Early arrivals prep for Aspen Winternational | AspenTimes.com

Early arrivals prep for Aspen Winternational

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

A skier with the U.S. Ski Team takes a practice run at Aspen Mountain on Friday. The racers are preparing for the Aspen Winternational and World Cup races next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Early arrivals are training in Aspen for next week's Aspen Winternational women's World Cup races.

Members of the U.S. Ski Team checked out the conditions on the race courses for the second day in a row Saturday.

The U.S. racers, including three-time World Cup overall slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin of Vail, skied on Spring Pitch, down the road to Strawpile and on to the finish area at the base of Lift 1A.

The American racers took advantage of the final window that skiers are allowed on a World Cup course.

The slopes now will be closed until the Aspen Winternational's opening race, the women's giant slalom on Friday.

First run will start at 10 a.m.; second run will go at 1 p.m.

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Friday also will mark the official kickoff party for the World Cup festivities in Aspen

The gathering at the Limelight Hotel in downtown Aspen is free and open to the public, starting at 5:30 p.m.

There will be an autograph-signing session with the U.S Ski Team.

And at 6:45 p.m. Friday at the Limelight, there will be a public bib draw for the slalom races set for Saturday and Sunday at Aspen Mountain.

Several other international teams, including the Norwegians and the Swedes, also arrived in Aspen early. They are training at the Stapleton Training Center at Aspen Highlands, the Aspen Valley Ski Club facility on Golden Horn and Thunderbowl.

Teams renting lane space at the Stapleton Training Center this week will include the Norwegian men's technical team.

They're coming to Highlands for training because of a lack of snow in Europe, even though there's not a men's World Cup slalom or GS in North America this year.

dstrfode@aspentimes.com