World Cup Starts Today – Men’s DownhillPosted: November 28, 2009
Months of hard work by hundreds of volunteers has paid off, and today they get to watch as the World Cup season gets underway with the men racing their first downhill race of this Olympic season.
If all goes according to plan, the first of ten forerunners will leave the start hut at the top of the course above Sunset Gully and make their way through 41 gates to the finish just uphill of the base area, followed by 78 racers. They’ll cover the course, which is a shade over 3km long and drops 831m in vertical, in about two minutes, reaching speeds well over 100km/h. The best way to really get a sense of the speeds reached on this course is to stand next to it and watch the racers fly by with a whoosh of wind.
The photo below was taken towards the end of the day yesterday, when I had the chance to ride in the helicopter that’s currently parked near the patrol building. The entire course is bordered by red safety netting, which is visible in the photo and clearly shows the route down the mountain (click on photo for large version). I figured the helicopter might also be a good place from which to watch the race, but I was a few thousand dollars shy of making that a reality.