Despite sub-zero temperatures, Travis Ganong (pictured) cranked an impressive seventh in the only Audi Birds of Prey downhill training run able to be run prior to tomorrow’s World Cup race. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom/Alexis Boichard)
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Dec. 5) – Despite sub-zero temperatures, Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) cranked an impressive seventh in the only Audi Birds of Prey downhill training run able to be run prior to tomorrow’s World Cup race. Both the two previously scheduled training runs were canceled due to complications with a winter storm that has blanketed the Rockies with over a foot of snow. Ganong mastered the tricky middle section of the hybrid course, which combines the upper part of Raptor, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships women’s speed track and the bottom part of the traditional Audi Birds of Prey men’s course. Friday’s downhill begins at 12:45 p.m. EST, and NBCSN will provide same-day coverage at 10 p.m. EST.
Beaver Creek Resort successfully hosted an Audi Birds of Prey men’s downhill training run Thursday on a hybrid course that combines the upper section of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships women’s slope and the bottom part of the traditional men’s race hill.
Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) posted the fastest time for the USA, finishing seventh and just over a half-second behind the day’s leader, Erik Guay of Canada.
Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) who’s last World Cup win came in Beaver Creek made a number of mistakes to finish 66th.
The previous two training runs were cancelled because of a strong winter storm that dumped over a foot of snow across the Rocky Mountains.
Friday’s downhill begins at 12:45 p.m. EST, and NBCSN will provide same-day coverage at 10 p.m. EST.
QUOTES Travis Ganong We had no idea really how it would be during inspection, because you never know what the speeds are going to be like. It was a fun first run. It has all the elements. It has big jumps in the bottom. The speeds are just low, but I think that’s just because the snow is so cold.
In the top section, there’s three single turns and then it goes into three double-gate turns, and after that last single and into the two doubles, it’s really blind, you can’t see any of the gates. So it’s hard to know when to transition into the next turn. That’s definitely the key section, because if you’re able to pull those turns off well and go on that last traverse high and without finding all the bumps, you can carry all your speed on the flat. That’s kind of how you’re going to win on this hill.
Ted Ligety The course is good. It doesn’t have the same fun flow as the men’s side does, but it’s still a tough hill up there in the top part.
My approach to the World Cup season and going into World Championships last year worked really well. So same thing, I think the best way to prepare for the Olympics is a good World Cup season leading up to it. I want to do well at the Olympics, that’s a big goal for sure, but a big goal of mine is winning the overall title as well.
Bode Miller The snow is great and the speeds are low, which is unfortunate for a downhill. But I think that can change too. It’s really turny, but different style turns. The others are kind of linked together, single gate, really pretty hard fall line turns. These are really traversing across the hill, huge swinging turns. It’s a challenge
It’s a different hill now. It doesn’t feel anything like the normal course all the way from the top flats to the to where it breaks over. Now you come through Pumphouse, even at race speeds, you’re going to be going 30-40 miles per hour slower, which is a total change. In the bottom is the same so it’s still going to be a fun hill; it’s just tough to make the adjustments.