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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2004


Aspen, Vail get World Cup races

After Park Cityís withdrawal

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has come up with a new plan for hosting World Cup alpine ski races in the U.S., following Januaryís announcement that Park City, Utah would no longer host early-season Cup races.

When the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit comes stateside for its annual domestic swing this winter, two Colorado resortsóAspen/Snowmass and Vail/Beaver Creekówill host a record seven events in two weeks, the USSA announced Sunday from Park City, Utah.

"Our World Cup strategy has been to add additional races on fewer weekends in the USA," said USSA Vice President of Events, Annette Royle.

She said, "This calendar accomplishes the first step, increasing from six to seven calendared events. We hope to add another women's event in the future as well. Vail/Beaver Creek and Aspen/Snowmass are two outstanding, classic World Cup sites. Both resorts have truly stepped up their involvement in the World Cup."

Royle noted the traditional calendar featured six races in the U.S. generally spread out over three sites in Utah and Colorado, including a women's giant slalom and slalom, and a men's GS, SL, super giant slalom and downhill.

This year's schedule includes the same events at the two Colorado sites, as well as a second women's slalom.

NBC and the Outdoor Life Network will offer network coverage of the events, and international distribution will be included as well.

World Cup racing kicks off at Aspen/Snowmass on Friday, Nov. 26, with the women's GS on Aspen Mountain. Aspen last hosted a women's World Cup, featuring slalom and super G events, in November 2002.

"There is incredible passion for World Cup ski racing in the Aspen community, which has been dedicated in getting back into the World Cup," said Royle. "The Aspen Skiing Company has been a strong supporter and will bring great excitement to our Thanksgiving-weekend races."

The Vail Valley served as an inaugural World Cup site in 1967 and has been an annual stop on the circuit since 1983.

Vail and Beaver Creek played host to the 1989 and 1999 World Championships, as well as the 1994 and 1997 World Cup Finals. Beaver Creek's renowned Birds of Prey course, which debuted in 1997, will add two men's technical races to its traditional speed event schedule this coming winter.

"The expansion to four events is something we've talked about for several years," said Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz. "It gives us a great opportunity to develop a weeklong festival of ski racing around the World Cup."

Beaver Creek customarily has staged two World Cup eventsóDH and SGóbut will add GS and SL, representing the largest World Cup lineup ever for a U.S. World Cup site outside of the World Cup Finals. Last year, U.S. Ski Team racer Daron Rahlves won the downhill at Beaver Creek.

"The strength of the Beaver Creek organizing committee is such that we have great confidence in the success of four men's events. Beaver Creek has traditionally drawn our largest World Cup crowds. We expect that to continue," said Royle.

While the Beaver Creek changes were simply an addition of events to an existing World Cup site, USSA did an extensive search for a new site for its women's events before confirming Aspen.

"One of the most gratifying aspects of this calendar planning was that we had very strong interest from a half-dozen major resorts," Royle said. "Aspen offers us a great venue for the women's World Cup."

Here are scheduled events: At Aspen, womenís GS Nov. 26, womenís SL Nov. 27 and 28. At Beaver Creek, menís SG Nov. 30, menís DH Dec. 3, menís GS Dec. 4 and menís SL Dec. 5.

Sundayís announcement concluded a five-month search.

In January, the USSA started reviewing its World Cup strategy, looking for a new site after the announcement by Park City Mountain Resort that it could no longer host the opening early-season races.

"Park City Mountain Resort, under the leadership of the Badami and Cumming families, has been a pioneer in World Cup ski racing," said Marolt in January. "We're disappointed that Park City can no longer host races at that time of year, but we also truly understand the business decision."

Park City had been the anchor of the early-season World Cup calendar since the 1980s, showing the world that U.S. resorts had the technology to make snow early for racing and recreation.

Since the World Cup moved to a permanent opening in North America in the 1990's, North American resorts have racked up a track record of over 90% success in running events on schedule, compared to less than 60% for European sites in pre-holiday races.

Park City had been hoping for a mid-season date, but World Cup calendars are fixed for several years out. The 2004-05 World Cup calendar, for instance, was approved by the FIS on Nov. 16, 2003.

The menís and womenís schedule begins with GS in October at Solden, Austria. It concludes with the World Cup Finals March 9-13, 2004 at Lenzerheide, Switz. and includes the 2005 FIS World Championships Feb. 2-13 at Bormio, Italy.


2004-05 World Cup Alpine Schedule



Oct. 23-24 or Oct. 30-31 Menís, womenís GS Solden, Austria
Nov. 26-28 Womenís GS, SL, SL Aspen/Snowmass, Colo.
Nov. 27-28 Menís DH, SG Lake Louise, Canada
Nov. 30, Dec. 3-5 Menís SG, DH, GS, SL Vail/Beaver Creek,
Dec. 3-5 Womenís DH, SG Lake Louise, Canada
Dec. 11-12 Menís DH, GS Val díIsere, France
Dec. 11-12 Womenís SG, SL Altenmarkt, Austria
Dec. 13 Menís SL Sestriere, Italy
Dec. 17-18 Menís DH, SG Val Gardena, Italy
Dec. 18-19 Womenís DH, DH Val díIsere, Fra.
Dec. 19 Menís GS Alta Badia, Italy
Dec. 21-22 Menís GS, SL Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
Dec. 21-22 Womenís SG, GS St. Moritz, Switzerland
Dec. 28-29 Womenís GS, SL Semmering, Austria
Dec. 29 Menís DH Bormio, Italy
Jan. 8-9 Menís DH, SL Chamonix, France
Jan. 8-9 Womenís GS, SL Berchtesgaden, Germany
Jan. 14-16 Womenís DH, DH, SG Cortina díAmpezzo, Italy
Jan. 15-16 Menís DH, SL Wengen, Switzerland
Jan. 20 Womenís SL Zagreb, Croatia
Jan. 21-23 Menís DH, SG, SL Kitzbuehel, Austria
Jan. 22-23 Womenís GS, SL Maribor, Slovenia
Jan. 25 Menís SL Schladming, Austria
Feb. 18-20 Menís DH, SL Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Feb. 19-20 Womenís SG, GS Are, Sweden
Feb. 25-27 Womenís DH, SG, SL Sestriere, Italy
Feb. 26-27 Menís GS, SL Adelboden, Switzerland
March 5-6 Menís DH, SG Kvitfjell, Norway
March 9-13 World Cup Finals Lenzerheide, Switzerland


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