The 2005-06 World Cup alpine ski racing season swung into full motion last weekend as the women competed in three events at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and the men had four more at Beaver Creek, Colo.
At Beaver Creek, the VISA Birds of Prey series Dec. 1-4 kicked off the "10 Weeks to Torino" series of major snow sports events in the U.S. leading to the 2006 Winter Olympics Feb. 10-26 at Torino, Italy.
The U.S. Ski Team did well and its top two skiers profited nicely.
Sugar Bowl's Daron Rahlves, 32, won Friday's downhill by .27 seconds over teammate Bode Miller, 28, of New Hampshire. It was Rahlves' 10th career World Cup triumph and his seventh in downhill, the most DH wins of any U.S. man.
Saturday the pair switched their 1-2 placings with Miller winning the Beaver Creek giant slalom in a Colorado snowstorm for his 20th career win. Rahlves was second and teammate Erik Schlopy fourth in the first 1-2-4 American finish since 1984, when Christin Cooper was involved.
Rahlves and Miller each pocketed $45,000 for the back-to-back races, $30,000 for the win and $15,000 for second place. They were the first two World Cup podiums this season for reigning World Cup king Miller.
Another highlight was the bronze medal slalom finish of Park City's Ted Ligety, 21, on Sunday.
So, in the men's overall standings after seven races, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal (295 points) leads by a handful of points over second-place Rahlves (285) and third-place Miller (282). Miller leads the GS standings by 48 points after two GS races.
Up at Lake Louise, 21-year-old Lindsey Kildow of Vail, Colo. returned to the hill where she won her first World Cup race a year ago—and she did it again Saturday by capturing the second women's DH of the season by .03 seconds over Sylviane Berthod of Switzerland.
Julia Mancuso, 21, of Olympic Valley was fourth and Kildow fifth in Friday's season-opening DH. And Kildow came through Sunday with a sixth place in the super giant slalom.
After four races, downhill leader Kildow (185 points) is third in the overall standings behind two Austrians—Alexandra Meissnitzer (210) and Michaela Dorfmeister (209).