Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Birds of Prey (ski course)

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Eagle County, Colorado

Top elevation
11,427 ft (3,483 m)


2,470 ft (753 m)

Base elevation
8,957 ft (2,730 m)

Nearest city


Birds of Prey is a World Cup downhill ski course in the western United States, located at Beaver Creek, Colorado. A regular stop on the men's World Cup tour, the races in Beaver Creek are usually held in early December. The course hosted the Alpine World Championships in February 1999 and 2015. With lower starting gates, it is also used for Super-G and Giant Slalom races.


World class

The Birds of Prey course was developed for the 1999 World Championships, designed by 1972 Olympic champion Bernhard Russi. The first World Cup race was won by Kristian Ghedina of Italy in December 1997, but the course was then dominated by Austrians, led by the legendary Hermann Maier. He won three consecutive Birds of Prey downhills: the 1999 world title in front of 20,000 spectators, followed by World Cup victories in each of the next two seasons.

Birds of Prey (ski course) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

In December 2004, Americans Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves won the gold and silver in the World Cup downhill race, the first ever one-two finish for American men in a downhill, and the first in any event in over two decades, since Phil & Steve Mahre in the 1984 Olympic slalom. The two Americans switched positions on the podium the following year, as Rahlves joined Maier as a multiple winner. Miller joined them the next year and gained a third title on the course in December 2011.


For the World Cup downhill race in December 2012, the starting gate was at an elevation of 11,427 ft (3,483 m) above sea level with the finish line at 8,957 ft (2,730 m), a vertical drop of 2,470 ft (753 m). The course was 1.71 miles (2.752 km) in length, an average gradient of 27 percent (15 degrees), with a maximum gradient of 45 percent in the middle. Rahlves' time of 1:39.59 in December 2003 is the fastest in competition for the full course, an average speed of 61.0 miles per hour (98.2 km/h) and an average vertical descent of 24.9 feet (7.6 m) per second. The course that year had a vertical drop of 2,484 feet (757 m) and a length of 1.687 miles (2.715 km).

The Red Tail Camp finish area is about 800 vertical feet (240 m) above the resort's main village.


The jumps of the race course adhere to the birds of prey theme: Peregrine, Screech Owl, Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Harrier, and the concluding Red Tail.

Super G

Birds of Prey (ski course) Birds of Prey Downhill POV Run YouTube

Due to a lack of snow in France in December 2011, the women's super G scheduled for Val-d'Isère was moved to the Birds of Prey course, which had hosted men's races the previous week. It was the first time that women had raced on the course. Hometown favorite Lindsey Vonn of Vail delighted the valley with her 46th World Cup victory, her first on U.S. snow. She became the first American to tally four consecutive World Cup victories; she swept the three speed events the previous week at Lake Louise, Alberta. Through the 2016 season, Vonn has 19 victories in North America, with a single resort record of 18 wins at Lake Louise. (The women's World Cup events in North America are usually late November technical events in Aspen, followed by multiple speed events in Canada at Lake Louise.)

New course

Adjacent to Birds of Prey on Beaver Creek Mountain, a new women's downhill course was built for the 2015 World Championships. Named Raptor, it hosted three women's World Cup events in November 2013, a test run for the world championships less than fifteen months later. Both speed events were won by Lara Gut of Switzerland.

World Cup – Men's Downhill

  • Multiple winners
  • 3 wins: Hermann Maier (includes 1999 world title), Bode Miller, Aksel Lund Svindal
  • 2 wins: Daron Rahlves
  • Video

  • You - The Birds of Prey Downhill - From Jalbert Production's The Thin Line
  • You - Hans Knauss - Audi Birds of Prey POV Downhill - December 2010
  • References

    Birds of Prey (ski course) Wikipedia

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