In just two seasons, U.S. ski team member Andrew Weibrecht has become one of the best-known racers in Beaver Creek, Colo. — right up there with Bode Miller and Hermann Maier.
The Lake Placid native was the talk of the town last season after placing 10th in the World Cup downhill with a hair-raising run from the No. 3 start position.
This season, he’s Beaver Creek’s poster boy.
The World Cup was back at the resort last weekend, and this time around, the Vail Valley Foundation selected Weibrecht to appear on the Birds of Prey poster. The
always eye-catching poster, which featured Ted Ligety last year, was displayed in store windows all over town.
But it was Weibrecht’s performance in the last Friday’s downhill that solidified his place as a genuine Birds of Prey legend.
Miller, a favorite in the race, had already taken a spectacular tumble that had the big crowd at the bottom gasping.
Weibrecht, starting 42nd, had them gasping even more with a fall of his own.
He charged out of the gate hoping to better his performance of a year ago. He was flying along nicely in a section of the course called Pete’s Arena when he caught an edge and took off through the air like a hawk after a mouse. But upside down.
In terms of air time it was close to the spill Maier took in the Olympic downhill at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
When Weibrecht slammed to a stop in the safety fencing he immediately raised his fist.
That was to let officials know he was O.K., right?
It was to let his mom, Lisa Weibrecht, know he was O.K.
“He’s a good boy. He knows his mother gets worried so he does that for me,” Lisa said with a chuckle after returning to Lake Placid on Tuesday. She and her husband, Ed, own the Mirror Lake Inn in the Olympic village.
The speedy skier’s mother said, “Andrew was happy with his skiing up to the point where he fell, but he said he hit a rut while initiating a turn.”
Explaining her son’s all-out approach, she added, “He doesn’t like to do ‘just alright.’”
Demong Top 10
Weibrecht isn’t the only skier from the North Country making a name for himself on the World Cup circuit.
Billy Demong of Vermontville (near Saranac Lake), a member of the U.S. ski team’s Nordic Combined squad, had two recent top-10 finishes in meets in Scandinavia.
Demong was fourth and seventh Dec. 6-7 in meets in Trondheim, Norway. He started the season with 27th and 13th place finishes in Kusamo, Finland. Demong’s teammate, Johnny Spillane of Steamboat Springs, Colo., was 27th and 28th in Kusamo aand 13th and fifth in Trondheim.
Nordic combined competition involves ski jumping and cross country skiing.
CLUB MEMBERS SAVE
Looking to save money on the slopes this season?
If you haven’t already done so, consider joining a ski club.
People join ski clubs for a number of reasons — to socialize, for racing opportunities and for club trips — but with the sagging economy, getting in more runs for your buck is probably at the top of the list this winter.
People in the Capital Region have a wide choice, as there are a number of ski/snowboard clubs in the area, most belonging to the New York State Capital District Ski Council.
According to the council’s Web site (NYCDSC.org), there are currently eight member ski clubs in the organization with a total membership of 3,000.
At this writing, there were only seven clubs listed on the councils Web site — the Albany Ski Club, the Out of Control Ski Club (OCs), the Schenectady Wintersports Club, the Ski & Snowboard Club of Albany (formerly the Single Ski Club), the Nubian Empire Ski Club, the G.E. Utica Ski Club and the G.E. Whitney Club.
There is strength in numbers and the council has associations with a number of ski areas offering promotional day discounts to individuals belonging to member clubs.
For example, club members can ski this season at Whiteface Mountain for $35 Jan. 21, Feb. 6, March 23-24 and April 5-6.
Council discount days at Stratton Mountain, Vt., are Dec. 19, Jan. 16, Feb. 6, March 6 and March 16 for $40; and Feb. 22 for $42.
Okemo Mountain, Vt., is offering a $35 ticket to council club members Sunday (Dec. 14), Jan. 4 and March 13. Discounted tickets at Okemo Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 will be $40.
At Catamount in Hillsdale, members of council clubs get a break on weekend and holiday tickets. Friday (non-holiday) tickets, normally $42, are $30 for council members. Weekend and holiday tickets, normally $56, are $36 for council members.
Council members can ski for $35 at Magic Mountain, Vt., on Jan. 18.
Stowe, Vt., will have council discount days Jan. 12-14 and March
18-22 with tickets $32 for adults and $13 for juniors.
Members of ski clubs are also eligible to purchase a Killington Club Card and ski the Vermont area for $50 a day. The card, which must be purchased before Dec. 17, is a pre-loaded card with four days of skiing or riding. It is valid each and every day of the season. When the days are used up, a reload card can be purchased for two to four additional days of skiing, also for $50 per day.
New York Capital District Ski Council clubs participate in four races at different ski areas during the season. In recent years these areas have included West Mountain, Gore Mountain and Whiteface Mountain in New York state and Bromley, Mount Snow, Pico, Killington and Stratton in Vermont. The most active race clubs, by the way, are the Albany Ski Club, O.C. Ski Club, the Ski & Snowboard Club of Albany and the Schenectady Wintersports Club.
The O.C. Ski Club sponsors weekend bus trips to a variety of ski areas with discounted lift tickets part of the package.
The Schenectady Wintersports Club owns a lodge near Stowe, Vt., where members can stay at a very reasonable cost.
Some clubs offer trips out west and abroad at reasonable prices.
The O.C. Ski Club is running a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 17-24 for $1,440. The cost includes airfare, seven nights lodging and a five of seven-day ski pass good at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude.
The OCs are also sponsoring at trip to Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia Jan. 31-Feb. 7 for $1,570. Lodging and a six-day pass are included.
And for shorter stays, the Capital District Ski Council is offering a trip to Quebec March 5-8 for $450 and G.E. Utica has a trip to Mont Tremblant in Canada Feb. 1-4.
The Nubian Empire Ski Club is one of the newer clubs in the council.
According to its Web site, the Nubian Empire Ski Club is committed to the promotion of winter sports and other seasonal sports activities within the African American community in the New York Capital District area.
The club was incorporated in 2001 with 15 members. It has since grown to 50 members.