CANCUN, Mexico (June 11, 2016) – American ski racing fans are in for another exciting season with the global alpine ski racing tour making four stops in the U.S. in 2016-17, culminating with the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals at Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass resort. The final schedule was confirmed at the annual International Ski Federation (FIS) Congress on Friday, June 10, with 16 alpine tour starts being awarded to the USA. Killington Resort, Beaver Creek Resort and Squaw Valley will each host World Cup stops before the season ends at the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen. After successfully hosting the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2015, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), in conjunction with its resort partners and the FIS, continues to help grow the visibility of alpine ski racing in America.
The World Cup Finals, taking place March 15-19 in Aspen, will feature the top 25 men and women in eight tech and speed events as well as a mixed gender team competition – the newest Olympic event. Aspen is the first U.S. resort to host World Cup Finals since 1997. Aspen, which has been an iconic stop on the tour since 1968, has invested heavily into bringing the season finale event to America, showcasing the sport in one of its most popular venues.
Bringing the World Cup back to the east for the first time since 1991, Vermont’s Killington Resort will host women’s slalom and giant slalom races in November. Beaver Creek, site of the 2015 Word Championships, will once again host the iconic Birds of Prey men’s races in December. The women will return stateside in March to race at Squaw Valley, the resort’s first World Cup since 1969.
“Aspen has been a remarkable partner in a very large scale project to bring the best ski racers in the world to the USA for an end of season festival of the sport,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “It’s an important part of our initiative to increase awareness of ski racing in America.”
“Our resort partners continue to be extremely supportive in showcasing alpine ski racing on home snow,” added Shaw. “Killington, Beaver Creek, Squaw Valley and Aspen are world-class resorts that will put on fantastic events. Many of our athletes grew up training and racing on these hills and they’re excited to have this many opportunities to ski in front of a hometown crowd.”
The 16 alpine starts are part of a total 30 World Cup events across alpine, freeskiing, freestyle and snowboarding in the USA. The USSA and NBC Sports are teaming up once again to put together an extensive TV and live streaming schedule for all of the alpine World Cups. A complete TV schedule for 2016-17 will be announced in this summer.
“With these four World Cup sites, we are taking a huge step in helping to raise the profile of alpine ski racing in America,” continued Shaw. “The engagement we saw in 2015 with the World Championships was unlike anything we’d ever seen and we expect to reach and engage with an even bigger audience this season. It’s a great time to be a ski racing fan.”
- The Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen will highlight a total of 16 U.S. World Cup events in the 2016-17 season. Nine starts will be on the calendar for the Aspen Finals.
- It is the second highest number of U.S. alpine World Cup events ever (19 events in the 1996-97 season).
- In November, Killington will host women’s slalom and giant slalom races. It is Killington’s first time hosting a World Cup and the first time the east coast has hosted a World Cup since 1991.
- Beaver Creek will host the famed Birds of Prey men’s races in December.
- In March, Squaw Valley will host its first alpine World Cup event since 1969 with women’s slalom and giant slalom races.
- The 50th World Cup season will conclude in March with the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen. It is the first time a U.S. resort has hosted World Cup Finals since 1997.
- The Aspen races will include the return of America’s Downhill.
- Coverage of all the races will be broadcast on NBC and NBCSN. A complete TV schedule will be announced this summer.
- The Audi FIS Ski World Cup debuted in the U.S. in December 1967 in Franconia, NH. Aspen has been a consistent stop on the tour for many years beginning in 1968.
Tiger Shaw, President and CEO, USSA
Aspen has been a remarkable partner in a very large scale project to bring the best ski racers in the world to the USA for an end of season festival of the sport. It’s an important part of our initiative to increase awareness of ski racing in America.
Our resort partners continue to be extremely supportive in showcasing alpine ski racing back on home snow. Killington, Beaver Creek, Squaw Valley and Aspen are world-class resorts that will put on fantastic events. Many of our athletes grew up training and racing on these hills and they’re excited to have this many opportunities to ski in front of a hometown crowd.
With these four sites, we are taking a huge step in helping to raise the profile of alpine ski racing in America. The engagement we saw in 2015 with the World Championships in Beaver Creek was unlike anything we’d ever seen and we expect to reach and engage with an even bigger audience this season. It’s a great time to be a ski racing fan.
John Rigney, Vice President, Aspen Skiing Company
Aspen is one of the world’s iconic ski resorts and a popular stop on the World Cup tour since its inception in 1968. The Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals is a major focus for Aspen Snowmass and our entire community. We’re proud to bring the world’s best ski racers to town in celebration of athletic achievement, and treat racing’s global fans to an amazing week on and off the slopes in Aspen, Colorado.
Mike Solimano, President and General Manager, Killington
Killington is an ideal venue for World Cup skiing’s return to the east coast. To be considered for this event is a tremendous honor and opportunity for Killington and the surrounding community. We plan to hold the race on our Superstar trail, located adjacent to the K-1 Express Gondola and base area. Snowmaking infrastructure on this trail received significant upgrades this summer and this November race will allow us to showcase our world-class snowmaking system. Killington is thrilled to represent the entire state of Vermont to the international ski market.
Andy Wirth, President and CEO, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
As a mountain community, we are hosting this event to inspire the next generation of ski racers. There is nothing like watching a group of young athletes standing there in the finish corral looking up and truly being motivated by the best athletes in the world. With 1,500 kids in our race program and countless others in the region, this is the stage we must set for them to achieve their goals, in ski racing or otherwise.
Mike Imhof, President and CEO, Vail Valley Foundation
We always look forward, as an organizer and a community, to the annual Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek. Our recent World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek in 2015 was an opportunity to dramatically raise the profile of alpine ski racing with record spectators and broadcast audiences. The Vail Valley Foundation and Beaver Creek Resort are proud to be a part of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup and to be kicking off an exceptional World Cup calendar with Birds of Prey this year.
Atle Skårdal, Women’s Alpine World Cup Race Coordinator, FIS
We’ll have great, exciting races at Aspen. It has been a classic downhill during the spring tour in the past. It will be good to see the men race on that hill again. In Aspen we will experience something very exciting for the sport and very memorable in terms of the event program they’re going to produce.
Everyone’s really excited about Killington. There is very active race environment in the east and why the industry has been pushing hard for years to have a World Cup race in this part of America. Squaw is probably going to be the most difficult GS on the tour next year for the ladies. It is a very technical and difficult hill, which we’re excited about. It seems to be a really keen organizing committee which is very proactive and trying to now develop something memorable for everybody.
World Cup Finals is always a highlight of the year and, with all four events and men and women at the same location, the best showcase of the sport. Having World Cup Finals in Aspen on home soil is awesome. Having friends and family there for support should add to getting that little edge on the competition.
These past few years have been huge for ski racing in the U.S. with World Champs in Vail and our World Cup in Aspen. It’s great to have Killington and Squaw coming up. I am really excited about having another World Cup weekend in the U.S. It’s no small task to host these events, but I’m so psyched that resorts are taking interest in spreading the word about our awesome sport and drumming up more excitement!
2016-17 U.S. Audi FIS Ski World Cup Schedule
Nov. 26, 2016 – Women’s Giant Slalom
Nov. 27, 2016 – Women’s Slalom
Audi Birds of Prey
Beaver Creek, CO
Dec. 2, 2016 – Men’s Downhill
Dec. 3, 2016 – Men’s Super G
Dec. 4, 2016 – Men’s Giant Slalom
Squaw Valley, CA
March 11, 2017 – Women’s Giant Slalom
March 12, 2017 – Women’s Slalom
Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals
March 15, 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Downhill
March 16, 2017 – Men’s and Women’s Super G
March 17, 2017 – Team Event
March 18, 2017 – Men’s Giant Slalom, Women’s Slalom
March 19, 2017 – Men’s Slalom, Women’s Giant Slalom