World Cup races can't get to Aspen fast enough

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenNovember 18, 2011
It's not often the crowd goes wild before a race even starts.

But that's what's playing out in Aspen where a winter wonderland already awaits the world's fastest women on skis for World Cup racing on Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 26-27. Race course officials — and more than a few business owners — are rejoicing over the snowy spectacle on Aspen Mountain.
Lindsey Vonn training at Golden Peak in Vail.
Via USSA


For the last decade, the International Ski Federation and the Aspen Skiing Co. have typically kept their fingers crossed as the annual women's Nature Valley Aspen Winternational approached. One year there were even wildflowers popping up on Aspen Mountain just days before the races had been scheduled.

This year there is enough snow to host the races at the word “go.”

That's welcome news for fans of U.S. racing stars like Lindsey Vonn, who earlier this month watched the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom races in Levi, Finland, get canceled due to lack of snow. Now Aspen officials are inviting the U.S. Ski Team to train on the Aspen Mountain course a week early.

The team on Tuesday broke in the new U.S. Ski Team Speed Center in Copper Mountain. The new training digs in Copper are world class, featuring 87 snowblowers that cover a two-mile course where skiers hit speeds of 75 mph as they drop 2,300 feet in elevation. It is being hailed as the only full-length downhill center on earth for racers to train in the weeks before the Alpine speed races get moving.

The U.S. Ski Team has also been training at Vail's Golden Peak. The Audi Birds of Prey men's World Cup races are set for Dec. 2-4 in nearby Beaver Creek, where cold temperatures and snow also abound.

Aspen has a long tradition of ski racing and has been home to legends of the sport like the late Dick Dorworth, who was the world speed record holder, an Aspen ski school director and a U.S. Ski Team coach, not to mention an author of more than one book on skiing. His name will be enshrined on the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame Honor Roll with the Class of 2011 at a large ceremony in April.

World Cup races in Aspen attract healthy crowds and create a vibrant atmosphere to usher in the opening of the ski season. Aspen Mountain is set to open on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to all the early snow Snowmass will be opening five days earlier. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk open on Dec. 10.


This story first appeared on Inspirato.



Follow Troy Hooper on Twitter


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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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