World Pro Ski Tour schedule released, opens season in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Pilot & Today
For the fourth time in as many years, the World Pro Ski Tour will be coming to Steamboat Springs as it hosts its first event of the 2023 season at Howelsen Hill from Jan. 5-7.
This year, with a slightly new look, the season is planned out for 16 total races with two for men and two for women at all four of the tour’s venues.
On top of Steamboat, the tour will take athletes to historic pro-racing venues in Bear Valley, California, as well as Taos, New Mexico. The fourth venue has yet to be announced, but it is planned to take place at a facility in the Eastern U.S.
Brand new to the tour will be the full-time addition of women competing across all four race weekends. Steamboat hosted women at its event last year, which was the first time the series had women on tour in over 20 years. This will be the first season during that span with women competing at every event.
Excited to see the expansion, World Pro Ski Tour’s VP of marketing Briar Schreiber said the addition of women will only make the race weekends more exciting and competitive.
“In this season as a whole, the World Pro Ski Tour is going to have the same amount of women’s races as men’s races,” Schreiber said. “They will be racing on the same course and for equal podium prize money.”
New for Steamboat’s event will be daytime races. In the past, the races at Howelsen have been under the lights, but because of extreme temperatures in the past, organizers determined that moving to daytime races would be more spectator friendly for those who wish to watch in person.
The Alpine Bank Junior Challenge will also be making its return to Steamboat on Jan. 6 following the day’s Super Slalom event.
Competing in the Steamboat races will be some of the world’s top skiing athletes including three-time tour champion Rob Cone, who has been the overall winner each of the last three years.
Olympian Nolan Kasper, two-time Steamboat champion Michael Ankeny and Steamboat regular Garret Driller will start off the season attempting to dethrone Cone. Tuva Norbye, who claimed the title for women’s champion on the tour last year, will also be competing.
Those who wish to watch the races online can do so at FloLive.tv or the WPST Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Spectators are encouraged to enjoy the event at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs with viewing areas available at the base of the hill and behind Howelsen Lodge.
“They race head-to-head, so it’s really fun for spectators to come and check it out,” Schreiber said. “If you haven’t seen dual racing before, it means the first athlete across the finish line wins. It doesn’t matter what their time is compared to everybody else in that same bracket.”
Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn’t win a medal and didn’t finish three of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.