Lindsey Vonn is primed for her debut on the Birds of Prey race course at Beaver Creek on Wednesday.
This week’s World Cup races were a bonus for the U.S., as dry conditions in France forced the FIS to move events from Val d’Isere to North America.
On Sunday, Vonn was focused on completing the Lake Louise sweep, but also looking forward to ripping down the Golden Eagle trail in her hometown. She said she has always wanted to race down the Birds.
“There’s been a couple years where they had some cancellations, and there’s always been a debate: Should we put them in Beaver Creek or not? I’ve always hoped they would put them there,” Vonn said.
Vonn went even further to say there should be a yearly stop for the women at Beaver Creek. And with a new women’s downhill trail planned for the 2015 World Championship, that prospect might not be terribly unfeasible in a few years.
“I’m excited not only for Wednesday’s race, but for the 2015 World Champs,” Vonn said. “That will be my best chance to really do something special at home.”
In terms of preparing for the course itself, the hometown advantage probably won’t be a huge factor for Vonn, who merely slipped the course prior to the men’s World Cup race many years ago. So she’s not super familiar with the track.
“I watched the men’s super-G race (on Saturday). There’s definitely a lot of terrain, and the light was obviously really flat. But it looked really fun. It’s a course I think I can ski well on. It kind of depends on the course set, but at the same time the hill looks like it’s in perfect shape,” Vonn said.
The women will be starting their super-G slightly lower than the men.
For Vonn, a World Cup win at Beaver Creek would be her 46th, but it would be her first on American snow — something she said would elevate it as a major highlight in her career, if all goes well on Wednesday.
There are certainly no guarantees. Golden Eagle is a new course for every girl in the field, which makes the race unpredictable. While Vonn was clearly dominant this weekend in Lake Louise, she only won the super-G by 2/10 of a second — not nearly as comfortably as she took the downhills.
“My (super-G) skis definitely felt really good. I felt solid, but I think I could have improved a lot on my run,” Vonn said. “I was unfortunately thinking a little bit about the hat trick. I was a little bit nervous today, but that’s actually great preparation for Beaver Creek.”
Vonn is currently staying at her home in Vail. She’s planning some training on Golden Peak on Tuesday morning, followed by free skiing on the race hill Tuesday afternoon.