Beaver Creek is an American ski resort located at the foot of the Colorado Mountains and some major events have always found a home there.
The mountain was named as a potential site for the 1976 Olympic Winter Games. For the last few years Beaver Creek has hosted the FIS World Cup downhill race on an annual basis.
In 1989, the resort hosted the FIS World Ski Championships where the relatively unknown German Hans-Joerg Tauscher claimed an unexpected gold medal in the downhill. Ten years later Vail/Beaver Creek hosted another edition of the Worlds and the spectacular Birds of Prey race course was recognized as one of the top five race courses in the world, designed by 1972 Olympic Downhill gold medalist Bernhard Russi of Switzerland.
The first competition on the Birds of Prey took place in December 1997, with a pair of men's World Cup downhill races and a men's World Cup super-G. Italy's Kristian Ghedina was the first race winner, capturing the opening downhill.
Austria's Hermann 'Herminator' Maier made an impressive mark on the Beaver Creek course by clinching seven wins in a row, including the Worlds in 1999 (Maier shared the gold medal with Norway's Lasse Kjus in the SG), and eight in total. He was unbeatable there after his first win here in super-G in December 1997.
History was made on December 5th, 1997 when the Wunderteam swept the top five places in the downhill (Schifferer, Maier, Eberharter, J. Strobl and Trinkl). History was also made on the Birds of Prey in 2004 with the one-two American Downhill finish of Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, marking it the first time that the U.S. athletes have claimed the top two spots in a World Cup downhill and the first time since Phil and Steve Mahre captured gold and silver medals in slalom at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo that Americans had gone one-two in any event.
In 2007, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway crashed heavily during the first DH training run of the season there, landing badly on the 'Golden Eagle' compression and sustaining severe injuries that saw him miss the entire season. He came back in 2008, just a year later, to again win on the Birds of Prey.