Women’s World Cup races a go in Aspen | VailDaily.com

Women’s World Cup races a go in Aspen

Jon Maletz
Pitkin County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Jim Paussa/Aspen TimesCrews work Thursday afternoon to set up for World Cup racing on Aspen Mountain. A decision on whether the Dec. 7-9 races have the green light is expected Friday morning.

ASPEN, Colorado ” Jim Hancock finally received the words he’s been so eager to hear: The return of America’s Downhill on Aspen Mountain is a go.

Hancock, the Aspen Winternational’s chief of race, skied the Ruthie’s course with International Ski Federation and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association officials early Friday. Next weekend’s downhill ” the first on Ajax since 1995 and the first for women here since 1988 ” plus super G and a slalom events, were confirmed shortly thereafter.

The downhill is scheduled Friday, Dec. 7; the super G will run Saturday, Dec. 8 and the slalom is Sunday, Dec. 9.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hancock said. “I don’t think anyone here the last couple of days wasn’t confident, but it’s nice to have the official word. … It’s good for moral for everybody to know that their hard work paid off.”

Sparse early snowfall and unseasonably warm temperatures in early November cast doubt on Aspen’s ability to host a downhill ” the sport’s renowned event. Prospects improved less than two weeks ago when consistent cold temperatures allowed crews to make great strides with snowmaking.

Hancock expects to run isolated snowguns in the coming days, and crews are working to spread out piles of manmade snow to procure a hard racing surface.

But crews can move forward knowing one more major hurdle has been cleared.

“It’s all systems go,” Hancock said. “The pressure is fully on now.”

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