I got curious about searching for video of skiers going down Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey race course.
Early on in the video is a elevation to distance profile of the course. You can pause it and take a close look at the numbers, but here is my analysis.
The total drop is about 2,600 feet from start to finish and the total horizontal distance traveled is 6,128 feet. Running the numbers we get a rise/run of about .425 which translates into an angle of about 22°. I know, I know you protest saying the run is much steeper than that, yes it is, but in spots only.
There is some disagreement as the Wiki entry is at odds with the numbers I use, and it reports Bird’s of Prey average grade to be about 22% or 15°. However, no matter what numbers are used, this all goes to show how it does not take a whole lot of pitch to get a skier going fast!
The next video I present has one happy fact: The Run is Groomed! A lot of the time, steep runs are left to grow wild. However, most of these big resorts are unable to groom all of their runs on a daily basis, and it is bumpiness more than anything that steers me away from a particular run.