Ted Ligety left no doubt, shredding his way to a 1.76 second win in the Audi Birds of Prey giant slalom. (Eric Schramm)
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Dec. 2) - Ted Ligety validated his huge opening win in Soelden five weeks ago with a huge 1.76 second victory over Austria's Marcel Hirscher in front of a roaring U.S. crowd at the Audi Birds of Prey giant slalom in Beaver Creek. Leading off the first run, Ligety took a .78 second lead and expanded it by nearly a second on the final run over live national television audience on NBC Sports Network. Ligety retained his lock on second in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup standings, carving into the lead of Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal who was sixth. Ligety has now won the opening two giant slalom races of the season by a massive 4.51 second margin.
Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) took a 1.76 second win over Austria's Marcel Hirscher in the Audi Birds of Prey giant slalom in Beaver Creek.
The huge margin combined with his 2.75 second win in the Soelden season opener gave him a 4.51 second margin in two races.
Ligety solidified his hold on second in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall standings with 320 points, 80 behind Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal who was sixth.
It was Ligety's 13th World Cup win and third in Beaver Creek.
Tommy Ford (Bend, OR) finished 26th in his first race back after hip surgery and Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) was 27th.
The men's tour now heads to Val d'Isere for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend.
QUOTES Ted Ligety It's great winning in front of the home crowd especially by that kind of margin. It's so nice to have so many friends and family here and on this slope. This hill has always treated me well and it's fun to ski here.
Both runs were pretty tricky tactically. First run there was a lot of variable distance. This hill has a lot of rolls and it's always tricky tactically. It was never really my specialty to ski tactics - I just skied hard and made mistakes when I made them. But I think this year I've been better on the tactics side of things. On the second run it was super fast - really high speed, the most speed we've had in GS in a bunch of years. I felt like I skied well and was smart over some of those rolls.
I'm skiing fast - I'm not sure if it's at a different level. But I think those other guys have the chance to get up there and tackle me and take me down. There will be tough races ahead.
The biggest thing that goes through my head is when you think you're winning and lost them - it's the worst feeling ever knowing you didn't go as hard as you could. Last year in Alta Badia I was winning by a lot and didn't go as hard as I should have in the second run and finished fourth. Or a few years ago I was winning by a lot and ended up second to Benni (Raich) by a hundredth. I don't want that to happen.
Winning the overall has been a big goal of mine since I started ski racing. I think it's attainable but with Aksel (Lund Svindal) skiing as well as he is - if he keeps that he's going to be tough to beat. It will be difficult but I have a better chance this year than I have had in the past.