Aspen’s World Cup prospects not very good |

Aspen’s World Cup prospects not very good

Aspen Skiing Co. officials’ spirits have sunk again over the prospect of landing a World Cup ski race next season.

Two Skico representatives will attend an International Ski Federation meeting in Slovenia next month, but the chances of returning with a race don’t appear good, according to John Norton, Skico chief operating officer.

Norton will represent Aspen at that meeting along with Jim Hancock, last November’s chief of race.

Norton said Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, might have locked up the race date Aspenites were hoping to secure. FIS officials examined a downhill course at the Panorama section of Lake Louise last week and certified it as capable of holding a men’s downhill race, according to Norton. The course had previously only been certified for women’s races, he said.

It appears that Lake Louise will be awarded the men’s speed events that have been held in recent seasons at Whistler. The famed British Columbia resort has failed for three consecutive seasons to pull off a downhill race because of poor weather.

Whistler and FIS officials appeared ready to give up on races there, according to ski racing insiders. So Aspen race enthusiasts hoped to score that race.

Prospects for holding the race have risen and fallen more rapidly than the snowpack this winter.

Aspen Mountain hosted men’s World Cup races for the first time in 3 1/2 years last November when the world’s best came to town for a giant slalom and a super-G.

Skico officials met with FIS representatives during the World Alpine Ski Championships in Vail during February and reported chances were slim of races returning to Aspen next season.

But Norton had a change of heart about one month later. Comments by U.S. Ski Team and FIS officials led him to believe Aspen might get races traditionally awarded to Canada.

Now signs seem to indicate otherwise, said Norton.

Park City, Utah, will likely host technical events again at the start of next season. Beaver Creek will probably be awarded speed races, said Norton.

Lake Louise appears to be the only other men’s venue in North America.

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