From the Vault: The Race is On
“Top Field for Roch,” announced The Aspen Times on March 14, 1968. The paper was referring to Aspen’s annual Roch Cup ski races (first held in 1946), which in 1968 doubled as a World Cup event. The World Cup had only started the year before. As the paper noted, “Aspen is playing host this week to the most distinguished field of international ski racers in its history, except for the 1950 FIS World Championships here. By Tuesday, 122 competitors had registered with the sponsoring Aspen Ski Club for the 22nd annual running of the Roch Cup Championships, a World Cup point meet this year. The press corps on hand for the meet has representatives from a number of foreign countries. NBC television will carry Friday’s downhill and Saturday’s slalom to a nationwide audience Sunday afternoon. Increasing the drama is the fact that the odds-on favorite, triple Olympic Gold Medal winner Jean-Claude Killy of France, has announced his intention to quit racing at the end of the season. Before the current Ski King steps down, however, a number of schussers who have beaten Killy in the past, or come close, want another shot at him — particularly Karl Schranz of Austria who gave up the Olympic slalom Gold Medal to the Frenchman on a disqualification. Ready to show that Americans know American snow best are members of the U.S. team — Bill Kidd and Jim Heuga, who were second and third in the 1964 Olympic slalom, as well as Rick Chaffee, Spider Sabich and Ken Phelps. Both Friday’s and Saturday’s races will count toward the Roch combined championship and World Cup points. Sunday’s giant slalom, normally a Roch event but not this year, will be run for the new Aspen Cup. Although the Killy-against-the-world battle has taken the limelight, hot competition is expected among the girls. All three Grenoble Gold Medal winners are in the field — Nancy Greene (giant slalom) of Canada, Olga Pall (downhill) of Austria, and Marielle Goitschel (slalom) of France.” The photo above shows Billy Kidd and Nancy Greene, the winners of the World Cup/Roch Cup in 1968.
This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at aspenhistory.org.
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