Two-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill podium finisher Leanne Smith trains on the new women's speed track last spring (Vail Valley Foundation)
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Sept. 6) - The alpine legacy of the Vail Valley gained power and grace Friday as the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee introduced "Raptor" as the name of the newly constructed women's speed track at Beaver Creek Resort. The home of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Raptor will get its first test Nov. 29-Dec. 1 during the opening races of the women's World Cup speed season, featuring a downhill, super G and giant slalom. Six-time World Cup downhill champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who returned to on snow training Aug. 31, is targeting the weekend as her return to racing after a season-ending crash last Feb. in Austria. A complement to the legendary Birds of Prey men's race venue, U.S. Ski Team women, including World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) and 2013 World Cup podium finishers Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) and Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) were able to train on the slope earlier this spring. The Feb. 2-15, 2015 World Championships Scheduled from February 2-15 of 2015 in Vail and Beaver Creek are expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations.
The 2015 World Championships Organizing Comittee introduced "Raptor" as the name of the newly completed women's alpine speed venue at Beaver Creek Resort.
Vail and Beaver Creek will host the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Feb. 2-15, 2015.
As a test for the championships, Beaver Creek will host the two consecutive weeks of Audi FIS Alpine World Cup racing this fall. The women's speed season begins with a downhill, super G and giant slalom Nov. 29-Dec. 1 followed by a men's super G, downhill and giant slalom Dec. 6-8. A media credential application is available at www.vvf.org.
The U.S. Ski Team, including Mikeala Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO), Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA), Leanne Smith (N. Conway, NH) and Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) trained on the new slope last spring.
Located skier’s right of the men's Birds of Prey track, Raptor incorporates portions of Peregrine and Golden Eagle and fully joins the men’s course at the Red Tail Jump above the finish arena.
The 2015 World Championships are expected to draw an estimated 750 million worldwide television viewers in addition to 1,500 members of the media onsite.
QUOTES Ceil Folz, President Vail Valley Foundation and 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee Given its proximity to Birds of Prey, the natural inclination was to try to find a name that would be both complementary and that could stand alone. We definitely feel that Raptor is a name that works well with Birds of Prey and, given the majesty of the raptor family, I think we have accomplished both goals.
Stacey Cook It's challenging to say the least. It's narrow and in your face. We're right up against the fences and there's a lot of forces to deal with, particularly high speeds combined with big turns, which is something that doesn't get combined very often in women's downhill. You're going to have to be really strong to be fast.
Mikaela Shiffrin It's going to be an amazing venue to host the World Championships in 2015. The men's race hill has such an incredible legacy in Beaver Creek and I think this new women's track will have it's own unique mystique.
Leanne Smith There's going to be a lot of wide eyes when the rest of the world gets their first look of the slope at the end of November. I think it's going to be one of the more popular downhill's on the women's World Cup tour. It's going to be great to race on it this winter and then bring some strength back to the 2015 World Championships.
Laurenne Ross It's a challenge with lots of terrain changes – some really steep sections, some rollers, side hills, chutes – It has a little bit of everything and is definitely in your face. I'm looking forward to stepping up to race there this fall and again in 2015.