View of the Beaver Creek finish area
We sat in the first row of bleachers, which gave us a good view of the bottom section of the race course, and of the large-screen video of the races.
The first racer, Stephan Keppler, crashed and slid a long distance into the B-net - not the most auspicious start.
Keppler’s crash on the screen
Keppler limped away from his crash. The next few racers completed the course, with last year’s overall WC champion, Marcel Hirscher, skiing conservatively after seeing Keppler’s crash.
Then, skiing 10th, Max Franz crashed — and was knocked unconscious, and brought down by ski patrol.
Depsite the two wipeouts, Matteo Marsaglia, skiing 12th, only two runs after Franz’s crash, went all out. He said that “I tried to push … I had nothing to lose.”
Hirscher, reigning World champion, whose best event is the GS (to come Sunday) did not ski as aggressively- risking all– and came in over 2 seconds behind Marsaglia.
close-up of crash - does not look fun
Video of the crash on YouTube - he’s trying to slow down, after he falls, while sliding down the course.
One of my colleagues at Beaver Creek, a race coach, commented that 17 racers out is almost 25% of the field and indicates that something might have been wrong.
I’m curious to hear if they conclude that there was a problem with the course. Other conditions were ideal – blue sky, sunshine, good visibility, good surface.