Birds of Prey (ski course) facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsBirds of Prey
Birds of Prey course in December 2011
|Location||Eagle County, Colorado|
|Nearest city||Avon, Colorado|
|Vertical||2,470 ft (753 m)|
|Top elevation||11,427 ft (3,483 m)|
|Base elevation||8,957 ft (2,730 m)|
Birds of Prey is a World Cup downhill ski course in the western United States, located at Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado. A regular stop on the men's World Cup tour, the races in Beaver Creek are usually held in early December. The course hosted the Alpine World Championships in February 1999 and 2015. With lower starting gates, it is also used for Super-G and Giant Slalom races.
The Birds of Prey course was developed for the 1999 World Championships, designed by Swiss 1972 Olympic champion Bernhard Russi. The first World Cup race was won by Kristian Ghedina of Italy in December 1997, but the course was then dominated by Austrians, led by the legendary Hermann Maier. He won three consecutive Birds of Prey downhills: the 1999 world title in front of 20,000 spectators, followed by World Cup victories in each of the next two seasons.
In December 2004, Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves took first and second place, respectively, in the World Cup downhill race, the first ever one-two finish for American men in a downhill, and the first in any event in over two decades, since Phil & Steve Mahre in the 1984 Olympic slalom. The two Americans switched positions on the podium the following year, as Rahlves joined Maier as a multiple winner. Miller joined them the next year and gained a third title on the course in December 2011.
For the World Cup downhill race in December 2012, the starting gate was at an elevation of 11,427 ft (3,483 m) above sea level with the finish line at 8,957 ft (2,730 m), a vertical drop of 2,470 ft (753 m). The course was 1.71 miles (2.752 km) in length, an average gradient of 27 percent (15 degrees), with a maximum gradient of 45 percent in the middle. Rahlves' time of 1:39.59 in December 2003 is the fastest in competition for the full course, an average speed of 61.0 miles per hour (98.2 km/h) and an average vertical descent of 24.9 feet (7.6 m) per second. The course that year had a vertical drop of 2,484 feet (757 m) and a length of 1.687 miles (2.715 km).
In November 2018, weather forced a lower start at 11,158 ft (3,401 m), reducing the course length to 1.286 miles (2.070 km) with a vertical drop of 2,201 ft (671 m). With the flat section of the top eliminated, the winning time of 1:13.59 by Beat Feuz yielded an average speed of 62.9 mph (101.2 km/h) and an average vertical descent of 29.9 feet (9.1 m) per second.
The Red Tail Camp finish area is about 800 vertical feet (240 m) above the resort's main village.
Due to a lack of snow in France in December 2011, the women's super G scheduled for Val-d'Isère was moved to the Birds of Prey course, which had hosted men's races the previous week. It was the first time that women had raced on the course. The race was won by American skier Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colorado.
Adjacent to Birds of Prey on Beaver Creek Mountain, a new women's downhill course was built for the 2015 World Championships. Named Raptor, it hosted three women's World Cup events in November 2013, a test run for the world championships less than fifteen months later. Both speed events were won by Lara Gut of Switzerland.
World Championships – Men's Downhill
|7 Feb 2015||Patrick Küng||1:43.18||Travis Ganong||1:43.42||Beat Feuz||1:43.49|||
|6 Feb 1999||Hermann Maier||1:40.60||Lasse Kjus||1:40.91||Kjetil André Aamodt||1:41.17|||
World Cup – Men's Downhill
|2020||7 Dec 2019||Beat Feuz (2)||1:12.98||Johan Clarey, Vincent Kriechmayr (tie 2nd)|||
|2019||30 Nov 2018||Beat Feuz||1:13.59||Mauro Caviezel||Aksel Lund Svindal|||
|2018||2 Dec 2017||Aksel Lund Svindal (4)||1:40.46||Beat Feuz||Thomas Dreßen|||
|2017||2 Dec 2016||canceled, warm temperatures in November; rescheduled to Val-d'Isère|
|2016||4 Dec 2015||Aksel Lund Svindal (3)||1:42.34||Kjetil Jansrud||Guillermo Fayed|||
|2015||5 Dec 2014||Kjetil Jansrud||1:40.17||Beat Feuz||Steven Nyman|||
|2014||6 Dec 2013||Aksel Lund Svindal (2)||1:44.50||Hannes Reichelt||Peter Fill|||
|2013||30 Nov 2012||Christof Innerhofer||1:41.69||Aksel Lund Svindal||Kjetil Jansrud|||
|2012||2 Dec 2011||Bode Miller (3)||1:43.82||Beat Feuz||Klaus Kröll|||
|2011||3 Dec 2010||canceled, strong winds; rescheduled to 11 March in Kvitfjell|
|2010||5 Dec 2009||Carlo Janka||1:43.49||Didier Cuche||Aksel Lund Svindal|||
|2009||5 Dec 2008||Aksel Lund Svindal||1:43.85||Marco Buechel||Erik Guay|||
|2008||30 Nov 2007||Michael Walchhofer||1:13.74||Steven Nyman||Didier Cuche|||
|2007||1 Dec 2006||Bode Miller (2)||1:46.15||Didier Cuche||Steven Nyman|||
|2006||2 Dec 2005||Daron Rahlves (2)||1:13.37||Bode Miller||Hans Grugger|||
|2005||3 Dec 2004||Bode Miller||1:39.76||Daron Rahlves||Michael Walchhofer|||
|2004||5 Dec 2003||Daron Rahlves||1:39.59||Stephan Eberharter, Bjarne Solbakken (tie 2nd)|||
|2003||7 Dec 2002||Stephan Eberharter||1:40.18||Michael Walchhofer||Daron Rahlves|||
|2002||2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City|
|2001||2 Dec 2000||Hermann Maier (3)||1:40.66||Lasse Kjus||Stephan Eberharter|||
|2000||27 Nov 1999||Hermann Maier (2)||1:43.77||Stephan Eberharter||Kristian Ghedina|||
|1999||1999 World Championships in February|
|1998||5 Dec 1997||Andreas Schifferer||1:41.17||Hermann Maier||Stephan Eberharter|||
|4 Dec 1997||Kristian Ghedina||1:41.16||Jean-Luc Crétier||Lasse Kjus|||
- Multiple winners
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Birds of Prey (ski course) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.