Elite Racing Returns to Squaw Valley
For the first time in nearly half a century, some of the world’s top alpine ski racers will descend on Squaw Valley for a World Cup event this weekend, March 10-11.
Not since the winter of 1968-69 have the athletes of the so-called White Circus competed at the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. This time around, American Mikaela Schiffrin will lead a contingent of international female racers into Friday’s giant slalom and Saturday’s slalom events.
Schiffrin, the Vail resident who just last month won her third straight World Championships slalom title in Switzerland and has won five of six World Cup slaloms contested this season, currently leads the circuit’s slalom standings by 145 points over Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzolova, and she would probably clinch the title with a podium finish at Squaw.
Overall title in sight
Schiffrin also tops the race for the overall title, with a 122-point edge over Slovenian Ilya Stuhec and a 300-point bulge over Switzerland’s Lara Gut, a couple of speed-skiing specialists (downhill and super G), but she won’t be able grab that title until the World Cup Finals are shaken out in Aspen the week of March 13-19.
Another trophy in Schiffrin’s sights is the giant slalom title. She is second to Tessa Worley in that event, trailing the Frenchwoman by 120 points, and could gain ground on Worley on the fast and technical course on Squaw’s Red Dog run, which is also the arena for the slalom competition.
Racing for a cause
Also on the docket for the weekend is the Toyota Ski Pro-Am, a benefit for the Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit focused on clean water, and Protect Our Winters, which is attempting to mobilize the outdoor sports community toward positive climate action.
The Pro-Am consists of on- and off-snow activities, including testing the copious amounts of snow currently gracing the flanks of Squaw before the lifts officially open, VIP viewing seats for the women’s World Cup races, the Forever Blue fundraising gala at the Resort at Squaw Creek on Saturday night, and, of course, Sunday’s main attraction: head-to-head racing with ski legends, celebrities and other luminaries.
Details on participating in the Toyota Ski Pro-Am, which has a $2,500 entry fee, can be found at squawalpine.com/events-things-do/toyota-ski-proam.