November 23, 2005
PARK CITY, Utah — The U.S. Ski Team begins its march to Torino this December when the alpine World Cup schedule stops in Colorado for two weeks of Olympic-level ski racing at Beaver Creek and Aspen. As the first two events on the "10 Weeks to Torino schedule, the VISA Birds of Prey and Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational kick off the most aggressive domestic event schedule ever. NBC and OLN will televise the pre-Olympic races.
The men will race super G, downhill, giant slalom and slalom Dec. 1-4 during the VISA Birds of Prey on Beaver Creek's heralded Birds of Prey course while the women will compete in super G, GS and slalom Dec. 9-11 during the Aspen Winternational.
"Beaver Creek and Aspen will be great showcases for everyone who wants to see the world's best as they get rolling into the continuous racing phase of the World Cup schedule," said Annette Royle, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association vice president of events, noting the stellar field will likely include those athletes who will race in the Olympics in February.
Besides world-class ski racing, spectators can enjoy a multitude of social events at Beaver Creek and Aspen. Food, music and live entertainment can be found daily at Beaver Creek in the Argent APrey Tent, located at the base of the Centennial Lift and open to the public.
The APrey Tent will be open from 2-7 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and from 2-5 p.m. Dec. 4. U.S. athletes will be available to sign autographs at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Beaver Creek Plaza followed by a public presentation of athletes and bib drawing at 5 p.m. On Friday at 2 p.m., PIE Entertainment recording artist Papa Chubby will play live on the main stage, and on Saturday, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas will perform at 3 p.m. The concerts will end each night with a fireworks display. A detailed schedule of events can be found online at http://beavercreek.snow.com/info/winter/wa.wc.schedule.asp.
The following week in Aspen, fans are invited to the Apres Ski Street Party from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Dec. 9-11. The Street Party will feature the Winternational Ice Festival, music, live entertainment, free snacks and beverages. On Friday, Dec. 9, U.S. women athletes will sign autographs in the Aspen Gondola Plaza. Saturday night sizzles in downtown Aspen starting with the awards ceremony, public presentation of athletes and bib draw at 6 p.m. at the corner of Hunter and Hyman. At 6:30 p.m., the Gin Blossoms take the stage as part of the Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series followed by a fireworks extravaganza on Little Nell. Also available to the public that weekend is "Dine Around the World, where Aspen's top restaurants offer great food and rink specials at select locations. For detailed schedule, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com/travelinfo/events/aspenworldcup_schedule.cfm.
During the VISA Birds of Prey races at Beaver Creek last season, Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) and Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl, CA), made U.S. ski history as they became the first American men to finish 1-2 in a World Cup race in this country. It was the fourth of Miller's seven wins during the season, en route to the men's overall and super G World Cup titles. Miller also won the downhill and SG gold medals at Worlds while Rahlves took downhill silver and GS bronze.
Multi-event threats Lindsey Kildow (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA), who each enjoyed breakout seasons last winter — Kildow with her first World Cup win and finishing sixth overall (third in super G, fifth in DH) while Mancuso collected two medals at Worlds — will look to build momentum in Aspen for the lead-up to the Olympics.
This will be the seventh time the men have raced World Cup events at Beaver Creek and the eighth time Beaver Creek's Birds of Prey course has hosted the men. Aspen, which began hosting World Cup races in 1968, will be staging its eighth series of women's races. The competition scheddules:
VISA Birds of Prey — Beaver Creek
Dec. 1 — Men's super G, 11 a.m., Birds of Prey
Dec. 2 — Men's downhill, 11 a.m., Birds of Prey
Dec. 3 — Men's GS, 11 a.m., Birds of Prey
Dec. 4 — Men's SL, 9:45 a.m., Birds of Prey
Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational — Aspen
Dec. 9 — Women's super G, 10:45 a.m., Ruthie's Run
Dec. 10 — Women's GS, 10 a.m., Ruthie's Run
Dec. 11 — Women's slalom, 10 a.m., Straw Pile
Coverage of eight of the "10 Weeks to Torino events — including all Colorado races — will air on NBC, America's Olympic network, and on OLN, the leader in action sports and outdoor adventure programming. Television schedules:
Saturday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m. ET, VISA Birds of Prey men's downhill
Saturday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m. ET, Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational women's super GOLN
Sunday, Dec. 4, 5 p.m. ET, Audi men's super G, Sirius men's GS, Sirius men's SL, Beaver Creek, CO
Sunday, Dec. 11, 5 p.m. ET, Aspen Winternational women's SG, GS, SL, Aspen, CO