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Lots of women and free beer

Catherine Lutz

This weekend, if you go out to Aspen Highlands, you’ll see something unusual. No, it has nothing to do with the bowl or any additional terrain or dropped ropes.Go lower down on the mountain, Thunderbowl actually, and check out the Town Race Series slalom course on Saturday and Sunday … and you’ll see lots of chicks.This season, the local alpine racing series has better female participation than it’s had for many, many years. In the opening giant slalom race of the season two weeks ago, five women competed in the advanced division on Saturday; an unprecedented 14 raced in the Sunday rec league. The advanced division even has a women’s team, the Fast Times (shameless plug: It’s The Aspen Times-sponsored team that I race on).Around here, alpine racing can be somewhat daunting, as both leagues are filled with guys who maybe take it a little too seriously. Some men in the advanced league are former real ski racers; others just like to think they could have made it big someday. And trust me, it isn’t exactly fun when paunchy men in speed suits get frustrated.But actually, most of the time everyone’s in a great mood. This year’s motto for the race series: “It’s a party with a racing theme” hits the mark. We’re competing against one another but encouraging one another as well. It’s just a great time to be out on the hill, having a good time, with a similar goal in mind (whether it’s to better your time or slaughter your nemesis). There’s free beer too! And now that the estrogen/testosterone balance is a little more even, it’s even better.The slalom starts at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. (Something’s going on at Buttermilk, too, this weekend, but hey, who wants to deal with that zoo?) Four more technical races in each division take place this season: giant slaloms on Feb. 4-5 and March 25-26, and slaloms March 11-12, and April 1-2. The super G and Town Downhill are Feb. 10-12 at Tiehack.


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