Now THAT was fun!
The 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals are in the history books. We had the pleasure of watching nine thrilling races over five spectacular sunny days, with thousands of spectators enjoying everything Aspen has to offer in a fun and festive setting, and with millions looking on from around the globe. We had the good fortune to crown a very special US racer a champion, as Mikaela Shiffrin won her fourth Slalom title and became the first American to ever win the coveted Overall Crystal Globe on American soil. We witnessed greatness as Marcel Hirscher captured an unprecedented sixth consecutive Overall title. Congratulations go out to all racers on a successful season, and for earning the right to compete in Aspen this week. It was a fitting end to the 50th year of World Cup racing.
Aspen’s Organizing Committee has been working on this event for years—Deric Gunshor, Nancy Scheinkman, Jim Hancock and their teams deserve tremendous praise for their vision and execution of a fabulous community event. This event took an entire village, and literally thousands are to be thanked. The lodging community was there from the very beginning. Without their support there’s simply no way this event could have taken place in Aspen Snowmass. The City of Aspen displayed tremendous leadership in its desire to celebrate our storied racing history while putting forth a first-class experience for our guests grounded in the Aspen Idea. Nearly 700 volunteers from all over the world stepped up to put on a great race in a welcoming, committed and passionate manner. Months of preparation went into developing a race surface fit to honor the best racers in the world, which held up despite near- tropical temperatures. Praise is coming in from all over for the course crews and tireless operations team. Our colleagues at Aspen Mountain, and across all four mountains, played a critical role as well. Lastly we want to thank our sponsors for stepping up and getting behind this historic event.
I think every once in a while you realize when you’re in the midst of something special— something that will leave you and others with an indelible memory you know you’ll look back on for years to come. For me, that moment was Wednesday. Our community had waited 22 years for the return of America’s Downhill, and after years of working towards a seemingly impossible task, I was finally walking into the race arena. I merged in with the Aspen Elementary School 4th graders, singing and yelling, faces painted, waving American flags and cheering for the racers. The grandstands were packed, Aspen Mountain was mobbed and the course was lined top to bottom with crazed fans and an energy I’ve never witnessed. That evening, walking through Wagner Park and the downtown core I came across so many locals offering heartfelt congratulations and sincere gratitude. It was emotional. Somehow collectively we’d struck a chord so deep inside so many. The vibe was AMAZING! I’d never seen the community so unified in spirit and bursting with pride.
The ultimate thanks go to YOU, the entire community. Aspen is many things to many people, but above all else we are a ski town. And I wouldn’t want to live, work or play anywhere else.
Congratulations, and thank you!
JOHN RIGNEYVice President, Sales + Events | Aspen Skiing Company
2017 World Cup Finals Organizing Committee