Americans Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), and Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) finished strong in Tuesday’s downhill training for the upcoming Audi FIS World Cup speed events at Beaver Creek, CO and Lake Louise, AB this weekend.
On Dec. 3, 4, and 5, the men will compete in Downhill, Super G, and Giant Slalom, respectively, at Beaver Creek’s famous Birds of Prey course.
Didier Cuche of Switzerland finished first at 1:47:80 in training Tuesday, with Miller in eighth, Steve Nyman (Sundance, UT) in 16th, and World Cup newbie Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) in 24th.
"It's awesome to be up here,” said Nyman in a USSA press release. “The hill is prepped the best I've ever seen it and the snow is great. It was like a clean canvas you can just paint your way down."
The Birds of Prey is the only U.S. stop on the men’s Audi FIS World Cup, and the home of 15 U.S. podium results since it became a World Cup stop in 1997.
There is much excitement among the men’s team about returning to Beaver Creek, the same hill where Miller won his first downhill in 2004, and then again in 2006.
"We love going home to Beaver Creek, it’s an awesome hill with every element of modern downhill,” said U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Sasha Rearick in a USSA press release.
This year, look for Carlo Janka of Switzerland, who made history last season when he swept the field all three days in Downhill, Super G, and Giant Slalom. Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY), Olympic super G bronze medalist is another one to look for.
The Bombardier Lake Louise Winterstart will be momentous for the U.S. women as well. The women will compete in downhill Dec. 3 and 4, and super G on Dec. 5.
Marion Rolland of France grabbed first in Tuesday’s downhill training at 1:31:10, with Mancuso leading the U.S. women in second. Returning to the hill of her first World Cup victory in 2004, Vonn placed seventh.
“I feel really comfortable on that hill,” said Vonn in a USSA press release. “I’m just going to get the ball really rolling in Lake Louise and get some confidence for the rest of the season.”
Another U.S. woman to watch is speed specialist Chelsea Marshall (Pittsfield, VT), who took 10th in the St. Moritz, CH World Cup this January.