PARK CITY, Utah June 6, 2004 - When the FIS Alpine World Cup circuit comes stateside for its annual domestic swing this winter, two Colorado resorts - Aspen/Snowmass and Vail/Beaver Creek - will host a record seven events in two weeks, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced.
"Our World Cup strategy has been to add additional races on fewer weekends in the USA," said USSA Vice President of Events, Annette Royle. "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, and both resorts have truly stepped up their involvement in the World Cup."
Royle noted the traditional calendar featured six races in the states, including a women's giant slalom and slalom, and a men's GS, SL, super G and downhill. This year's schedule includes the same events 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. A typical U.S. World Cup is broadcast to more than 30 million international viewers in 17 different countries by more than 20 different media outlets. In addition, 2.4 million American viewers are expected to tune in to watch the events.
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 events - DH and SG - but 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 and 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."
2004-05 FIS Alpine World Cup domestic schedule:
Fri., Nov. 26 - Women's GS (Thanksgiving)
Sat., Nov. 27 - Women's SL
Sun., Nov. 28 - Women's SL
Beaver Creek (tentative)
Tues., Nov. 30 - Men's SG
Fri., Dec. 3 - Men's DH
Sat., Dec. 4 - Men's GS
Sun., Dec. 5 - Men's SL