Where to watch professional skiers and riders this winter season
Xfinity Birds of Prey Alpine ski race will start the region's competition season from Dec. 1-3
The Rocky Mountain region has long been a treasure trove for snowsports athletes. Many of them are not only talented enough to be named to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team but are skilled enough to compete at the Winter Olympics and take home medals.
With so much talent spread out across the Western Slope, it is no surprise that the region also serves as hosts for a plethora of ski and snowboard competitions during the winter season, ranging from the developmental to the professional level.
Although the competition season will start weeks earlier, the first professional competition in Colorado will take place from Dec. 1-3 in Beaver Creek: the 2023 Xfinity Birds of Prey Alpine race.
The International Ski and Snowboard Federation World Cup event will feature elite male Alpine athletes from across the globe, who will compete in three skiing races over the course of the three-day competition.
The weekend of events will kick off with the first downhill race on Friday, Dec. 1, before athletes compete in the second downhill race on Saturday and the super-G on Sunday.
An official start list for the event has yet to be released, but last year’s competition included U.S. Alpine team members Ryan Cochran-Siegle and River Radamus. Beyond ski racing, Birds of Prey will also include music, beer tastings, ski films, parties and sponsor activation.
A few weeks after Birds of Prey, the Toyota U.S Grand Prix and Visa Big Air ski and snowboard competitions will take place from Dec. 13-16 at Copper Mountain Resort. A premiere World Cup competition, the event includes ski and snowboard halfpipe as well as ski and snowboard big air competitions.
Last year, the competition was packed with stars, with international talent as well as Summit County-based skiers and riders. Silverthorne’s Chris Corning shined bright in the men’s snowboard big air competition where he placed second overall behind Norway’s Marcus Kleveland.
Summit County’s Taylor Gold and Chase Blackwell both competed in the men’s snowboard competition with Gold finishing in fourth, while Australian Scotty James won the competition with a rare score of 99.
In the women’s competition, Summit’s Kaitlyn Adams made her debut at the world cup event where she was able to place 15th overall in the women’s big air competition.
International and locally based athletes are expected to attend the event again this year. The competition will start with snowboard big air and freeski halfpipe qualifiers on Dec. 13 and freeski big air and snowboard halfpipe qualifiers on Dec. 14.
The final two days of competition will include finals in both big air and halfpipe.
After the New Year, the U.S. Revolution Tour will make its stop at Copper Mountain Resort from Jan. 22-26. The five-day event will showcase athletes who are in the process of making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to competing at a more elite level.
The event will consist of snowboard and freeski halfpipe, slopestyle and big air events. In the past, several Summit-based athletes have competed at the event including freeskiers Evan Wischmeyer, Alex Thisted and Jay Riccomini.
The same weekend as the U.S. Revolution Tour’s stop at Copper, X Games Aspen will take place from Jan. 26-28.
Almost as prized as an Olympic medal, making the podium at the winter X Games is always a huge honor, with many professional athletes putting the accolade in their social media bios. This year’s X Games will once again be hosted at Buttermilk Aspen with athletes competing in the halfpipe, big air, slopestyle and knuckle huck competitions.
Aspen Snowmass and Aspen Mountain will host the Audi FIS World Cup from March 1-3 with Alpine athletes competing in both slalom and giant slalom. Last year’s event saw Mikaela Shiffrin’s boyfriend, Norwegian athlete Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, win the men’s downhill with Switzerland’s Marco Odermatt winning the super-G.
The season will conclude with the Winter Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort from March 8-11 and the United States of America Ski and Snowboard Association’s National Championship from March 29 to April 10.
The two competitions are mainstay winter events at Copper and are always full of jaw-dropping action from international and local talent.
Last year’s Winter Dew Tour saw Adams in the women’s snowboard streetstyle competition, Gold earning second in the men’s halfpipe and Summit residents Patti Zhou and Siddhartha Ullah making their Dew Tour debuts.
For the most up to date information of winter events, visit UsSkiAndSnowboard.org.
While I love to travel, it seems that more and more the best part of any trip I take these days is the part where I come home.