U.S. Fast Before Downhill Training Canceled
The first run of men's downhill training was canceled early Wednesday because of fog after 42 of 87 racers finished, but a couple of U.S. competitors were among those with an early look – among them Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) in seventh and Andrew Weibrecht in 10th.
"It was good," said 2006 combined gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT). "I was surprised by how turny it felt and how technical it was. That's good for me, for sure."
Ligety, whose main focus is the combined and is unlikely to compete in downhill, said he was happy to have a run under his belt before the course was closed at 3 p.m.
"I think it will take a couple of runs to get fully comfortable with it," he said. "I had no idea what it was going to be like at the start, so it's good to get one run out of the way."
Ligety wore a new suit designed for defending champions by Spyder. 2006 giant slalom champion Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) will don one as well.
Saturday's downhill must be preceded by at least one training session, and two more await Thursday and Friday if the weather permits.
"It would be very nice to get another run, but I don't know if that will happen," said Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA), who thinks there might be an advantage for North Americans on the course.
"I think there is," Sullivan said. "I have skied here before. I raced here about 10 years ago, I know the hill. Some of these guys, It's probably their first time skiing down the hill. In that sense, we know it better than other people.
Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) agreed.
"Any time that you've skied a downhill, you probably have a limited advantage over other guys who are trying to figure out the run.
"I think this course has a pretty good mix," Weibrecht said. "It's not really technical where it is super tough turns, but you are turning the whole way from the top to the bottom.
It never really lets up. It's not like there is a section where you are just cruising along."
Didier Cuche of Switzerland unofficially had the fastest time Wednesday.
Both men and women have a downhill training run scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. local time on Thursday with the women's service as training for Sunday's super combined. Women are slated to run the full course with the first five using a start interval of two minutes. The rest of the field will start every 1:15.
Men's downhill training will use a one minute interval for every athlete, yet the men's racers will stop at the slalom start. The men's downhill opens medal competition for alpine on Feb. 13.