After Aspen was awarded the 2017 World Cup Finals in fall 2014, reports surfaced that some International Ski Federation (FIS) officials wanted to pull the event if Aspen did not commit to certain upgrades of the Lift 1A and its base area. Now, Atle Skaardal, race director for women’s World Cup alpine ski racing, has stated that “We want to have this happen here.”
Skaardal’s recent visit to Aspen focused on working with community organizers, the Aspen Skiing Co. and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to make the 2017 World Cup Finals the best possible event. He spent four hours walking the course and base area with Skico’s vice president of sales and events, John Rigney, and other local officials. Skaardal stated that “the hill is amazing” and concluded that the courses will be challenging for competitors. He also stated that Aspen is one of 16 to 18 “classic sites” on the circuit and among the best of Ski resorts.
Despite this, Skaardal did say that the Lift 1A base area has failed to meet the World Cup’s brand standards and falls short of the “Aspen experience” he expects. It has been reported that there is “good faith” on all sides and that progress will be made to improve the chairlift and surrounding base area before the event. Skaardal concluded that, “This is already a decided case…But requirements must be filled, same as it’s always been. I am convinced that everything is going to turn out in a perfect way for everybody.”
The World Cup Finals
The annual World Cup Finals event is one of the most prestigious events on the popular alpine skiing circuit. Throughout the finals, 25 top point leaders in both men’s and women’s disciplines will compete. Each of the nine races, held over five days, will occur on the Lift 1A side of the mountain. Some of the events include downhill, super G, slalom and giant slalom. There will also be a team event. This unique and thrilling event is set to take place March 15-19, 2017.