ASPEN, CO – The annual Aspen Winternational featuring Olympic stars Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA) received the official green light Thursday as the International Ski Federation confirmed solid snow conditions for the North American launch of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup on Thanksgiving weekend.
Racing kicks off Saturday, Nov. 27 with giant slalom followed by slalom on Sunday. Fans can catch the action with a full television broadcast package on NBC, Versus and Universal Sports featuring same-day coverage of each race.
Incredible early-season snow conditions across the Rockies catered to a top notch pre-Aspen preparation period for U.S. athletes. It also allows a rare shot for the Team to train on the race hill prior to next weekend’s races with sessions set for both Friday and Saturday.
“It’s awesome to be able to get on the hill early,” said women’s technical Head Coach Trevor Wagner. “It allows us to get a look at the terrain and give the girls some confidence on the slope before race day. With this being such an early race, it’s not easy to get the hill ready in time for us to train on it, but Aspen did a great job maximizing the natural snow to give us a few days on it.”
The women also geared up with a series of FIS sanctioned race rehearsals at Copper Mountain on Tuesday and Wednesday. Kiley Staples (Park City, CO) nabbed the giant slalom win Tuesday, while Colorado local and four-time Olympian Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) earned the slalom win ahead of Mancuso on Wednesday, then took a few powder turns to celebrate.
“It was my first win of the year and my first powder of the year,” Schleper told the Vail Daily. “Which is better is a hard call. Nothing beats a powder day, except maybe a win. It’s like cake with frosting.”
Aspen Mountain is schedule to open to the public for the season on Thanksgiving Day.
Check out the complete Aspen Winternational event schedule at www.aspensnowmass.com.