The Austrian resorts of Soelden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl were announced as a U.S. Ski Team partner Friday afternoon during a special event in downtown Innsbruck that featured Olympic champions Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA).
The three-year agreement – announced one week prior to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener in Soelden – names the resort as the official European Training base for the men’s alpine through 2014, including lodging for athletes and athletic staff. It also includes logo placements on Spyder uniform turtlenecks: Soelden for men and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl for women alpine athletes.
“Soelden has a successful history of hosting World Cup races and therefore has all the experience necessary to produce high caliber training venues,” said U.S. Ski Team Alpine Director Patrick Riml. “Those venues will support the U.S. Ski Team’s continued World Cup success and aid in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.”
The Oct. 22-23 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener will mark the 14th season that Soelden has hosted the fall kick-off. U.S. Ski Team athletes have experienced incredible success during that period with Miller, Ligety and Mancuso owning World Cup podiums from Soelden.
“We look forward to supporting this strong team,” said Oliver Schwarz, Oetztal Tourism Director. “It’s easy to identify 100 percent with the athletes and coaches of the U.S. Ski Team. They embody what Soelden and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl stand for – sport, lifestyle and entertainment.”
Tucked high in the Oetztal valley, Soelden is a quick hour drive to Innsbruck and conveniently located within close proximity to numerous Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tour stops across Europe. Comprised of three peaks over 3000 meters, Soelden boasts some of the most extensive skiable acreage in Europe. One step higher – Obergurgl-Hochgurgl offers ski in, ski out accommodation from mid November to early May.
“The mentality of Soelden is about being active and having fun and that’s a perfect fit for me and for our team,” said Miller, a two-time World Cup overall champion and Olympic gold medalist. “Plus the amount of skiable terrain in Soelden is unbelievable, which equates to any number of quality training opportunities and amazing freeskiing.”
The 2012 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season opens Saturday, Oct. 22 with women’s giant slalom followed my men’s giant slalom on Oct. 23. Miller, Ligety, Vonn and Mancuso will be among 12 starters for the U.S. Ski Team.