Ski racing is taking another run at Aspen this winter.
The return of the U.S. Alpine Tech Championships was announced in a news release from Aspen Skiing Co. on Tuesday. According to the release, the last time Aspen hosted the event was 60 years ago.
The U.S. Alpine Tech Championships are scheduled for March 28-31, 2020, at Aspen Highlands and Snowmass ski areas.
“We are thrilled to bring elite ski racing back to Aspen for U.S. Alpine Tech Championships,” said Lindsay Arnold, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Director of World Cup Events, in the release. “The 2017 FIS Ski World Cup Finals were a highlight for many of our athletes, and U.S. Alpine Championships is always a great opportunity to expose our up-and-coming national talent to the likes of some of the best alpine ski racers in the world, such as double Olympic champions Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and more.”
Mark Godomsky, executive director of Aspen Valley Ski Club, added that the club’s older athletes will be able to “compete with the best in the country on their home hill” and that younger athletes will be able to “watch, interact with and be inspired by the top competitors in their sport.”
Ski racing has a long history in the valley, as Aspen hosted the first FIS alpine World Championships outside of Europe in 1950. Aspen for years was a regular stop on the World Cup circuit for both men and women. In March 2017, Aspen hosted the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals but has not seen racing of this level since that time.
“Ski racing is deeply ingrained in Aspen’s heritage and our mountains have seen ski racing triumphs from greats such as Billy Kidd, Franz Klammer, Tamara McKinney, Ingemar Stenmark, Alberto Tomba and Mikaela Shiffrin,” said John Rigney, senior vice president of Aspen Skiing Co. “We are honored to continue this storied history and look forward to providing the best possible races for the U.S. Ski Team athletes and up-and-comers vying for the honor of national champion.”
The deal also ensures the return of the races in 2022, according to the release. The Tech Championships include men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom and parallel slalom.
Aspen will also host the NASTAR Championships, a feeder program for the U.S. Ski Team, in the week leading up to the Tech Championships. The NASTAR races are set for March 24-28, 2020 and March 23-27, 2021.
According to the release, this is the first time both events will be at the same venue, "allowing the top recreational racers to have the unique opportunity to compete side-by-side with the best American alpine ski racing athletes."