Gonna Be a Bit Racy at U.S. Resorts This Winter
Skiing’s White Circus is setting up its tents in America this winter for an extended run.
The World Cup Alpine ski circuit, which is the on-snow equivalent of Formula 1 car racing with all its attendant, speed, danger, glamour and hoopla, will, for the first time in the circuit’s more than 60-year history, have four stops in the United States over the 2022-23 season.
And the powers-that-be in U.S. ski racing are hoping Americans will embrace a sport that usually only gets some general public attention during the quadrennial Winter Olympics.
“This is a pivotal moment for skiing … in the United States,” says Sophie Goldschmidt, the president and CEO of U.S. Ski and Snowboarding, the national governing body. “(The races) will allow (American) sports fans to watch the best of the best compete on their mountains and inspire generations to come.”
The first event takes place in Vermont, where the women will compete in slalom and giant slalom for the Killington Cup on Nov. 26-27, the only time the female World Cup athletes get to race on U.S. snow this season
It’s a trophy that Mikaela Schiffrin has taken home on five previous occasions, and the American superstar is super stoked to compete there again in front of anticipated crowd of 40,000 or more
“It’s the whole atmosphere,” the four-time overall World Cup champs says of what makes racing at Killington special for her. “The hill (race courses) is good, but it’s the crowd. It’s skiing at home, and this makes it more special.”
Three for the Guys
The spotlight then turns to the male ski racers, who will have three stops in the States spread over four months.
Kicking things off will be the Birds of Prey speed events — downhill and super-G — at Beaver Creek on Dec. 2-4, followed by technical events (slalom and giant slalom) on the old Olympic arena at Palisades Tahoe on Feb. 25-26 and concluding with another couple of speed events March 3-5 on America’s Downhill course at Aspen.
And like Schiffrin, two-time U.S. Olympic team member Tommy Ford is anticipating good things on American mountains.
“It doesn’t get any better than (competing in front of) a home crowd,” he says.
But Wait, There’s More
While the Alpine World Cup circuit has had a historical tendency to hog the spotlight, it won’t be the only international game in town on U.S. snow this winter. Three other events in varying disciplines will also bring the world’s best to America.
Copper Mountain will be the site of World Cup half-pipe and big air completions for both male and female freeskiers and snowboarders on Dec. 16-17. Next, Deer Valley will host both male and female mogul and aerial specialists on Feb. 2-4 in its annual World Cup freestyle competition. And finally, Mammoth Mountain presents its annual U.S. Grand Prix for men’s and women’s half-pipe and slopestyle snowboarders on Feb. 2-4.