US Ski Team frustrated by super-G performance
BEAVER CREEK — Andrew Weibrecht was the top finishing American at the FIS Birds of Prey World Cup super-G on Friday, Dec. 1, and he wasn’t happy with his result.
In the discipline of ski racing where the U.S. team has the potential to land the most racers into the top slots, those racers — by their own account — under-performed on their home snow on Friday.
In 2015, the last time a super-G was held on the Birds of Prey track, both Weibrecht and Ted Ligety found their way onto the podium. On Friday, Ligety skied out of the course and Weibrecht finished 21st. Both men said flat light conditions made things challenging.
“The light was in and out, so if you got lucky and got some sunshine, you were pretty golden,” Weibrecht said. “The key is just hoping everybody gets flat light. When the sun comes in and out, some guys get decent light and they can really charge. Such a little difference in the light can make such a big difference in times, just in terms of body language, and how hard guys are able to push.”
Ligety said light conditions, on a course like Beaver Creek, can affect times by a full second or more.
“(Vincent) Kriechmayr (the winner) had sun the whole way, which is a huge difference,” Ligety said. “He got really lucky on that. He skied well too, but that’s a huge, huge difference.”
Behind Weibrecht, the next-best finishing American was Tommy Biesemeyer, who finished 24th. He said the light also affected his run, but was happy for the experience of racing in flat light.
“For me, that’s something I need to work on, and just trust my skiing,” Biesemeyer said. “I just need to be more tough, in regards to just accepting that and charging through.”
Frustration was the primary emotion expressed by U.S. Team members on Friday.
“We are some of the best guys out here, we just need to start bringing it from top to bottom,” Biesemeyer said.
“I think as a team, we’re much better than this,” Weibrecht said. “We just need to keep moving up and up, and find our speed.”
HOPEFUL FOR SATURDAY
Jared Goldberg was another American who skied off course and wasn’t able to finish the race. He said starting from behind in 40th position, he felt compelled to take a more aggressive line, which contributed to his downfall.
“Starting back in the weeds, you gotta go for it harder,” Goldberg said. “I was trying to take a really aggressive line, and ended up just T-boning bumps.”
Goldberg said he too felt the frustration from the rest of the team.
“We all have been training really well … but it’s different when you get to World Cup,” he said.
While the experience, for Goldberg, wasn’t a good experience, it was experience nonetheless.
“I’m skiing at a high level, but skiing on a rough course, so I need to adjust a little bit,” Goldberg said. “I need to ski for my start position more now.”
Hopeful for the dowhill, taking place Saturday, Dec. 2, Goldberg said he knows what it feels like to run a near flawless downhill on the Birds of Prey track. At the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships, Goldberg was the third-fastest skier the downhill portion of the combined, with superstars Kjetil Jansrud and Beat Fuez the only racers in front of him.
“I’m feeling good going into tomorrow,” Goldberg said Friday. “That (World Championships) run was pretty perfect, so I know I’m capable.”