Ligety’s Legacy: the five-time Birds of Prey champion honored at a World Cup with a section of the course

Mike Imhof, right, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, pays tribute to Ted Ligety by announcing that Ligety’s name will adorn a section of the famous Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek ahead of the start of the World Cup downhill on Saturday at Beaver Creek. Ligety has won five times on the course.
Jon Resnick Foundation / Vail Valley

From his first World Cup podium at Beaver Creek in 2006 to his gold at the World Championships in 2015 at the same location, his skis have always gone through the snow like lightning – Ligety-split.

And now, the character of Ted Ligety will be a permanent fixture on the much-vaunted Birds of Prey course. The multiple Olympic and world alpine skiing champion was recognized ahead of Saturday’s downhill competition with the unveiling of ‘Ligety’s Legacy’, bearing his name on part of the course to honor the man who has won five World Cup victories .

Ligety is second all-time behind Hermain Maier on the Birds of Prey all-time win list. His likeness is now etched into the course alongside fellow American legends Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller, a worthy award for the newly retired former Olympic and world champion.

Ted Ligety flies over the Birds of Prey course in the men’s giant slalom at the World Alpine Ski Championships Friday February 13, 2015 in Beaver Creek.
Alessandro Trovati / AP

“It is a real honor to be remembered on the track,” Ligety said ahead of Saturday’s event, which included speeches from former coaches and teammates. “It’s a hill that has created so many amazing memories for me and has given me so much success. So that’s a real honor for sure.

“There is a special connection between the US ski and snowboard team and the Xfinity Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek, and Ted’s hard-earned success as the most successful American ski racer of all time on the course. legendary is a feat to be celebrated, ”said Mike Imhof, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, which is the local organizing committee for World Cup races. “For years watching Ted win or stand on the podium in our last competition on Sunday was the perfect culmination of an exciting World Cup weekend. It has been an honor to see Ted compete fiercely every year at Beaver Creek, and we wish Ted the best as he moves on from ski racing to his next adventure.

USA Ski Team racing legend Ted Ligety enjoys Friday’s silent disco event at the Xfinity Birds of Prey World Cup in Beaver Creek.
Madison Rahhal / Vail Daily

Known as Mr. GS, the technical skier’s love for Beaver Creek Hill has more to do with giant slalom, the discipline where his five Birds of Prey victories came from. However, the super-G course holds a special place in his heart as well. Ligety loves the way she forces skiers to demonstrate a wide range of skills and tactics.

“It’s tricky. There are a lot of little pieces of land where you have to take a lot of risk to keep your speed going, but also, if you make a mistake in any of these spots your run is pretty much over. “He said.” It’s really unique in the sense that it really fuses the technical side of the super-G but also has some glide parts, has a few jumps, and it has everything you could want. really on a super-G track. “

Having retired at the end of last season, Ligety was in Beaver Creek this week doing analyst work for NBC. It’s hard to say if being in the cabin is more nerve-racking than the Olympic starting grid according to Ligety, but the energy and excitement, at the very least, helps him feel connected to the sport.

“It’s an adjustment,” he said, explaining how the novelty of the job comes with a lot of the fun. “It’s actually fun, I think, because I’m new to it right now. I still have a bit of that pre-race nervousness. Just like feeling some of that running energy and being a part of it is fun. So who knows if that will fade as I do it a little bit more, ”he said.

“I’m definitely learning a lot and I’m learning on the fly for sure. “

To look forward

The new point of view gave the longtime staple of the American side a positive outlook as he analyzes the state of his former team. He believes the younger generation of runners to come has a unique opportunity.

“The US ski team is definitely in a little different situation,” he said, noting his own retirement with others. “On the tech side, you know a lot of young guys, which can be a cool and fun environment to push each other around,” he said, echoing River Radamus’ sentiment from the start of the season. week on the culture of positive competition and camaraderie within the men’s team.

“You know, there’s not a lot of World Cup experience on the tech side anymore for anyone to feed off, but at the same time a little bit of naivety and just pulling and pushing each other. can be a good thing too.

So far, he sees evidence of the bright future of American skiing. “River stepping up that first race was really cool to watch,” he said before talking about how long term progress is always a process that takes patience.

It’s a process he has now moved away from, spending time once spent doing squats and cleanups being with his family and working on his business, SHRED.

“I spent a lot more time in my business,” he said. “It has been fun to dive deeper into this area on a regular basis and help grow this business. “

His commentary work with NBC, which he plans to continue during the Beijing Winter Olympics, and his work with his sponsors and partners, keep him connected to the sport. The occasional ATV ride does that too, but without the Garmin.

“It was always for fun,” he said of his training activities. “But, doing all of those activities that I like to do more for fun and without having to have a super regulated workout plan is good,” he said of the noticeable lack of zones. heart rate targets and sophisticated GPS monitors. “So it was definitely a lot different than it was. But it was a nice change. Honestly, it was nice going to the gym everyday for over four hours a day. It was a joy.

Ted Ligety signs autographs at Beaver Creek Village Friday afternoon.
Madison Rahhal / Vail Daily

In all his efforts, he always has a fairly busy schedule, which includes travel. Yet her daily routine is very different from what it had been for most of the previous two decades.

“My life has been very similar month to month for 17 years in a row,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to spend more time at home. Being away from home for a week is good, but being away from home for six weeks to six months is not that pleasant, ”he said with a laugh. “So it’s nice to spend more time at home with the family. It has been a really good life. At the moment, I don’t miss these aspects of what I did before.

While Ligety may not miss parts of his skiing career, American fans surely miss him as they tear up the doors, go down the slope. At least now, they will be able to savor the memories – the legacy – every time they see the map and ski the mountains.

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