Super G race on for Aspen’s World Cup weekend
If Aspen truly likes fast women, locals should enjoy this year’s World Cup races more than those of years past. The World Cup lineup has added a super G event to the slalom and giant slalom – set to kick off Dec. 9 at Aspen Mountain – for the first time in years, said Jeff Hanle, communications director for the Aspen Skiing Co.”The last couple of years we have just had technical races, but this year we are adding a speed event as well,” Hanle said. “Anytime you have the chance to host a speed event, you do it. It always adds a little more to the weekend.”The super G event will be the first race of the weekend, set to start at 11 a.m. Friday on a course that includes Ruthie’s Run. Giant slalom races at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. highlight Saturday’s events. Two slalom races will take place at the same times on Sunday. An awards ceremony will follow each race.In typical Aspen fashion, the excitement won’t just take place on the hill. An Après Ski Street Party and public autograph signing follow the action from 2-4 p.m. Friday. A street party with live music will follow racing from 2-4 p.m. Saturday. Budweiser’s Hi-Fi Concert on downtown streets at 6:30 p.m. will be followed by fireworks on Little Nell at 7:30 p.m. The concert act has not been decided yet, Hanle said.”After the concert last year, I walked around town, and the buzz was fantastic,” Hanle said. “The skiing is only part of the package here.”The Women’s World Cup event is sixth on the schedule this season. Slovenia’s Tina Maze won the opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 22. Winternational will follow downhill and super G races in Lake Louise, Alberta, Dec. 2-4.In a joint decision of the Skico, the U.S. Skiing Association and the International Ski Federation, the event will take place close to two weeks later than in 2004. The extra time will be put to good use, Hanle said. The ski company hopes to begin snowmaking Nov. 1 to prepare for public opening at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass on Nov. 24. Two more weeks will allow for more natural snow and more time to prepare the course.”It usually comes down to the wire and there have been a few years where we’ve had a countdown,” Hanle said. “When these guys get forced into action, it always seems to get done.”Last year we kept asking when it was going to snow, and on the days of the race it snowed 3 feet. We put out a call and had 100 volunteers arrive at 6 in the morning to help clean off the course. It’s amazing what this town can do.”The excitement surrounding Winternational will be heightened by its timing, which is just before the Olympics. The 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, start Feb. 10. Since the schedule of events came out Tuesday, Hanle said he has been inundated with calls from those interested. “Because it’s an Olympic year, papers will be sending their Olympics beat reporters to cover the event,” Hanle said. “That will definitely bump up the excitement.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org Aspen WinternationalSchedule of Events:Friday, Dec. 911 a.m., race start, super G2-4 p.m., Après Ski Party, Aspen Gondola Plaza3-4 p.m., public autograph signing, Gondola PlazaSaturday10 a.m., race one start, giant slalom1 p.m., race two start, giant slalom (awards ceremony follows)2-4 p.m., Après Ski street party with live music, Gondola Plaza6 p.m., public awards ceremony, Gondola Plaza6:30-7:30 p.m., Bud Hi-Fi Concert at Hunter and Hyman7:30 p.m., fireworks on Aspen MountainSunday10 a.m., race one start, slalom1 p.m., race two start, slalom (awards ceremony follows)
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