worldcup_podium08_photo-by-daniel-bayer1

Photo: Daniel Bayer

Olympic Preview slated for 2009 Aspen Winternational Women’s FIS Alpine World Cup

Snowmass and Aspen Mountain to open on Thanksgiving, November 26, 2009

Aspen/Snowmass, Colo., August 4, 2009 – This winter will mark six consecutive seasons of women’s World Cup racing in Aspen as the Aspen Winternational takes place Thanksgiving weekend. It will be the only U.S. World Cup stop for two-time World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), reigning Olympic giant slalom gold medalist Julia Mancuso (Olympic Valley, CA) and the U.S. Ski Team prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Ski racing action opens on Saturday, November 28 with giant slalom followed by slalom on Sunday, November 29, but festivities will be planned throughout the week beginning on Thanksgiving Day.  The first Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert of the season (band to be announced at a later date) is scheduled for Saturday evening at the base of Aspen Mountain.  Snowmass and Aspen Mountain are scheduled to open for skiing and riding on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 2009.

“We are really pleased with the long term partnership we have with Aspen,” said Calum Clark, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Vice President Events. “It is a massive undertaking to prepare a World Cup slope for Thanksgiving weekend, but Aspen has always produced incredible snow conditions for what truly is a world class event.”

“Aspen has a great history of World Cup racing going back to the origins of the series,” said Clark. “The athletes love coming here and experiencing the great enthusiasm of this historic community.”

While this winter will mark the sixth consecutive winter of World Cup racing at Aspen, the town’s storied World Cup history began in 1968, when the former mining town hosted its first World Cup race in only the second season of the tour. However, Aspen’s roots in ski racing date back to 1939 when the mountain held the earliest sanctioned races. Later, thanks to the efforts of local skiing legend Dick Durrance, Aspen hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 1950.

“Aspen Winternational is a true backbone event for our community,” said John Rigney, Aspen Skiing Company Vice President of Sales and Events. “The tremendous community support we receive is vital to the success of World Cup.  The races and surrounding events, in turn, are vital to the overall success of our season. Nearly 10 million fans watch the Aspen Winternational live in Europe. There is no better message to these potential visitors and the rest of the world that Aspen/Snowmass has snow and is open for skiing.  Plus, it’s just a fun kickoff to our season.”

Photo: Paul Morrison

Photo: Paul Morrison

Not only do the people of Aspen embrace the World Cup, but the athletes love Aspen. The relaxed setting provides a perfect venue for U.S. Ski Team athletes to spend the holiday with their families. International racers love it too as it gives them a great opportunity to work on some pre Christmas shopping.

“Aspen is such an incredible venue for racing,” said Vonn, who became the most successful female skier in U.S. history last season. “The crowd there is always so supportive of all racers. I love seeing all the young racers with posters. We get such a boost racing in front of a hometown crowd. I’m hoping Vancouver feels just like Aspen.”

Last season, Vonn was fourth in both slalom and giant slalom at Aspen while racing with a knee injury. The reigning World Champion in downhill and super G has World Cup wins in all disciplines except giant slalom.

“I was really hoping to get a podium at Aspen last winter and hopefully I can make it happen this year,” said Vonn. “I feel like my slalom is really good after last season and I’m going to do some more giant slalom training this summer with the goal of scratching a GS podium off my ‘to do’ list before the Olympics.”

World Cup racing begins October 24 with the annual giant slalom in Soelden, Austria followed by a slalom race in Levi, Finland before swinging to North America with the Aspen Winternational.

For more information about Aspen/Snowmass events please visit www.aspensnowmass.com <http://www.aspensnowmass.com/>  or call 1-800-525-6200.

Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk – as well as the award-winning Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass. The area offers unparalleled nightlife and off-slope activities as well. Aspen/Snowmass is accessible by two of the most convenient airports in the mountains – Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) (3 miles from Aspen) and Eagle County Airport (EGE) (70 miles from Aspen). For more information on Aspen Skiing Company, please call 800-525-6200 or 970-925-1220, or visit the company’s website at www.aspensnowmass.com <http://www.aspensnowmass.com/> .

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