Weibrecht leads Americans in super combined at Beaver Creek | SierraSun.com

Weibrecht leads Americans in super combined at Beaver Creek

Ed Stoner
Sun News Service

Dominique Taylor | dtaylor@vaildaily.comAmerican Andrew Weibrecht holds his edge as he rounds a gate in the downhill leg of the men's super combined event Friday during the Birds of Prey World Cup ski races Friday at Beaver Creek. Weibrecht led the American team in 19th.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado and#8212; It was another wild ride for Andrew Weibrecht on the Birds of Prey course.

Two years ago, he had a memorable 10th-place run in the downhill that made fans take notice.

On Friday, he again brought fans to their feet with the the top U.S. showing in the super combined, finishing 19th.

The Lake Placid, N.Y., native was actually the only American to finish the race. Both Ted Ligety and Bode Miller skied off the course during the slalom portion.

Weibrecht had the fifth-fastest time in the downhill part of the super combined, and he then hammered out a solid run in slalom and#8212; a discipline he’s practiced just four times this season.

and#8220;Downhill was good,and#8221; Weibrecht said. and#8220;Slalom left something to be desired. But that’s pretty much all I could have expected with the amount of training I’ve had.and#8221;

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The 19th-place finish gives Weibrecht World Cup points and comes after two 12th-place results last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

In the downhill run Friday, Weibrecht started relatively slowly, but made up time through the super-steep Brink, Talon Turn and Pete’s Arena, the spot where he fell badly last year.

He skied that section faster than anyone Friday, and is hoping to continue that trend in the downhill today.

and#8220;I had good success here a couple of years ago,and#8221; Weibrecht said. and#8220;A big crash last year. I’m trying to build my confidence up on the course still. That definitely helps.and#8221;

The slalom run was a bit of an adventure for the speed-oriented Weibrecht.

and#8220;I kind of skied the first couple gates and saw how I felt and didn’t feel as good as I had hoped, so I kind of shifted down a gear,and#8221; Weibrecht said. and#8220;I wouldn’t say I cruised and#8212; I was still trying to attack and#8212; but something in my mind wouldn’t let me. I wanted to get down and get some points on the board.and#8221;

Miller was in prime position after his downhill run, sitting in seventh place. In his slalom run, he was leading the race after the first split, but fell in a tricky hairpin-turn section about halfway down the course.

and#8220;Bode got tangled up there. He took a pretty hard crash. I hope he’s OK,and#8221; said Sasha Rearick, the head coach of the men’s alpine team.

Miller, the two-time World Cup overall champion and 31-time World Cup winner, returned to the U.S. Ski Team this fall after skiing on his own for two seasons. He took off the last couple of months last season following the birth of his daughter and did little conditioning over the summer.

and#8220;Bode’s still working on skiing,and#8221; Rearick said. and#8220;He hasn’t had a whole lot of volume, so he’s still getting it. Today in the downhill he sakied some tactical turns really well. … In general he’s making steps each day, and gave good effort today, so I’m proud of him.

Ligety, a technical-discipline specialist, turned in a decent downhill run, finishing 24th and sitting 2.02 seconds behind the leader. But, like Miller, Ligety did not finish the slalom run after he straddled a gate about three-quarters of the way down the course. He was scorching the slalom course and#8212; he skied the first half of the course faster than any racer and#8212; before he skied off the course.

and#8220;My slalom was going well, so makes it almost more annoying to be fast and then to blow out,and#8221; Ligety said. and#8220;I’m glad I’m skiing fast. It’s just annoying to not make the finish.and#8221;

Ligety will skip the downhill today and will compete next in Sunday’s giant slalom.a