beaver Creek 'will be great'
BEAVER CREEK — The first International Ski Federation inspection of the new women's downhill course at Beaver Creek reveals an excitement felt far beyond this valley.
Atle Skaardal, the federation's women's alpine chief race director and a former World Cup ski racer, toured the construction site Tuesday and liked what he saw. The inspection was the first of several expected in advance of the World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek Feb. 3-15, 2015.
“There has been great work done and it is very accurate,” Skaardal said. “Now we only have little things to tweak and small solutions to figure out. This course has everything in it and I know that it will be a great race course. I also know that the ladies are going to be very excited to race here.”
Last year, when Beaver Creek picked up three races — one women's race and two men's races — because of a cancellation in Val D'Isere, France, Lindsey Vonn talked about the reputation Birds of Prey has within the World Cup circuit.
“I've always been so jealous of the men — they always get to race here every year — but this is my first time and hopefully not the last,” Vonn told the Vail Daily. “I'm going to try to do my best to finally get a win, not only in the U.S., but in my hometown.”
Vonn won the Super-G in Beaver Creek, calling it one of the best races in her career.
Greg Johnson, Beaver Creek's senior director of mountain operations and the chief of race for the men's Birds of Prey World Cup, said the course is almost complete after just over two months of work.
“The entire trail is cut completely, and graded from top to bottom — it's really good progress for just a couple of months.”
The new women's downhill course adds 17 acres of skiable terrain to Beaver Creek, and another 30 acres of snowmaking, Dakin said.
The course will run in and out of the Peregrine run, a double black diamond trail that runs under Chair 9, and then on the lower half of the run there is a new spur trail called Kestrel.
“It's going to be an open ski trail this winter,” Johnson said.