Ligety, Miller 1-2 in Birds of Prey giant slalom
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Ted Ligety and Bode Miller produced a one-two giant slalom finish for the U.S. Ski Team in difficult, snowy conditions Sunday to close the Audi Birds of Prey race week in Beaver Creek.
The results marked the first time two Americans shared the Alpine World Cup GS podium since Miller and Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl went one-two during the 2005 Birds of Prey GS in Beaver Creek.
Ligety won the race with a comfortable, second-plus margin. It was his fourth consecutive GS victory and his third straight in Beaver Creek. Italy’s Alberto Tombo was the last man to win four straight GS races, in 1991.
“I’ve always loved this hill,” said Ligety, who also led the United States with a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s giant slalom. “It’s great to have my family and friends here for this. I’m just so psyched to get a win.”
Ligety’s win also marked his 10th consecutive GS podium — the second-longest GS streak in World Cup history, joining Tomba, Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden and American Phil Mahre.
Miller’s podium finish was his first since March 2007.
“Even though I maybe took a little too much risk and made some mistakes, I really wanted to ski 100 percent,” said Miller, who is back on the World Cup tour after taking a year off to heal his knee.
“That’s why I did the work I did in the summer. I’m ready to ski as hard as I can now, and I think to be able to beat somebody like Ted, that’s what you have to do. You have to be able to go absolutely 100 percent top to bottom with no mistakes and no fatigue. Today the fitness is there. Without the mistakes we’ll be there.”
Ganong 15th in Birds downhill
Miller finished 13th and Travis Ganong of Squaw Valley 15th in continuous snow and sub-zero temperatures in the Birds of Prey World Cup downhill on Friday.
The U.S. Ski Team posted five athletes in the top 30 as Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal claimed his second downhill win in Beaver Creek.
Steven Nyman finished 21st, Marco Sullivan of Squaw Valley was 28th and Erik Fisher was 29th. Ligety was 42nd, as he started late in the pack just as snow began turn heavier.
“It was a little bumpier than yesterday, which was to be expected,” Ganong said. “It was actually nice. In the second run we can really take tighter lines and push it in places so that’s what I did today. I stuck to my plan and it really worked. I just got pushed low in one little tiny section and it might have cost me a little bit. But overall, I’m pretty happy with my skiing.”