Aspen contingent studies World Cup Finals in St. Moritz
The Aspen Times
contingent of Aspen Skiing Co. officials traveled to St. Moritz, Switzerland, this week to gather final ideas on hosting the FIS alpine skiing World Cup Finals.
St. Moritz is hosting races the next few days for the top men and women racers in the world. Aspen is scheduled to host the races March 15 to 19, 2017.
Skico Chief Executive Officer and Vice President David Perry is part of the Aspen delegation along with John Rigney, vice president of sales and special events; Deric Gunshor, senior event marketing manager; Nancy Scheinkman, World Cup event manager; and Tucker Vest Burton of Skico’s public relations team.
“We’ve gone to this event the last two years just to get a feel for it,” Rigney said before departing Tuesday. Rigney was part of a group that went to Meribel, France, for the finals last season.
One of the team’s duties this week will be checking on the lodging needs for the event. Rigney said they want to nail down rooms in Aspen and Snowmass Village by the end of this month for the event next year. That requires housing the athletes, coaches, support staff and media. Rigney estimated earlier it will require about 20 percent of the total Aspen and Snowmass room inventory to host the finals.
The finals are the third-biggest event in alpine ski racing behind the Olympics and World Championships. They will attract significantly more interest than Aspen’s usual World Cup ski events. Skico must prepare to handle more press, more spectators and extensive television coverage.
Rigney said the event also will provide a chance to talk with officials on the men’s and women’s tours as well as the FIS staff. He said he doesn’t anticipate any discussion about the FIS yanking the races from Aspen.
FIS officials want Skico to replace Lift 1A and improve the base area before the event. Skico officials have said they will only make a multimillion dollar investment in a new chairlift after it becomes clearer what will be developed at the base. An application was submitted to the city of Aspen this week for the Gorsuch Haus hotel at the base of Lift 1A. Another hotel is being contemplated just north of the existing lower terminal of the lift.
The hotels clearly won’t be built in one year. The FIS calendar has had an asterisk beside Aspen on its 2016-17 calendar. A notation simply said “infrastructure requirements.” The 2017 calendar isn’t currently available on the FIS website.
Rigney said no formal FIS meetings are scheduled during the competition in St. Moritz. The organization’s next major meeting is the FIS 50th Annual Ski Congress in Cancun, Mexico, on June 5 to 9. He said Aspen is moving full speed ahead with plans to host the 2017 finals. The NorAm races on Aspen Mountain this week have been used to gauge the mountain operations necessary to pull off a quick session of races in a short amount of time.