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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

Beaver Creek Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill Races Preview

Updated: Dec 30, 2023

In 2017 the race was won by Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, one of his record four victories (2008, 2013, 2015, and 2017) on the Birds of Prey Downhill. He also won the Super-G in 2008.
Aksel Lund Svindal. Beaver Creek 2017. Picture: Erich Spiess / ASP / Red Bull Content Pool

The Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup makes its return December 1-3, 2023 with two Downhills and a Super-G. The Birds of Prey weekend has been an iconic part of World Cup since 1997.

Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey racecourse was built during the summer of 1997 in preparation for the 1999 World Alpine Ski Championships. The racecourse was designed by Olympic Downhill gold medalist Bernhard Russi of Switzerland.

Bode Miller in 2011 was the last USA skier to win the men's Downhill in Beaver Creek. Steven Nyman, third in 2014, was the last skier representing United States to finish on the podium.

In 2017 the race was won by Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal, one of his record four victories (2008, 2013, 2015, and 2017) on the Birds of Prey Downhill. He also won the Super-G in 2008.

Last season, Kilde won the first Downhill World Cup race in Lake Louise on November 26, 2022. The last male skier to win the opening Downhill World Cup race in consecutive seasons was Austrian skier Stephan Eberharter who won it three consecutive times between 2001-2002 and 2003-2004.

In the last 18 World Cup seasons, three Norwegians, Kjetil Jansrud in 2014-2015, Aksel Lund Svindal in 2015-2016, and Aleksander Aadmot Kilde 2021-2022, have won the first two Men's Downhill events of the season.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was the winner of the 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 Downhill Crystal Globes. Kilde and Aksel Lund Svindal, who won the Downhill title in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, are the only Norwegian skiers to have won the Downhill Crystal Globe more than once.

In the 2000s, Beat Feuz (4 consecutive from 2017-2018 to 2020-2021) and Stephan Eberharter (3 consecutive from 2001-2002 to 2003-2004) are the only male skiers to have won the Downhill Crystal Globe at least three times.

Kilde was the absolute dominator of the discipline in the Alpine Ski World Cup the last season. The 31-year-old Attacking Viking won six of ten Men's World Cup Downhill races in the 2022-2023 season (Lake Louise, Beaver Creek, Val Gardena, Wengen, Kitzbühel, and Aspen). He is the first man to have won six World Cup Downhill events in a single season since Stephan Eberharter in 2002-2003 (6). The only skiers to win more than six World Cup Downhill events in a single season were Annemarie Moser-Pröll (8 in 1972-1973), and Franz Klammer (8 in 1974-1975).

The Norwegian who had won a shortened Downhill in Wengen in 2021, proved once again that he feels right at home on the Lauberhorn racecourse. January's victory gave Kilde the Wengen double after winning the Super-G on Friday. He was the first one to achieved the double win in Wengen since Marc Girardelli in 1985.

On January 22, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde claimed, under challenging conditions, his second career win on the Streif. Now two time winner in Kitzbühel, Kilde is one of four Norwegian skiers to have won the World Cup Downhill event on the Streif. The other three are Lasse Kjus (1999 and 2004), Atle Skårdal (1990) and Kjetil Jansrud (2015).

With 21 World Cup wins, 12 of them in the Downhill, Kilde is second among Norwegian men for most World Cup Downhill wins, only behind Aksel Lund Svindal (14).

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde finished in second place behind Marco Odermatt in the Downhill at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel-Méribel.

Kilde won the Super-G Crystal Globe in the 2015-2016, and 2021-2022 seasons. Kilde is the seventh skier to has won the Super-G crystal globe more than once, and the third from Norway after Aksel Lund Svindal (5) and Kjetil Jansrud (3).

Last season the Norwegian won the Downhill in Beaver Creek. Kilde made it clear from the start of the sprint season that he wanted to successfully defend his Downhill World Cup title. The 31-year-old speed specialist won the second Downhill of the 2022-2023 season ahead of Marco Odermatt (+0.06 seconds) and James Crawford (+0.79). Kilde also won the Downhill in 2021. Until that year, the best finish in his six US Downhill starts was a seventh place finish in 2019.

Vincent Kriechmayr won the last Downhill of the Alpine Ski World Cup in Soldeu
Vincent Kriechmayr. Soldeu 2023 World Cup Finals. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

Vincent Kriechmayr finished in second place on the Downhill standings last season. He was the only man besides Aleksander Aamodt Kilde to win a World Cup Downhill event last season. Kriechmayr won in Val Gardena (15 December), Bormio (28 December), Kitzbühel (20 January), and Soldeu (15 March) but failed to finished in the podium in the other six Downhills.

The last Austrian skier to win four World Cup Downhill events in a single season was Renate Götschl in 2006-2007 (4). Stephan Eberharter was the last Austrian man to achieve this in 2003-2004 (4).

The last skier, other than Aleksander Aamodt Kilde or Vincent Kriechmayr, to celebrate a Downhill World Cup victory was Dominik Paris, in Kvitfjell, on March 5, 2022.

Kriechmayr's victory in the Aliga racecourse in Andorra marked his 16th victory in the World Cup (32nd podium), the ninth in the Downhill.

The winner of all the European Downhill Classics -Val Gardena-Gröden, Bormio, Wengen (twice) and Kitzbühel, is an specialist in winning at the Final Races of the season. Six of his World Cup victories have come in races held in the Finals. In Are 2018 he won the Downhill and the Super-G, in Saalbach 2021 he won the Downhill, in Courchevel-Méribel 2022 he achieved again the double -Downhill and Super-G.

Vincent Kriechmayr's best result in the Downhill in Beaver Creek was a second place in 2019. He won the Super-G race in 2017.

Marco Odermatt has won the Overall Crystal Globe the last two seasons. In 2023, with a total of 2,042 points, Odermatt broke the Men's points record in a single World Cup season set by Hermann Maier (2,000) in 1999-2000.

In 2023, Marco Odermatt won in Courchevel his first Downhill race to claim the World Champion Crown at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships thanks to a near-perfect run especially on the technical sections of L'Eclipse racecourse. He finished ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Cameron Alexander.

Odermatt, who has already won a total of 24 World Cup races in Super-G and Giant Slalom has never been on top of the podium in the Downhill. Only Heinrich Messner (7) claimed as many second places in Men's World Cup Downhill events without ever winning as Odermatt (7).

Odermatt won the Giant Slalom and Super-G Crystal Globes. He won 13 World Cup events last season (7 Giant Slalom, 5 Super-G). Only three men had also won 13 races in a single season: Ingemar Stenmark in 1978-1979 (13), Hermann Maier in 2000-2001 (13) and Marcel Hirscher in 2017-2018 (13).

The last man to win World Cup events in at least three of the traditional disciplines (Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom) in a single season was Marcel Hirscher in 2015-2016 (Super-G, Giant Slalom, and Slalom).

Last season Marco Odermatt finished in second place behind Kilde in the Downhill and Super-G races. He won the Super-G in 2019 and 2021.

James Crawford. Courchevel 2023. 47th Alpine World Ski Championships
James Crawford. Super-G Gold Medal. Courchevel 2023. Picture: GEPA Pictures / HEAD Ski

James Crawford finished in fourth place in the Alpine Ski World Cup Downhill standings.

Last season, the 26-year-old Canadian skier claimed three podium finishes in World Cup Downhill events, but has yet to win. He was third in Beaver Creek on December 3, and second in Bormio December 28, and Aspen March 3.

In the past eight seasons, the only Canadian man to win a World Cup Downhill race is Cameron Alexander in Kvitfjell on 4 March 2022.

James Crawford became World Champion in the Super-G at the 47th Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel on February 9, ahead of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, and Alexis Pinturault.

James Crawford finished in third place in the 2022 Downhill. Previously his best result in the event was 30 in 2021.

The last skier - other than Aleksander Aamodt Kilde or Vincent Kriechmayr - to celebrate a World Cup win in the Downhill was Dominik Paris, in Kvitfjell on March 5, 2022. Only Franz Klammer (25), Peter Müller (19) and Stephan Eberharter (18) won as many World Cup Downhill events among men as Paris (17).

Niels Hintermann achieved the last victory for Switzerland in a

Men's World Cup Downhill event. He won in the first Kvitfjell Downhill on 4 March 2022. He shared the first place in the podium with Cameron Alexander.

Beaver Creek Downhill Winners:

2022 Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)

2021 Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR)

2019 Beat Feuz (SUI)

2018 Beat Feuz (SUI)

2017 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)

2015 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)

2014 Kjetil Jansrud (NOR)

2013 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)

2012 Christof Innerhofer (ITA)

2011 Bode Miller (USA)

2009 Carlo Janka (SUI)

2008 Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR)

2007 Michael Walchfofer (AUT)

2006 Bode Miller (USA)

2005 Daron Rahlves (USA)

2004 Bode Miller (USA)

2002 Stephan Eberharter (AUT)

1997 Andreas Schifferer (AUT)

1997 Kristian Ghedina (ITA)

1988 Peter Muller (SUI)

1988 Franz Heinzer (SUI)

Updated 28.11.2023

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde set the best time in the first training in the Birds of Prey racecourse. The Norwegian was the fastest on Tuesday in Beaver Creek in the first training for the two Alpine Ski Ski World Cup Downhill races on Friday and Saturday. Kilde was 0.23 seconds ahead of Cyprien Sarrazin and 0.56 of Andreas Sander.

Updated 29.11.2023

After being second yesterday in the first training French skier Cyprien Sarrazin set the best time in today's Downhill training. Sarrazin finished 0.78 seconds ahead of James Crawford and 0.88 of Niels Hintermann.

Updated 1.12.2023

Due to last night's snowfall, Downhill has been cancelled.

Updated 2.12.2023

Today's Downhill was cancelled due to heavy snowfall and strong wind.


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