Olympic layouts get thumbs up from skiers

Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:03pm EST
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By Steve Keating

WHISTLER, British Columbia (Reuters) - The courses for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics have gone down a treat with alpine skiers, who gave the new layouts rave reviews on Thursday.

Christoph Gruber led the praise following his winning super-G run down the Dave Murray Downhill course but the Austrian veteran was not alone in his approval of the upgraded Whistler Mountain courses.

"I have to say this is a spectacular course, it's very beautiful, a true Olympic course," Liechtenstein's Marco Buechel, a super-G winner in Kitzbuehel last month, told reporters.

"I would say whoever wins here at the Olympic Games will be the true champion.

"I can say nothing against this course. It has everything...it's just amazing to ski here. But it is very, very difficult."

A trip to the Vancouver was not always something racers looked forward to.

Until Thursday, the last World Cup race staged at Whistler was a men's super-G in 1995. The resort was later removed from the FIS calendar after poor weather forced the cancellation of races in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

The Vancouver Olympic Organising Committee (VANOC) spent $27.6 million upgrading the Whistler mountain courses and according to skiers, it was money wisely spent.   Continued...