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With plenty of new snow, Beaver Creek amped to host men's World Cup

With plenty of new snow, Beaver Creek amped to host men’s World Cup{mosimage}The alpine skiing World Cup is coming to America – the United States, that is. Athletes who didn’t travel to Colorado from Lake Louise, Alberta, Sunday night will get there Monday morning while a semi-truck transports their skis, gates and other equipment from the Canadian races.

Beaver Creek resort was smothered with snow this weekend, but the race department there is widely acknowledged to be one of the best. With more than 400 volunteers each year, it’s unlikely that the snowfall will delay the racing.

The races at Beaver Creek have become a favorite stop on the men’s alpine World Cup tour. With four races in four disciplines, it has been billed as a ‘mini world championships’ and FIS officials have praised it as a model for other World Cup venues as the FIS tries to move toward more clustered races. Just like last year, races will begin with super G on Thursday, with the start moving up the hill for Friday’s downhill, to be followed by GS and slalom on the weekend.

Athletes praise the course for its well-prepared snow surface, and Greg Johnson, the hill’s long-time chief of course, was selected in October to serve as the FIS technical delegate at Kitzbuehel.

‘There’s a lot of community pride that goes into this’ said John Garnsey, CEO of Beaver Creek. ‘We’ve hosted two World Ski Championships, which is more than a lot of World Cup venues can say.’

Thursday’s super G kicks off the busiest period of the men’s World Cup calendar; December has 13 men’s races in the first 22 days. They take place in Colorado, France, Italy and Slovenia.

‘Unfortunately we only get one shot to ski in the U.S.’ said Daron Rahlves after finishing third in Sunday’s World Cup super G at Lake Louise. ‘For us in North America, it’s important to stand up and have a good showing, get our people excited about our sport.’

The World Cup’s coaches decided among themselves in October which of them would set the courses this week. Marius Arnesen of Norway will set Friday’s super G. Andy Evers of Austria and Dusan Grasic of Canada will set the first and second giant slalom courses, respectively.

Sunday is the first slalom World Cup of the season (other disciplines will have completed two full races by then). A number of slalom specialists will be anxious to begin their season, among them Giorgio Rocca of Italy and Manfred Pranger of Austria. Vincencij Jovan of Croatia and Christian Leitner will set Sunday’s slalom runs.

What do you think?

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