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The History of Aspen Winternational

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The earliest sanctioned races in Aspen’s history were the Southern Rocky Mountain Downhill and Slalom Championships of 1939, the Rocky Mountain Championships of 1940, and the National Championships of 1941. The most consistent race series held in the early days started in 1946 when The Aspen Ski Club awarded the Roch Cup to winners of downhill and slalom, combined.  The first winner of the Roch Cup was Barney McLean.

The Roch Cup was named for André 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.

In 1950, thanks to the efforts of Dick Durrance and a group of ski racing advocates, Aspen hosted its first big race — the Federation Internationale du Ski (FIS) World Alpine Championships, a major event that drew top ski racers in every discipline.

In 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, the influential columnist for L’Équipe newspaper. World Cup, a season-long series of races, provided the means of bringing consistent international ski racing to the U.S., and determining the best skiers in the world.

Aspen hosted its first World Cup in 1968, attracting considerable attention and prestige. Winternational became the week-long pageant in which World Cup’s “White Circus” is celebrated by the Aspen community.

World Cup events were held in Aspen in 1968, 1976, then from 1981 through 1989, and 1991 through 1995.

World Cup ski racing in Aspen

March 1968
Billy Kidd of Stowe, Vt., and Canadian Nancy Greene were Roch Cup winners during Aspen’s first World Cup in 1968. Greene, the 1968 Olympic giant slalom titlist, had also won the women’s equivalent of the Roch Cup, the Bingham Trophy, in 1965.  Kidd, the 1964 Olympic silver medalist in slalom, had won the Roch Cup in 1964 and ‘65

Greene’s victory in all three events during World Cup week in Aspen — downhill, slalom, giant slalom — secured her first-place standings in the World Cup point chart. Kidd, whose competitors included Jean-Claude Killy, Jimmy Huega, Bill Marolt and Spider Sabich, won the Roch Cup slalom and placed third in both the downhill and giant slalom. Though Kidd won the Roch Cup for his collective standings in Aspen, Killy, of France, won the overall World Cup.

This first World Cup to be hosted by Aspen drew the largest on-course gallery of spectators in Aspen history, estimated at up to 3,000. Famed newscaster and ski enthusiast Lowell Thomas presented the trophies at Wagner Park.

1976
Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden was the big name in Aspen for the 1976 World Cup. He easily captured first place in the men’s slalom and cinched the overall men’s World Cup title with that victory. Stenmark was noted as “faster and smoother” than anyone else on the course as he won both runs of the slalom. Stenmark’s closest competitor, American Phil Mahr, was over 1.5 seconds out. The slalom was held on Aspen Highlands’ Thunderbowl.

Lisa Marie Morerod of Switzerland won the women’s giant slalom, and with it the World Cup women’s GS championship. But Germany’s Rosi Mittermaier had wrapped up the women’s overall title the week before the Aspen race. Danielle Debernard of France finished second in both GS and downhill to finish first in the women’s combined standings in Aspen.

Franz Klammer, World Cup downhill champion and Olympic gold medalist, signed autographs and shook hands at the bottom of the Aspen Mountain downhill course after his victory there. He won on skis that had been chilled in a refrigerator, then flown by helicopter to the top of Aspen Mountain to ensure proper wax consistency.

As winner of the Roch Cup, Klammer thought the trophy was his for keeps. He brought it home to Austria, and it took the Aspen Historical Society a year to retrieve it.

The Austrian and Swiss teams captured four of the top 10 places in the downhill. America’s top finishers were Eric Wilson and Greg Jones, who placed 21st  and 22nd. Aspen racer Andy Mill, after suffering a week-long bout with the flu and two falls in practice — one that re-injured a knee — placed a disappointing 44th in a field of 45, ten seconds away from Klammer.

1981
While most of Aspen’s World Cup races were men-only, the 1981 event featured both men and women’s events.

Valeri Tsyganov of the Soviet Union won the Aspen Mountain downhill in 1981, posting the Russian team’s first-ever downhill victory in World Cup competition. Behind him came the Swiss and Austrian teams, taking the next eight places.

One of the Austrians — Harti Weirather — placed second. He had come to Aspen tied with Steve Podborski of Canada for first place in World Cup downhill standings, and his second place in Aspen gave him a five-point edge over the Canadian.

The men’s giant slalom was an even more important race, with Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden battling it out with American Phil Mahr. Mahr won the GS overall after a blistering second run, securing his first of three consecutive overall World Cup victories. The third place GS finisher was Steve Mahr, Phil’s twin brother. Aspenites Mike Farny, Chris Tache and Mark Harvey placed 29th, 30th and 34th  in the GS.

Marie Theres Nadig of Switzerland clinched the women’s downhill title, and Tamara McKinney of the U.S., after having a near collision with a snowcat during a warm-up run, won the GS.

At the GS, McKinney reportedly approached the starting line “not feeling much like racing.” Then she skied the third-fastest time in the first run, a quarter of a second behind leader Erika Hess of Switzerland. In the second run, McKinney came from behind to win the race and the World Cup GS overall. Aspen’s Beth Madsen placed 38th.

1982
The Aspen World Cup races of 1982 again featured men and women in multiple events.

Steve Podborski of Canada proved himself the fastest downhill racer in the world in 1982 by becoming the first non-European to win the World Cup downhill in combined standings.

But it was Peter Mueller of Switzerland who had the fastest downhill runs in Aspen, winning both downhills. Phil Mahr, who had his second World Cup combined sewed up by the time he hit Aspen in 1982, broke from his specialties — slalom and giant slalom — to race the downhill. He placed 18th and ninth.

In the women’s events, Marile Epple of West Germany, Erika Hess of Switzerland and Marile’s big sister Irene Epple, took the first three places in giant slalom. This trio was ranked as the top GS racers in Europe at the time.

American skiers Christin Cooper and Tamara McKinney were tripped up on the icy GS course, but Karen Lancaster of Nevada placed a strong fourth, followed by Americans Cindy Nelson, seventh, and Abbi Fisher, ninth. This moved the U.S. Women’s Team to a fourth place position in World Cup national standings.

A controversy in the men’s downhill resulted when Canada’s Ken Read stuck a pole in the icy starting ramp as he lunged out of the gate, and lost it. Read stopped, sidestepped up the ramp, retrieved his pole and asked for a new start. The World Cup jury, however, denied it. Read protested bitterly, but lost his run.

1983
American Phil Mahr was the most celebrated skier in Aspen in 1983, where he clinched his third consecutive World Cup victory. Mahr and Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden were arch rivals in the giant slalom, which Mahr won handily, placing first in the first run to Stenmark’s second, and third in the second run, to Stenmark’s seventh. “Winning is not everything,” Mahr said about his victory in Aspen. “I really just want to enjoy myself.”

While Mahr was supreme in the GS, Canada’s Todd Brooker won the men’s downhill after the race was delayed one day due to 25 inches of snow that fell during World Cup weekend. Phil Mahr placed ninth, and Ingemar Stenmark finished 13th in the GS.

The Canadians, led by Brooker, Steve Podborski and Ken Read, faced a dilemma in Aspen when the Canadian Ski Team announced it was short of funds and presented bills to the racers asking them to pay a share of the shortfall. This infuriated racers who resented the billing, especially on the eve of a major race. On top of that, Canadian Head Coach John Ritchey announced in Aspen that he would retire at the end of the season. Making matters worse, Podborski suffered a serious crash at the bottom of Spring Pitch. His resulting knee injury was said to have terminated his racing career.

1984
“Big Bad Billy Wins!” shouted the headline of the Aspen Times in 1984 as Bill Johnson, Olympic Gold Medalist, won what became known from then on as “America’s Downhill.” Despite a race delay prompted by a foot of snow, then more snow and fog on race day, Johnson reached speeds of 75 mph in a tuck on Aztec, besting Austrians Helmut Hoeflehner and Anton Steiner, who placed second and third. Fourth place went to Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland, who held an overall points lead in the World Cup downhill.

Zurbriggen went on to win the giant slalom with the fastest time in the first run and the second fastest in the second run, to beat Luxembourg’s Marc Girardelli. American Phil Mahr, in one of his last races before retirement, posted a third-place finish in the GS.

1985
Peter Mueller of Switzerland won the men’s downhill in 1985, and his Swiss teammates took five of the top ten places, inspiring the Aspen Times headline — “Swiss Blitz!” Mueller’s time shattered the course record, which he had set in 1982. American Bill Johnson, who won in 1984, threatened to boycott the downhill, but dismissed his threat later as a joke and placed 21st.

Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg won the giant slalom despite a cold drizzle, soggy course and flat light. Girardelli muscled past Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden and Max Julen and Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland to win the event.

The 1985 World Cup was heightened by a controversial ruling by the FIS that a change in starting order would be adopted for the first time in Aspen. The racers were adamantly against it since World Cup racing for the year was down to the wire. The debate raged until moments before the races began. In the end, the FIS gave in to the racers, and the traditional criteria was upheld. 

1986
The giant slalom was canceled in Aspen in 1986 after racers blocked the second gate of the course in protest of dangerous course conditions. Rain had fallen the night before the GS, and slush on top of ice was deemed a hazard to racers. Andreas Wenzel of Lichtenstein, giant slalom silver medalist in the 1980 Olympics, was one of the organizers who denounced course conditions.

Peter Mueller won the men’s downhill, skiing the course with a cast on a broken wrist. Mueller again broke the course record, having set the two preceding records in 1982 and 1985. Mueller ignored warnings from his doctor that his “season was finished,” and he raced better than ever with cast to finish in the top spot. Second place was claimed by Austrian Peter Wirneberger, and in third place was Austria’s Leonhard Stock, gold medalist in the 1980 Olympics. Doug Lewis was the highest ranking American. He placed ninth.

1987
Swiss phenomenon Pirmin Zurbriggen made history in Aspen in 1987, winning both the men’s downhill and the giant slalom. His run on the downhill was aggressive and fast, despite sloppy conditions on a warm, sunny spring day. He was followed in second and third places by Swiss teammates Daniel Mahrer and Karl Alpiger. Already the overall winner for the World Cup series, Zurbriggen cinched the downhill title in Aspen as well.

In the GS, Zurbriggen showed he was at the top of his game, winning the race by almost a one-second margin ahead of Italy’s Richard Pramatton. Zurbriggen’s teammate, Alpiger, called him the “best skier in the world” after his coup in Aspen. Responded Zurbriggen, “I’d like to be remembered as one of the great racers of all time.”

The spectator turnout on Aspen Mountain was a record-breaker. Fans crowded the course in unprecedented numbers to watch the downhill and bask in spring sunshine. Estimates by Aspen Skiing Company put the gallery at more than 4,300.

1988
This was the first women’s-only World Cup race in Aspen.

Flat light and a tough course wreaked havoc on the downhill as half a dozen racers crashed, several ending their seasons with debilitating injuries. The race was canceled less than half way through the starting order, and rescheduled the following day. With better light and visibility, Brigitte Oerth of Switzerland took first place.

The slalom was at least as demanding as the downhill for women racers, 70 percent of whom failed to complete the course. “If you stood up through this one, you had a good chance of winning,” commented Aspen’s Beth Madsen.

Only 15 racers from a large international field were able to complete two runs. When it was done, Roswitha Steiner of Austria had placed first, followed by teammates Anita Wachter and M. Maierhofer. Wachter, as overall winner, was awarded the Roch Cup, which had been dormant for nearly a decade.

1989
Three events were held for the men in 1989 — downhill, super G, giant slalom — but no events for the women. To date, this was the only World Cup in Aspen held in February.

Karl Alpiger of Switzerland won the men’s downhill, squeaking past Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg. Peter Mueller, a defending champion and course record holder, placed 10th. Girardelli, despite a second-place finish, took the overall downhill World Cup title. Former winner Bill Johnson placed 57th.

In the super G, 1988 Olympic super G bronze medalist Lars-Boerge Eriksson won his first-ever World Cup event. Marc Girardelli placed fourth. Girardelli was awarded the Roch Cup for his combined times.

Just prior to the race, Girardelli’s father, Helmut, was refused access to the racecourse because he had arrived late. Helmut became embroiled in a shouting match with a course guard, then took revenge by refusing to allow his son to attend the awards ceremony or press conference. Making matters worse, Helmut’s illegally parked car was towed during the race.

The slalom was also a stage for drama as the competition included top skiers Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden, Alberto Tomba of Italy, Marc Girardelli, and Lars Eriksson of Sweden. Heavy snow fell that morning as Girardelli led by less than two-tenths of a second over Stenmark in the first run. Tomba sat in a distant 15th place. On the second run, Tomba skied a near perfect run, ending in sixth.

When Stenmark ran the course, the crowd knew he had excelled in this, his 86th career win. Girardelli was one of the first to give Stenmark a bear hug of congratulations. On his way to the victory podium, Stenmark was serenaded by a chorus of Swedes bearing the Swedish flag. “This man is truly one of the greatest racers of all times,” announced Andy Mill to a cheering crowd.

1991
Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg managed to sew up the overall World Cup title while in Aspen in 1991. Alberta Tomba of Italy won the giant slalom to win that overall title. The Austrians and Swiss were dominant, and the young American team failed to win any points at all, either on the scoreboard or with fans.

In the men’s downhill, Peter Mueller of Switzerland placed a disappointing ninth, despite an enthusiastic crowd that hoped to cheer the returning veteran to victory. They settled instead for Franz Heinzer, Mueller’s teammate. Mueller had recently recovered from major knee surgery and said he felt “nervous” on the course. Americans AJ Kitt and Tommy Moe placed 18th and 29th .

Alberto Tomba won in the giant slalom after posting a flawless first run that gave him such a lead nobody could touch him, not even Marc Girardelli, who placed third. Tomba hammed it up in Aspen, a real crowd pleaser with a “party hearty” reputation. He mugged for the camera, fondling fruit in a suggestive manner, and he filled a water bottle with beer so he could sip suds in public without offending his sponsors.

Soft snow and a tight slalom course made mincemeat out of the entire U.S. team, plus a handful of World Cup veterans. First run leader Rudolf Nierlich of Austria hung onto his lead, despite a gatekeeper’s protest, which was ruled out after viewing Nierlich’s run on video. Girardelli placed fourth, and Tomba was sixth.

1992
Four-time winner of America’s Downhill, Peter Mueller of Switzerland, raced the Aspen Mountain course for his last time in 1992 as he was forced into retirement at age 34. Mueller, who last won Aspen’s downhill in 1986, said the Swiss Team had decided he was too old. “They’re so stupid,” said Mueller, who maintained that experience was still on his side, despite the younger, faster skiers dominating the event.

Mueller’s teammate, Daniel Mahrer, won the downhill, with Mueller in 19th place. Mahrer set a new course record, formerly held by Mueller. Leonard Stock of Austria placed fourth and Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg, seventh. Americans AJ Kitt and Tommy Moe took eighth and 47th.

The super G course this year was so fast, half the field failed to negotiate it, including Swiss racers Franz Heinzer and Marc Girardelli. Olympic gold medalist in the event, Kjetl Andre Aamodt of Norway, won.

1993
“Bitter Winternational ‘93” was how the Aspen Times headlined the controversial cancellation of America’s Downhill that year. The bitterness came when FIS officials canceled the race with American AJ Kitt holding an undisputed lead.

The call was made due to a rut that had developed at a gate, added for this year’s course, on Dago Road.  Many of the top-ranked skiers had already cleared the gate, with Kitt in the lead, when Austria’s Olympic gold medalist Patrick Ortlieb hit the rut and suffered a knee injury. Ortlieb finished the run in ninth place, but the rut caused FIS officials, led by an Austrian, to delay, then cancel, the race.

Not only did Kitt lose his chance for winning a World Cup downhill, but his teammate, Tommy Moe, had placed sixth in the first run — the first time in history two Americans had ever placed in the top six of a World Cup downhill. The U.S. Team filed a formal protest, but the FIS decision stood.

Kjetl Andre Aamodt of Norway won his second consecutive Aspen super G. Stefan Eberhartner of Austria placed second, and Swiss downhill champ Daniel Mahrer placed third, a career high for Mahrer in super G.

1994
Three new names were elevated to the list of Aspen winners in 1994 — Hannes Trinkl, Cary Mullen, and Fredrik Nyberg. Three events were held this year — a giant slalom and two downhills, the Sister City Downhill and America’s Downhill.

Hannes Trinkl of Austria won the Sister City Downhill on Aspen Mountain, a make-up race for one that had been canceled in Germany earlier in the year. He was faster than second-place Cary Mullen of Canada or third-place Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg. Trinkl’s reign was short-lived, however, as he fell in the “Airplane Turn” the following day in America’s Downhill.

That race went to the Canadian, Cary Mullen, a new North American downhill star from Banff. America’s Downhill was Mullen’s first World Cup win. He was followed in second place by Atle Skaardal of Norway, with Pietro Vitalini of Italy in third. Mullen’s teammate, Ed Podivinsky, placed fourth.

In the giant slalom, Swedish racer Fredrik Nyberg placed first, coming from behind to win the event after finishing fourth in the first run. Christian Mayer of Austria, the Olympic bronze medalist, was second, and Italy’s Alberto Tomba placed sixth.

1995
Aspen became embroiled in a major controversy in 1995 when heavy snow halted the Super G and canceled the America’s Downhill, in which American racer AJ Kitt had distinguished himself with the fastest time.

Since most of the racers — all the top-seeded competitors — had run the course before the race was canceled, it was assumed Kitt’s victory would stand. When a similar cancellation had occurred in 1993, Kitt had also been in first place and, despite a protest by the U.S. Team, was denied the victory

In 1995, the FIS on-sight jury validated the downhill and awarded Kitt the first-place win. In the aftermath of protests from France, Canada and Luxembourg, however, another FIS jury revoked Kitt’s win just three days later.

Despite the FIS ruling, Aspen Skiing Company announced they would award Kitt’s apparent victory by awarding him the Roch Cup.

The Austrian team took most of the honors by filling the winner’s podium with the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the super G, and taking first place in the slalom. Stephan Eberharter, Hermann Maier, and Christian Mayer took the first three positions in super G, and teammate Thomas Stangassinger won the slalom. France’s Sebastien Amiez and Norway’s Tom Stiansen took second and third in the slalom.

The U.S. Ski Team placed five racers in the top 30 in the super G, with Paul Casey Puckett landing the highest position in 12th place. The slalom proved more daunting for the Americans, however, who failed to place any racers in the top 30 after the first run.

Hermann “the Hermanator” Maier, an international ski-racing star, won a dubious distinction in Aspen when he and Austrian teammate Andreas Schifferer were arrested a day after the race by Aspen police for “borrowing” a bicycle and riding double down the road.

Schifferer and the Herminator ditched the bike when approached by police, and attempted to escape on foot. They were apprehended, handcuffed, taken to the Aspen police station and were turned over to an Austrian coach once charges of theft were dropped. The racers explained they had borrowed the bike only because they had no other transportation and feared they might miss their flight out of Aspen. No charges were brought against the two

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 rerouted to take advantage of early-season snowfall and provide more viewing excitement while increasing racer safety. Aspen Skiing Company also made an $800,000 investment in snowmaking enhancements to ensure prime course conditions in November. An early-season storm laid down a sufficient base of snow and the course preparation became an all-out effort that produced what race organizers dubbed a “bad-ass” course. Racers called it one of the most challenging super G courses in the world.

2000
The season’s first women’s speed event brought more than 100 women racers representing 24 countries to compete in super G and slalom races. More than 4,000 people gathered over the Thanksgiving weekend to cheer on the racers. 

American racer Jonna Mendes surprised the field by coming in 13th on what is widely considered the most challenging super G course on the World Cup circuit. On a pristine, sunny winter day, Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister took first followed by France’s Regine Cavagnoud in second and Switzerland’s Corinne Rey Bellet in third.

Dorfmeister mastered the course, finishing just tenths of a second ahead of the French runner up. The U.S. showing included four women in addition to Mendes of Heavenly, Calif. Other U.S. finishes included two Coloradans, Caroline Lalive of Steamboat who finished 19th and Winter Park’s Alison Powers at 49th out of a field of 64 racers.

Janica Kostelic of Croatia won the slalom when she edged out Martina Ertl of Germany by .84 seconds.  Ertl, came up from sixth place after the first run to take second place overall.  Kristina Koznick from Minnesota finished third.

Koznick, who also finished third in the qualifying run, wowed the crowds with a strong performance through the course’s 52 gates.US racer Sarah Schleper, who earned her first top ten World Cup finishes during the 1999/2000 season, also skied two strong runs, igniting the crowds.  She finished 12th overall.

2001
In anticipation of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Aspen was awarded five races to open the World Cup for the 2001-2002 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 featuring more than 200 of the world’s top ranked alpine technical racers representing 24 countries. Aspen had never run five different races during Winternational, a task rare for any World Cup venue in five days.  Aspen’s World Cup races were considered especially important that season as they could be a testament to how well prepared the U.S. men’s team was for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Early season snow conditions and unseasonably balmy weather caused a re-routing of the women’s races but around-the-clock work by snowmakers, race crews and the Organizing Committee delivered successful men’s slalom races and a weekend of festive activities around town.

On day one, in an unprecedented performance, Croatia’s Ivica Kostelic amazed the grandstand-packed crowd to win the slalom. Kostelic, the No. 64 seed to begin the race, made history as the first slalom racer to win after being seeded that low.

Italy’s Giorgio Rocca finished second and reigning world slalom champion Mario Matt, of Austria, came in third.

The U.S. men’s alpine team also fared well, sending three racers into the second run.  Unfortunately, each racer caught an edge making them unable to qualify for a podium finish.  Aspen’s Casey Puckett, a crowd favorite, placed 14th despite nearly crashing in both runs.

For the second slalom race, in what was the best performance by an American skier in a world Cup men’s slalom since 1988, Miller won a World Cup silver in front of a Aspen crowd chanting, “Bode, Bode”.  Matt took the gold by only six tenths of a second.

Miller’s silver performance is the highest U.S. placing since Felix McGrath came in second to the famed Italian Alberto Tomba in Sweden in 1988.  No. U.S. skier has placed in the top three during World Cup men’s slalom races since.

2002
The fastest women on skis returned to Aspen/Snowmass for two days of racing at the 2002 Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational. A super G and a slalom were held on Aspen Mountain in front of a loud and spirited crowd. Conditions were excellent, as more than 100 inches of snow had fallen prior to the race.

The weekend kicked off with the super G. Germany’s Hilde Gerg proved why she is the reigning super G champion, holding off Janica Kostelic of Croatia by a slim six one-hundredth of a second, as the women opened the World Cup speed season.

It was also a very productive day for the U.S. Ski Team placing three skiers among the top ten including Kirsten Clark, who finished in fourth position just seventeen-hundredths of a second from the win. She was joined in the top ten by Caroline Lalive in ninth and Johnna Mendes in tenth.

In the slalom, Sweden’s Anja Paerson wowed the crowds with a strong performance through the course’s 57 gates, edging out Olympic gold medallist Janica Kostelic of Croatia by forty one-hundredths of a second. Paerson went on to win the overall World Cup points title.

Paerson, 21, found the extra gear to move past Kostelic in the second run. The Croatian recorded the fastest time in the first run by seventeen-hundredths of a second. The Austrians made their presence known once again with strong third and fourth place finishes. Marlies Schild skied two strong runs, igniting the crowds with her third place finish.

2004
Aspen/Snowmass hosted three great days of racing over Thanksgiving weekend, and almost three feet of snow fell during the event.

Tanja Poutianen of Finland took the gold in the Giant Slalom.  Her winning time of 2:12:49 was a slim nine one-hundredths of a second faster than second place winner, and defending World Cup champion Anja Paerson of Sweden. Janica Kostelic of Croatia took third with her best showing since her season-ending injury last year. 

On day two, the same three women returned to the podium. Kostelic came back and took the gold in the first of two Ladies Slalom races. Her winning time of 1:43:70 was a monumental margin of victory of 1:27 seconds over second place winner, defending World Cup champion Anja Paerson. Tanja Poutiainen took third with a total time of 1:45:02.

On Sunday, in the second slalom, Tanja Poutiainen took her second gold of the weekend. Her winning time of 1:50:77 was another monumental margin of victory of 1:21 seconds over second place winner, Italy’s Manuela Moelgg. In third place, America’s Kristina Koznick put together two impressive runs to fight her way on to the podium. 

2005
The best women ski racers in the world gathered in Aspen/Snowmass this year for three races, a super G, giant slalom and slalom, as the women geared up for the Olympic games just a few weeks away.

On day one, Nadia Styger of Switzerland bested all challengers in super G, beating out Austrians Michaela Dorfmeister and Andrea Fischbacher. Her winning time of 1:13:77 was one tenth of a second ahead of Dorfmeister and 24 one hundredths of a second faster than Fischbacher. Kirsten Clark was the top U.S. finisher in 5th.

On Saturday, Maria Jose Rienda of took the gold over Sweden’s Anja Paerson, and Austria’s Kathrin Zettel, who took second and third respectively. Rienda was the last racer on course after posting the fastest first run, and charged hard to take the victory. Her winning time of 1:57:17 was three tenths of a second ahead of Paerson and 36 one hundredths of a second faster than Zettel. Julia Mancuso was the top U.S. and placed 12th.

On the final day of racing, Sweden’s Anja Paerson overcame a deficit of more than one second on Janica Kostelic of Croatia to capture gold in the slalom. Kathrin Zettel of Austria captured her second bronze in as many days. Paerson’s combined time for the two runs was 1:36:01, a slim three one hundredths of a second faster than Kostelic, and a third of a second faster than Zettel. Kristina Koznick was the top U.S. skier in 14th place.  Julia Mancuso placed 19th and Lindsey Kildow placed 30th.

2007
Nicole Hosp of Austria was the fastest woman down the course in both runs to capture first place in the Sirius Satellite Radio Aspen Winternational FIS World Cup Slalom on Aspen Mountain today.  Her combined two-run time of 1:43:18 was eight-tenths of a second faster than her nearest competitor.

Austrian teammate Nicole Hosp was second with a combined time of 1:43:98, and Therese Borssen of Sweden captured third slightly more than a second back at 1:44.25.

2008
First time podium finisher, Tessa Worley bested the world’s top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 2:12:86 (two minutes and twelve point eighty-six seconds) to win the Giant Slalom in the 2008 Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup. Worley was twenty-eight one hundreds of a second faster than the second place finisher.

Aspen/Snowmass received nearly a foot of snow in the 48 hours leading up to the race and the snow continued to fall throughout the day.  Tanja Poutiainen of Finland placed second with a combined time of 2:13:14 (two minutes and thirteen point fourteen seconds) and Elizabeth Goergl from Austria was third in 2:13:57 (two minutes and thirteen point fifty-seven seconds).

On the second day of competition Sarka Zahrobska bested the world’s top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 1:39.32 (one minute and thirty-nine point thirty-two seconds) to win the Slalom in the 2008 Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup. Zahrobska was twenty- three hundreds of a second faster than the second place finisher.

Despite continued snow throughout the weekend, the race crew was able to once again prepare a technical and fast slalom course.  With over a foot of snow in the last 72 hours, and winds roaring up to 55 miles an hour over the course, the racers held there own and all completed.

Although she had the fastest run in the second round, Nicole Hosp of Austria still finished second with a time of 1:39:55.  Tanja Poutiainen of Finland placed third with a combined time of 1:40:29 (one minute and forty point twenty-nine seconds) and Lindsey Vonn from USA fell to fourth with a time of 1:40.73 (one minute and forty point seventy-three seconds).

2009
Kathrin Hoelzl of Germany bested the world’s top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 2:09:63 (two minutes and nine point sixty-three seconds) to win the Giant Slalom in the 2009 Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup. Hoelzl was twenty-four one hundreds of a second faster than the second place finisher.

Kathrin Zettel of Austria placed second with a combined time of 2:09:87 (two minutes and nine point eighty-seven seconds) and Federica Brignone from Italy was third in 2:10:76 (two minutes and ten point seventy-six seconds).

Julia Mancuso was the top American finishing thirteenth. Americans Sarah Schleper and Megan McJames also qualified for the second run. Schleper finished 23rd and McJames did not finish the second run.

“The surface was perfect for me,” says Hoelzl.  “Last year I did not ski so well here, but this year was different.” With the victory Hoezl vaults to second place in the FIS Giant Slalom standings with 136 points. Zettel sits at the top of the GS standings with 160 points.

The following day, Sarka Zahrobska bested the world’s top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 1:42.45 (one minute and fourty-two point fourty-five seconds) to win the Slalom in the 2009 Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup. Zahrobska was fifty-eight hundreds of a second faster than the second place finisher.

Under clear blue sunny skies, the race crew was able to once again prepare a technical and fast slalom course.  The course was deemed incredibly technical and challenging and gave the women a ‘run for their money’.  Although she had the fastest run in the second round, Marlies Schild of Austria still finished second with a time of 1:44:03.

Kathrin Zettel of Austria placed third with a combined time of 1:44:22 (one minute and forty-four point twenty-two seconds). Lindsey Vonn from USA hopeful didn’t make it to the second run as she did not qualify after the first run. No Americans made it to the round.

Over $100,000 was given out after the slalom races and the same was divvied out to GS winners as well. 

“It was a very fast course and it was hard,” says Zahrobska.  “This is my first time winning and I’m glad it was here on this difficult course.  It was so nice to know all my training worked. ”

2010
Tessa Worley bested the world’s top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 2:06.81 (two minutes and six point eighty one seconds) to win the Giant Slalom in the 2010 Visa Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup. Worley was only one one-hundredth of a second faster than the second place finisher and Rebensburg was only one one-hundredth of a second faster than Hoelzl.

The German technical racers were once again very strong with Vicktoria Rebensburg finishing second with a combined time of 2:06.82 (two minutes and six point eighty-two seconds) and Kathrin Hoelzl finishing third with a combined time of 2:06:83. (two minutes and six point eighty-three seconds).

Americans Julia Mancuso and Sarah Schleper both qualified for the second run. Mancuso finished 8th overall with a combined time of 2:07.51 and Schleper was 18th with a combined time of 2:08.80. Defending overall World Cup champion, Lindsey Vonn, did not make it to the second round.

“This is a technical course so that suits me well. I like when it is a pretty difficult slope and Aspen is one of the most difficult for the girls,” Worley said. “I think the snow this year was very well prepared and I did really actually have fun today.”

Maria Pietilae-Holmner from Sweden bested the world's top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 1:46.19 (one minute and forty-six point nineteen seconds) to win the Slalom in the 2010 Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women's Alpine World Cup. Pietilae-Holmner was sixty-eight hundredths of a second faster than the second place finisher.
 
Both in their second runs, Pietilae-Holmner and Riesch had the two overall fastest runs in the competition.

Cloudy skies covered the course the next day making conditions trying and tough. The race crew was able to once again prepare a technical and fast slalom course and deemed incredibly technical and challenging. USA's Lindsey Vonn placed 8th overall with a combined time of 1:47.63 (one minute and forty seven point sixty-three).
 
Maria Pietilae-Holmner, "I like the snow, it's pretty technical, I like the terrain. The GS course was pretty tight and snow was gripping. I have had a lot of places but not a lot of podiums, and today I just wanted to ski and not think too much."
 
Over $100,000 was given out after today's races and the same was divvied out to yesterday's winners as well.

2011
Viktoria Rebensburg bested the world’s top female skiers completing the challenging course with a combined time of 2:11.25 (two minutes and eleven point twenty five seconds) to win the Giant Slalom in the 2011 Nature Valley Aspen Winternational Audi FIS Women’s Alpine World Cup.

Rebensburg was thirty-three one-hundredth of a second faster than the second place finisher Austrian Elisabeth Goergl and fourty-four one-hundredth of a second faster than American Julia Mancuso. “For me this is the most difficult giant slalom on the World Cup, but the piste was perfect and the course suits my style,” said winner Rebensburg.

American Julia Mancuso, Squaw Valley, CA finished third, the first American on the podium in Aspen since 2004 when Kristina Koznick finished third in the slalom. American Lindsey Vonn finished twelfth.

“It’s impressive to see how Aspen, as a community, supports this race,” said Mancuso.

The next day, Marlies Schild from Austria bested the world's top female skiers completing the course with a combined time of 1:43.72 to win the Slalom in the 2011 Aspen Nature Valley Winternational Slalom in Aspen, Colorado. Schilds was one-second and one-nineteenth hundredths second faster than Pietilae-Holmner who placed second with a final time of 1:44.91and Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany with a final time of 1:45.68.

Sunny skies covered the course all day making conditions amazing.  The race crew was able to once again prepare a technical and fast slalom course which was deemed incredibly technical and challenging. USA's 16 year-old Mikaela Shiffrin placed 8th with a final time of 1:47.03 overall.
 
Maria Pietilae-Holmner, "I like the snow, it's pretty technical, I like the terrain. The GS course was pretty tight and snow was gripping. I have had a lot of places but not a lot of podiums, and today I just wanted to ski and not think too much."  Over $100,000 was given out after today's races and the same was divvied out to yesterday's winners as well.

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