Snowmaking and grooming operations have been busy preparing the famed Birds of Prey downhill run. This is a winch-cat, pushing snow over "The Brink" on the racecourse. A winch-cat's cable is attached to a fixed object to provide extra support while grooming steep terrain. Work crews will work for months to prepare the hard, slick snow that is preferred by the World Cup ski racers. Everything is free and open to the public. That includes World Cup races, post-race parties, concerts and athlete autograph signings. The Super Combined is on Thursday. That's one run of Downhill and one run of Slalom. The Birds of Prey Downhill is on Friday, with the Super-G on Saturday and the Giant Slalom on Sunday. The Vail Valley is also bidding on the 2013 World alpine Ski Championships. Officials will be watching how well the races are run. The vote on the host site is May 29, 2008, at the International Ski Federation Congress in Cape Town, South Afrida. The Vail Valley has hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships before, in the years 1989 and 1999. Lodging packages at Beaver Creek start at $393 per person for four nights of lodging and four days of skiing. For more details, call 800-404-3535.