World Pro Ski Tour returns to Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill during Winter Carnival
Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Last year, the World Pro Ski Tour hit peak excitement, drawing large crowds to Howelsen Hill Ski Area as Olympians Ted Ligety and Phil Brown took on local athletes in a dual slalom race for the Moose Barrows Trophy.
The World Pro Ski Tour is coming back to Howelsen this weekend for not one, but two races.
The City of Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival Cup is a brand new race, while the second race will be for the Moose Barrows Trophy, which Robert Cone won last year.
Both races will feature a field of pros but also are open to any contender who wants to test their mettle against the best in the dual style.
“We had a big uptick last year in bringing the World Pro Ski Tour back in a new fashion,” said tour Director of Marketing Briar Schreiber. “So, it’s super important for us to keep the athletes going, keep them racing. … It’s important for us to give the athletes something to race for.”
The City of Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival Cup will take place Saturday and the Moose Barrows Trophy race will take place Monday. A full schedule can be found at worldproskitour.com.
As of Monday, there were still slots available to fill the 32 minimum slots in the Barrows race.
The World Pro Ski Tour wants to have as many races as possible, while limiting travel, so having two races in a weekend is an efficient way to do that.
“It makes sense to do it when we have an enthusiastic partner on board,” Schreiber said.
Meanwhile, a lot of other resorts are larger and limiting events, including Steamboat Resort. So, the racers will be taking advantage of this weekend.
For the skiers, Howelsen offers an opportunity few have enjoyed in the pandemic — live competition.
With an expensive sport like professional skiing that also requires travel, competition has been difficult and full of barriers. For some, the World Pro Ski Tour is their only chance to race and potentially see some money for winning.
Right now, the two races are the only ones guaranteed on the 2021 World Pro Ski Tour schedule. If others are canceled, the tour may return to Howelsen Hill.
No crowds allowed
Crowds are prohibited at all races, but the World Pro Ski Tour has made it easy for people to watch at home.
All races except for the pro race finals will be on the the tour’s website, YouTube, Facebook, FloLive.Tv, Ski Racing Online, Daily Motion and Mountain TV. The finals will only be available through FloLive.TV or on Mountain TV.
When Saturday’s race concludes, the cameras will keep rolling to broadcast the Winter Carnival fireworks, scheduled for 8 p.m.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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