Video screen will make lower Spring Pitch prime ground for Aspen World Cup Finals spectators
There is one specific part of Aspen Mountain that will be prime real estate for spectators at the World Cup Finals later this month.
“Most people feel that the bottom of Spring Pitch is the best” to watch the men’s and women’s downhill and super-G races, said Aspen Chief of Race Jim Hancock.
A crowd attending an Aspen Historical Society primer on ski-racing history in Aspen on Thursday night pressed Hancock for advice on spectating. About 40 people attended.
Hancock said the bottom of the Spring Pitch section of the course will offer the best of both worlds. It will allow eyeballing the racers flying down Aztec and then negotiating the steep, twisting face of Spring Pitch.
The bonus during the speed events will be a large video screen placed opposite the racecourse at lower Spring Pitch. Spectators will just have to pivot away from the course to watch the screen as racers complete the last 35 or so seconds of the races, Hancock said.
The disadvantage of lining the course up on the mountain in the past was that spectators missed the action at the finish. Now they won’t miss a thing.
This will mark the first time a video screen has been hauled up the mountain for spectators during a World Cup race on Aspen Mountain, according to Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle. He said he was unsure how big the screen will be. Hancock said it won’t be as large as the video screen at the finish area by the Lift 1A base.
The area at lower Spring Pitch will be an Audi Fan Zone, Hanle said. Audi is one of the major sponsors of the event. There will be food and drinks available for purchase. A viewing area will be roped off from both the racecourse and the ski terrain. Skiers and snowboarders will be able to access the area, which is about three-fifths the way down the course.
And the best part? It’s free.
Hancock, who has helped prepare for and run Aspen’s World Cup races for decades, said the men and women’s downhill courses will have just minor differences. The women’s course will bow out a bit more at one spot to scrub some speed.
“Basically, it’s the exact same course,” he said. The finals are the only World Cup event where the men’s and women’s courses are the same, he said. Typically, men’s courses are longer.
The men’s downhill is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 15 while the women will take the course at 11 a.m. that same day.
The women’s super-G will be at 9:30 a.m. March 16 followed by the men at 11 a.m.
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.