There will be no World Cup racing in Aspen next year — in November 2013 — due to an International Skiing Federation (FIS) rule that will see the ladies race instead at Beaver Creek.
The annual post-Thanksgiving women’s World Cup slalom and giant slalom races will return to Aspen the following year, according to the long-range World Cup calendar.
Aspen gets skipped in November 2013 because FIS, skiing’s governing body, requires that “test events” be held at the venues for the Olympics and World Championships prior to the big show taking place, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) officials.
With Beaver Creek hosting the 2015 World Championships, it made logistical sense for next season’s women’s race in Aspen to be canceled in favor of an event in the Vail Valley, where the ladies will run a downhill course where much will be riding at the conclusion of the following ski season.
“There will be a one-year hiatus [for Aspen] unfortunately,” said USSA Vice President of Events Calum Clark.
However, the races will return to Aspen the following year, and remain here for the foreseeable future, he said.
“Classic sites are a high value for all of us,” Clark said. “Aspen is one of those sites that has solidified itself quite well as a classic site.”
Aspen is the only regular U.S. stop on the women’s World Cup tour, and the town has been hosting World Cup events since the historic World Championships in 1950, which were the first held outside of Europe.
Chris Council/Aspen Daily News
Spectators pack the stands at the base of Lift 1A to watch the 2011 World Cup race.
Meanwhile, officials are making preparations for this year’s World Cup event in Aspen, which takes place the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 24 and 25.
Dubbed the “Aspen Winternational,” the town and the Aspen Skiing Co. host a slew of events in conjunction with ski racing and the opening of ski season.
The Reverend Horton Heat, a high-energy “psychobilly” rock group, will headline a free concert that Saturday in Aspen’s gondola plaza. The SkiCo typically lands a well-known band to entertain race fans that weekend.
The second run of the slalom on Sunday, Nov. 25 will be broadcast live on NBC television. According to USSA spokesman Doug Haney, it will be the first time in at least a decade that World Cup ski racing has received live coverage on American TV.
“It’s a truly unique chance to showcase our athletes,” he said.
FIS also rejected American skiing superstar Lindsey Vonn’s request to race against the men in a Lake Louise, Alberta downhill on Nov. 24. Vonn wanted to skip the Aspen races in favor of testing her mettle against the men, who hold speed events in Canada the same weekend as the women’s technical races in Aspen. Vonn has traditionally been a better skier in the speed events than the technical events, and has never placed better than eighth in Aspen. But an FIS governing council decided to deny the request, saying in a statement that “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other and exceptions will not be made to the FIS rules.”