Snowbasin, Utah, Feb. 22, 2001--The second and final day of training for the Chevy Truck Grizzly Downhill World Cup took placeThursday with Austrian Fritz Strobl recording the fastest time.
NBC will air coverage of the Snowbasin World Cup on March 3 at 2:00 p.m. EST.
The conditions on the 2002 Olympic course were a bit harder than Wednesday's, but warm temperatures and soft snow were stillprevalent. However, racers did post faster times Thursday.
Strobl's time of 1:41.89 topped the field of 62 competitors. American Chris Puckett (Boulder, CO) was second on the results sheetwith a time of 1:42.38, but he missed several gates on the trip down. Austrian Werner Franz was third with a 1:42.76, Switzerland'sSilvano Beltrametti was fourth with a 1:42.80 and Austrian Hermann Maier was fifth, posting a 1:43.05.
World super G champion Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, Calif.) was the top American finisher for the second day in a row, placingeighth with a time of 1:43.40.
"It's a challenging course, I like it top to bottom," said Rahlves. "It's tough to ski on soft snow. It takes a lot of energy. With hardersnow, the ski will pretty much do most of the work. If you really have to fight the line, you get tired. I'm feeling it down here (at thefinish line). I played a little too much basketball yesterday afternoon."
Rahlves skied the entire course flawlessly until making a slight bobble on the steep finish pitch.
"It's sticky and there's like a little bump there," said Rahlves. "I let 'em (his skis) go a little too much. It's really soft snow, so I caughtan edge. If I'm not putting a limb down, it's not that close (to crashing)."
Chad Fleischer (Vail, CO) was the next-best American, finishing 19th with a 1:45.05.
"The snow's in a little better shape," said Fleischer. "I skied good on the top and I skied really well on the very bottom. I made a fewcritical errors - over the Arrowhead jump and right after the Muzzleloader jump. That just dogs you because it's pretty flat from there."
Despite the soft conditions, most racers have been stoked with the course. For a majority of them, Wednesday's training run wasthe first time they had ever skied Grizzly.
"I like it very much, it's very steep and technical," said Austrian Stephan Eberharter, who finished sixth. "Fast turns, hard turns, I likethat. It's a good test (for the Olympics). It's a little bit harder (the snow) than yesterday. There's so many downhills on ice and hardersnow, I like to be here now."
"I love the course, I think it's great," said Fleischer. "I mean, Beaver Creek's (Colorado) an outstanding course and I really didn'tthink there was another course that could rival that in the USA. It's good to see the Europeans are finding that the American ski hillsare capable of building a world-class downhill."
Puckett was one of the few skiers that has competed on the course as he won a Chevy Truck Super Series downhill on Grizzly Feb.10. Despite missing some gates Thursday, Puckett remains optimistic for this weekend's races.
"I made all those gates in all of the Nor Ams and all the training runs. It's the first time I've missed gates on this course."
The first of two downhills, which is a makeup from Wengen, Switzerland, is scheduled for a 10:00 a.m. MST start Friday. Thesecond downhill will be run Saturday with a super G on Sunday.
Chevy Truck Grizzly Downhill World Cup
February 22, 2001
1. Fritz Strobl, Austria, 1:41.89
2. Chris Puckett, Boulder, Colo., 1:42.38*
3. Werner Franz, Austria, 1:42.76
4. Silvano Beltrametti, Switzerland, 1:42.80
5. Hermann Maier, Austria, 1:43.05
6. Stephan Eberharter, Austria, 1:43.18
7. Hannes Trinkl, Austria, 1:43.39
8. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 1:43.40
9. Paul Accola, Switzerland, 1:43.45
10. Josef Strobl, Austria, 1:43.74
T19. Chad Fleischer, Vail, Colo., 1:45.05
24. Marco Sullivan, Tahoe City, Calif., 1:45.366
39. Jakub Fiala, Frisco, Colo., 1:46.15
51. Scott Macartney, Redmond, Wash., 1:47.00
*missed several gates on course