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The History of Aspen Winternational

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WORLD CUP SKI RACING IN ASPEN

A Timeline of Events

At Aspen Snowmass Ski Racing runs deeps and the FIS Ski World Cup races have remained a fundamental event throughout the years as the World’s best ski racers come from all corners of the globe to compete on the technical and steep faces of Aspen Mountain.  From 1939 when the first sanctioned races took place at Aspen to this year’s 2014 Audi FIS Ski World Cup at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational, Aspen and the surrounding community have played host to the ski racing world stage for many years. Today, Aspen Snowmass not only supports up-and-coming ski racing athletes and hosts multiple ski races throughout the season, but the town and community have also been awarded the 2017 Audi FIS World Cup finals continuing the long-standing tradition of being a hub for ski racing.

  • 1939—marks the earliest sanctioned races in Aspen’s history called the Southern Rocky Mountain Downhill and Slalom Championships.
  • 1946—the start of the most consistent race series held in the early days called the Roch Cup organized by the Aspen Ski Club. The Roch Cup was named for Andre Roch (pronounced Roash), a world renowned Swiss skier, engineer and avalanche expert who designed Aspen’s Roch Run in 1937. The Roch Cup became an ancillary part of Aspen’s World Cup competition and was awarded off-and-on through 1991.
  • 1950—Aspen hosted its first big race—the Federation Internationale du Ski (FIS) World Alpine Championships thanks to the efforts of Dick Durrance and a group of ski racing advocates.
  • 1967—the World Cup circuit was born thanks to former U.S. Ski Team coach and Aspen resident Bob Beattie, French coach Honoré Bonnet and Swiss journalist Serge Lang.
  • 1968—Aspen hosted its first official World Cup attracting considerable attention and prestige. Winternational became the week-long pageant in which World Cup’s “White Circus” is still celebrated by the Aspen Community to this day. This first World Cup Aspen winners were the famous United States ski racers, Billy Kidd who took first in the slalom, and Nancy Greene who swept the podium in all three events—downhill, giant slalom and slalom.
  • 1976—the infamous Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden captured first place in the men’s slalom cinching his 1976 overall men’s World Cup title.
  • 1979—Aspen hosted a women’s only giant slalom race with Christa Kinshofer taking home first.
  • 1981—The 1981 event featured both men and women’s events. In the women’s giant slalom American skier Tamara McKinney nabbed first place as well as the World Cup GS overall title and Phil Mahre took home first place in the giant slalom.
  • 1988—this was the first women’s-only World Cup race series in Aspen that included a downhill, giant slalom and slalom competition.
  • 1989—this year saw the return of the men’s world cup to Aspen and lasted up until 1998 with the races taking place in 91’, 92’,93’, and 94’. Famous racers that came out on-top throughout the nineties included Alberto Tomba, Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Fredrik Nyberg.
  • 1998—World Cup racing returned to Aspen after a three-year hiatus with a men’s super G and slalom. The Super G course was slightly re-routed to take advantage of early-season snowfall and provide more viewing excitement while increasing racer safety. Racers called it one of the most challenging Super G courses in the world.
  • 2000—Women’s World Cup racing returned to Aspen with Michaela Dorfmeister winning the super g and Janica Kostelic taking home the top spot in the slalom.
  • 2001—in anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Aspen was awarded five races to open the World Cup for the 2001-02 season. For the first time since 1982, Aspen was set to host both the men and women’s World Cup races on Aspen Mountain, historically one of the most difficult stops on the World Cup circuit.
  • 2002—saw the return of the women’s only world cup that continues to this day.
  • 2014—Aspen Snowmass will once again host the Women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational. 


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