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Competitions and Events

Ford Wins GS at Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek

The American earned his first World Cup podium and first gold medal on American snow, wrapping up a strong weekend of racing for the men’s U.S. Ski Team.

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Tommy Ford made history on Sunday by winning the Alpine World Cup Men’s GS race at Beaver Creek. It was the first U.S. Ski Team win on the men’s side since January 2017, the first podium on the men’s side since January 2018, and Ford joined Ted Ligety and Bode Miller to become only the third American man to win a World Cup tech race since Phil Mahre in 1983. On an individual level, it was Ford’s first-ever Alpine World Cup win and podium, and he had the fastest first and second run.

“Nothing beats [winning] here. I’ve been working hard,” Ford told the U.S. Ski Team. “There’s no secret, just kept it simple and really trusted what I was doing, with solid and clean skiing.”

Challenging weather played a big role in Sunday’s giant slalom in Beaver Creek. Constant fog and precipitation made for a number of course holds throughout the day. A number of racers—notably France’s Alexis Pinturault, who won the last GS race in Sölden, Austria—failed to finish within the top ten. The conditions were familiar to Ford, however, who grew up on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor outside of Bend, Ore.

Tommy Ford on Birds of Prey GS Podium
Ford celebrates his win with a bird of prey.Photo courtesy of the U.S. Ski Team

“I am happy to be here in Beaver Creek, the Talon Crew is awesome, my friends and family are here—I feel so grateful,” Ford continued. “I am just fortunate to have such great coaches, family and a great supporter in Mt. Bachelor back at home—which is all coming through in the skiing that I put down.”

The podium was rounded out by Norwegians Henrik Kristoffersen, who finished 0.80 seconds behind Ford, and Leif Kristian Nestvol-Haugen, 1.23 seconds behind first place. American Ted Ligety, who had the fourth-fastest first run, ended up in 11th, 2.64 seconds behind the winner. Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who finished with a personal best sixth in Saturday’s downhill, was the 23rd fastest GS skier, finishing 4.08 seconds behind Ford.

Ford’s win at Beaver Creek and his fourth-place finish in Sölden mean that he is now the World Cup points leader in the GS discipline. He’ll wear the indicative red bib going into the next World Cup race in Val d’Isère, France on Friday, Dec. 21.

Travis Ganong Sixth in Super-G, Cochran-Siegle Sixth in Downhill

Marco Odermatt skiing Birds of Prey Course Beaver Creek 2019
Marco Odermatt descends the Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek, Colo.Photo courtesy of Erich Spiess/ASP/Red Bull Content Pool

The 2019 Birds of Prey World Cup stop at Beaver Creek kicked off on Friday, Dec. 6 with the men’s super-G event. Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt earned his first-ever Alpine World Cup gold medal, and his first super-G podium as well. The 22-year-old finished 0.10 seconds ahead of Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and 0.14 seconds ahead of Austrian Matthias Mayer.

American Travis Ganong finished in sixth place, 0.69 seconds behind Odermatt. The American looked stronger than ever on course and was pleased with his result.

“I had a lot of really good information before I went. Luckily, I was starting 14th and had a lot of good info and adjusted my plan… It worked out,” Ganong told after the race. “Super-G always is a mystery until you go, and you have to take risk. It’s the closest thing to freesking: you just have to react on your way down the hill and have a little bit of a plan, but [it’s] just kind of reactive skiing. It’s fun.”

Ganong, who finished 10th in the downhill last week in Lake Louise, credits staying healthy with his rising results. “Last year I was coming off of a knee injury and the first couple races after a long break and a big knee surgery [made it] hard for me to get back in the groove. But having a somewhat successful season last year, being healthy all summer… and coming into this season without any doubts in my head and no pain is the biggest thing.”

Cochran-Siegle kicked off a strong weekend of racing on Friday by finishing 1.82 seconds behind the winner in super- G, which was fast enough to tie for 18th place with Norway’s Rasmus Windingstad. Americans Steven Nyman and Ted Ligety also earned World Cup points by finishing 24th and 28th, respectively.

Beat Feuz’s Winning Downhill Run at Beaver Creek

During the shortened downhill race on Saturday, Cochran-Siegle put the pedal to the metal with a sixth-place finish. The Vermont-based skier had the fastest downhill training time on Wednesday and was a mere 0.08 seconds from making it onto the podium on Saturday. The course was shortened due to high winds at the top of the mountain.

“I wasn’t planning on being fast in the first training run and after winning that it felt like there might have been a little bit more of a spotlight, so just trying to handle it and show that I could perform on race day was huge,” Cochran-Siegle told the U.S. Ski Team.

The winner was Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won this race last season and continues to dominate the discipline by earning his 13th podium in 15 races. It was also Feuz’s 30th career downhill World Cup podium. France’s Johan Clarey and Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr both finished 0.41 seconds behind Feuz, tying for second. No bronze was awarded.

Cochran-Siegle’s American teammates Steven Nyman and Jared Goldberg finished in 17th and 22nd, respectively. No other Americans finished in the top 30.

The next FIS Alpine World Cup stop will be in Val d’Isère, France this weekend, with the GS on Friday and Slalom on Saturday. The next World Cup speed event is scheduled to take place in Bormio, Italy starting on December 28, 2019.

Keep up-to-date with the entire FIS Alpine World Cup tour by following our Racing channel.