BEAVER CREEK, Colo. - Olympic champions Bode Miller, Ted Ligety and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal are among the world's best skiers competing at the Audi Birds of Prey races Friday through Sunday in Beaver Creek. As the only men's Audi FIS Alpine World Cup stop in America, the Birds of Prey races are among the world's premier alpine events featuring downhill, super-G and giant slalom over three classic days of racing on what will be the site of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
NBC will feature the Audi Birds of Prey downhill at 2 p.m. Sunday. Versus will also carry a full broadcast package from Beaver Creek with the downhill and super-G airing on Dec. 11 at 4 and 5 p.m., respectively.
"Birds of Prey is a world class hill," said Miller, who has won three times in Beaver Creek. "The same guys who were competing at the Olympics will be there and they always put on a great show."
Bode Miller, left, and Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid pose following the super-G race at the Vancouver Olympics. Miller won silver and Weibrecht won bronze in the event.
(AP file photo — Jacques Boissinot)
A men's World Cup stop for 14 years, the U.S. Ski Team has a storied record of success in Beaver Creek with 15 podiums, including five wins since 2003. Miller accounts for three of those victories, plus an additional two more top three results. Ligety, the 2008 and 2010 World Cup giant slalom champion, owns three giant slalom podiums and Steven Nyman has added two downhill podiums.
"We love going home to Beaver Creek, it's an awesome hill with every element of modern downhill," said head coach Sasha Rearick. "We're also super stoked to have a super-G back in Beaver Creek, not just because we love it, all nations see Birds as one of the best super-G trails in the world."
On the world stage, Beaver Creek has become a classic venue producing numerous historic moments in ski racing. Austrian legend Hermann Maier owns an impressive six wins on Birds of Prey including a complete sweep in 1999.
In 2004 Miller captured his first downhill victory in Beaver Creek with now retired speed icon Daron Rahlves in second. A year later Rahlves grabbed the downhill victory over Miller and the pair continued the podium swap the next day by going 1-2 in giant slalom
Olympic super-G bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid made a name for himself among the World Cup elite in 2007 with an on-the-edge ride from 53rd to 10th becoming an instant YouTube classic. That same race, Svindal suffered a season-ending crash on the Golden Eagle jump and returned the following season to win both the downhill and super-G.
Last winter, Swiss phenom Carlo Janka reproduced Maier's legendary sweep to become the first person since Jean-Claude Killy in 1967 to win three World Cup races on three consecutive days. He then went on to capture the overall World Cup title for 2010.
"The Audi Birds of Prey is always a special time for all of us," said Ceil Folz, President of the Vail Valley Foundation. "The event takes on even greater significance now that Vail and Beaver Creek have secured the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. It's exciting to think that we will continue to enhance the legacy of Birds of Prey as we start to put the pieces in place for a great World Championships in 2015."