No decision yet on Aspen World Cup
November 30, 2007
ASPEN ” The blue banners and international flags lining Main Street and snowguns blasting near Spring Pitch seemed to indicate Aspen Mountain had been given the go-ahead to host next weekend’s races.
Not so fast.
A decision, which was expected Thursday morning, was delayed for the second time in three days, this time because of a minor communication gaffe, chief of race Jim Hancock said.
“It was slight miscommunication between us and the guys in Canada,” he added. The women’s World Cup circuit is currently in Lake Louise, Alberta. “They had the impression we’d do it Friday morning.”
Hancock met with International Ski Federation and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association officials Tuesday for Aspen Mountain’s control date ” the date, 10 days before the projected first race, when FIS representatives chart the course’s progress to determine if races are feasible. As expected, officials decided to defer their decision until Thursday ” a move that is hardly unusual, Hancock said. Lake Louise followed a similar course of action before hosting its men’s races this past weekend.
Tuesday, in an interview with The Aspen Times, Hancock said crews were focusing the bulk of their efforts on the deep hollow portion of Spring Pitch as well as the downhill start, which sits on Ruthie’s near the top of the FIS lift.
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Five inches of snowfall late Tuesday helped cover spill zones adjacent to the course, but won’t drastically affect the actual track, where hard snow is needed, Hancock said.
“We’re pretty confident, but we don’t have 100 percent of the snow we need on the hill,” Hancock said Tuesday. “I suspect we’ll need both of the next two nights to finish. … I’m never feeling 100 percent until after that last racer goes through on Sunday afternoon.”
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Hancock was “cautiously optimistic” Aspen could pull off women’s downhill, super G and slalom events on Dec. 7-9, despite sparse early season snowfall. The extra evening can do nothing but help, he said.
Officials will ride the lift at 7:45 a.m. Friday and survey the course. Hancock expects a decision by 8:30 a.m.
“We’re still very confident,” he said, “but we’ve got a ways to go.”