World Cup Roundup: Beaver Creek, Aspen Mountain, Fritz Strobl, Vincent Lavoie, Finland, WhistlerOver a foot of snow fell on the Birds of Prey course last night, forcing course crews to cancel Tuesday’s downhill training run. Instead of practicing on the course, athletes will freeski on the hill, allowing them to test the course’s notorious jumps.
Bode Miller, coming off a weekend where he shocked the ski racing world with two speed-discipline wins on the relatively mild Lake Louise course, didn’t travel with his team on Sunday night because doping control and media committments held him up in Canada.
Everyone is writing that only four men had won World Cups discipline prior to Miller’s accomplishment of that feat this weekend: Gunther Mader, Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Pirmin Zurbriggen and Marc Girardelli. Few people have mentioned that two women accomplished that feat: Pernilla Wiberg and Petra Kronberger. The latter won in five events in one season (1990-1991). Ski Racing’s statistics guru Hank McKee also points out that Michael Von Gruenigen started off a season with three wins in 1995, but that they were all giant slaloms. To see more stats by Hank McKee, click here.
Fritz Strobl received an ugly injury in one of the training runs at Lake Louise. The reigning Olympic downhill champion from Austria fell and hit his face on a gate, causing a severe bruise on his face. Blood reportedly leaked into his eye, and the head coach of Austria criticized the organizing committee for a slow response, a charge that the Canadians vehemently dispute. Hans Pum, the alpine director for the Austrian team, was in Aspen, where he told Ski Racing that Strobl would visit a doctor in Colorado. Click here to read more.
The Aspen race organizers are receiving rave reviews for putting on a successful World Cup series. Much of the mountain was unskiable before the race, and the snow was only a drill-bit deep in parts of the race arena. Then a storm system dumped a foot of snow or more on the Rocky Mountains during the races. But despite these challenges, racers expressed appreciation that the courses were well-maintained and held up better than expected. To read about the veterans who prepare the Aspen race hill, click here.
Vincent Lavoie of Canada broke his left tibia in a bad fall at the Lake Louise World Cup downhill, and it rattled his teammates, who watched it happen on television in the lodge near the start. To read about the crash click here, to read about his surgery click here and to read the agonized reactions of his teammates, click here.
It looks like Whistler will host alpine World Cups in 2008, in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Gunther Hujara of the FIS announced the news at Lake Louise.
One Finnish newspaper is pointing out that athletes from the Scandinavian nation are leading three categories of the World Cup standings. Click here to read the triumphal story.