Aspen is scheduled to host the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals Mar. 15-19, which marks the first time the event has been held in the U.S. in 20 years. Both mens and ladies competitors will take to the slopes of Aspen Mountain in the disciplines of downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and the nations team event. In addition to watching the best ski race athletes in the world, an abundance of celebratory events will take place surrounding the races.
World Cup Finals in March in Aspen will bring a frenzied, dynamic atmosphere to the resort and the entire valley, says John Rigney, Vice President of Sales & Events, Aspen Skiing Company. Its going to be sensational to watch these high-level athletes tear down Aspen Mountains challenging courses at top speeds. Maybe a once-in-a-lifetime event.Plus we get to see the best alpine racers win one of the most prestigious trophies in sportsa crystal globe. What a great honor for a great ski town.
The prestigious World Cup Finals are the season finale to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit where the top 25 racers in the World Cup standings, as well as the current Junior World Champion in each discipline, race one last time for World Cup points. Based on the season-long accumulation of World Cup points, the finals serve as the chance to solidify or win a coveted crystal globe that are presented to the overall winners in each of the four disciplines. In addition to awarding the globes for each discipline, the overall World Cup champion is presented the most sought-after crystal globe in ski racing, the overall title.
Furthermore, the event could bring U.S. Ski Team superstars Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety to the slopes of Aspen Mountain. On home soil, these top American ski racers will have the chance to nab yet another crystal globe in front of a hometown crowd making a title win in Aspen that much more momentous.
The 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals will kick-off Wednesday, Mar. 15 with the events signature race, Americas Downhill. Racers will kick-out of the start gate just below the top of Ruthies chair and quickly pick-up speed as they head towards the technical Aztec pitch. The course will then drop into Strawpile with the finish at the base of Lift 1a. Top speeds will near 75 mph. Thursday, Mar. 16 will round-out the speed events with both mens and ladies super-G. The course will start half-way down Ruthies, just above Snowbowl and then follow the same track as the downhill.
The nations team event will take place Friday, Mar. 16 on the E 5th Ave. trail with the start at the bottom of Corkscrew Gulley. This event has members from each country racing head-to-head in a dual-paneled slalom race. The team event is set-up as a bracket style, with the top competing nations ranked based on Nations Cup points at the end of the last World Cup race prior to the event. At the end of the day, there will be two teams battling for victory and two teams fighting for third. This crowd pleasing event is not to be missed during the World Cup Finals week.
Over the weekend, the racing will shift to the technical disciplines; the giant slalom and slalom. Saturday, Mar. 18 will host the mens giant slalom race and the ladies slalom race. On Sunday, Mar. 19, the schedule will swap with the ladies competing in the giant slalom and the men racing slalom. The giant slalom start will be located at the top of Spring Pitch and the slalom will begin at the top of Strawpile.
Spectator access will be available along the race courses, with the best viewing spots on Ruthies Run, Lower Roch Run, the east side of Spring Pitch and on the Summer Road, east of 5th Ave. trail.
In addition to watching the best ski race athletes in the world compete on the steep and technical faces of Aspen Mountain, the event will bring a full schedule of exciting happenings to the town of Aspen.
The World Cup International Village will be located at Wagner Park in downtown Aspen, and will include a full schedule of activities, parties, international cuisine and concerts. Each day will host a themed party taking place at Wagner Park after the official awards have been presented in the finish area.
Wednesday, Mar. 15 will kick-off the festivities with an American Pie Party that will include DJ music, a BBQ, international desserts and hot beverages. That evening, a soccer tournament will also take place at Wagner Park with the nations coaches and team members as the players. Spectators are welcome.
An Alps themed party will take place Thursday, Mar. 16 in the park that will include classic European music, dancers, German sausages, beer and more. Thursday will also premier the Bud Light Hi-Fi concert series at Wagner Park.
With St. Pattys Day on Friday, Mar. 17, the themed party of the day will pay tribute to this Holiday with plenty of Irish food and music. An additional Bud Light Hi-Fi concert will take place as well as an international teams autograph signing coupled with a public bib draw.
Saturday Mar. 18 will pay tribute to Aspens long-standing history of hosting world-class ski racing. This will entail a Crud Party that will feature honorees, Olympians and famous ski racers. The Aspen Champions Grove dedications will also take place Saturday evening, which is a tradition that commemorates the athletic achievement of each Aspen FIS Ski World Cup race winner. A Colorado Blue Spruce is planted in the victors honor as a tribute to Aspens storied legacy. A U.S. Ski Team autograph signing will also take place as well as the final Bud Light Hi-Fi concert. The evening will round-out with a fireworks display over the Little Nell trail on Aspen Mountain.
Wagner Park will also be home to the annual World Cup art submissions, including a ski boot mural with paintings from local school children as well as World Cup canvas art created by contestants.
For further event information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com/worldcupfinals.