It’s turkey, stuffing and World Cup
World Cup racing in Aspen returns to normal this year with technical races Thanksgiving weekend.Last season, the fastest women ski racers in the world took on the Aspen Mountain course Dec. 9-11, and the events included a speed event, a super G, for the first time here in several years.This year the Winternational giant slalom and slalom races are back on their traditional weekend, Nov. 25 and 26, according to a schedule the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association released Friday.The decision not to stage a super G here this year was a mutual agreement between the International Ski Federation, USSA and the Aspen Skiing Co., according to Jim Hancock, chief of race for World Cup events in Aspen.”It’s a bigger risk than we want to take, and we decided to host two events we’re confident we can put on without problems,” Hancock said.The reason for dropping the speed event boils down to timing. Snowfall in late November is less predictable than in mid-December. The fact that Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 23 means the company would have even less time than usual to prepare the mountain.Hancock said the Skico is confident it can make whatever snow is necessary to stage the technical events, which run down the lower half of Aspen Mountain. The super G, which starts two-thirds of the way up Ruthie’s Run, requires considerably more snowmaking. “In general, we’re more in favor of the December date,” Hancock said. “We’ve indicated we’re willing to host speed events at that later date.”The decision to return Aspen’s World Cup date back to Thanksgiving has to do with scheduling complexities that stretch over multiple seasons, Hancock said. He said there is a chance Aspen will be able to put on a super G in the next few years, although it is difficult now to predict what’s going to happen in early winter 2007.”We’re really happy to get races any time we can get them,” Hancock said.Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said this year’s race weekend also will likely include a concert, food and an opportunity to meet the world-class skiers.”It’ll be a full-fledged, three-day event,” he said. The final schedule and list of events will be announced later.U.S. ski areas will host nearly two dozen alpine, freestyle and snowboard World Cup events during the 2006-07 season, the USSA said.Beaver Creek will host a men’s super combined, downhill and slalom from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. The super combined is relatively new. It is a one-day event that involves one downhill and one slalom run. The Beaver Creek race will be the first World Cup combined of any format to be held for men in the United States in the 41-year history of the World Cup, according to the USSA. The women had a traditional combined – one downhill and two slalom races – at Steamboat Springs in December 1989.Dear Valley, Utah, is the site of freestyle events in the men’s and women’s moguls, aerials and dual moguls from Jan. 11-13.Lake Placid, N.Y., will host men’s and women’s aerials and moguls from Jan. 18-20. Boardercross and halfpipe events will also be at Lake Placid from March 10-11.”USSA is honored to have such strong World Cup venue partners as Aspen, Beaver Creek, Deer Valley and Lake Placid,” USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt, an Aspen native, said in a statement. “The FIS World Cup events are the face of our sport globally, and we’re proud to be able to showcase our ski and snowboard sports at such great resorts in America.”
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