U.S. Alpine National Championships Come To Waterville Valley, Home Of Rich Racing History
Waterville Valley will host their first elite level race since the 1991 World Cup, bringing the nation’s top ski racers to New Hampshire with the U.S. Alpine National Championships March 23-26. Directly following, the U.S. Junior National Championships happen March 27-29.
The nation’s top ski racers will descend upon Tommy’s World Cup, named after the late Tom Corcoran, for slalom, giant slalom, and the new parallel slalom events. Waterville Valley has hosted 11 World Cup Races, but this will be the biggest race that the resort has hosted since the White Circus visited in 1991 when Julie Parisien won the World Cup giant slalom.
The White Mountains resort has a history of commitment to world-class events and athletes. Waterville Valley’s Stacie Sullivan shared with SnoCountry.com the resort’s rich racing past.
Thirty years prior to Waterville Valley’s foundation, the Black and Blue Trail Smashers (BBTS) Ski Club was founded in 1934. The hearty souls were so committed that they climbed Mt. Tecumseh with saws, axes, and shovels to clear narrow ski runs by hand. Today, BBTS is one of the oldest ski clubs in the USA.
Fast forward to the summer of 1964 when former Olympic ski racer, Tom Corcoran, came to the White Mountains to establish a ski area of his own. One of Corcoran’s old acquaintances, Sel Hannah of Sno- Engineering Inc. based out of Franconia, NH had done a feasibility study for Mt. Tecumseh. The two arranged a flyover Waterville Valley and Corcoran instantly knew that he had found his resort.
Just two years later, in December of 1966, Waterville Valley opened for its first season. The following year, Corcoran and John Fry created the first amateur junior racing program. In 1968 eight ski areas signed on to take part in the inaugural season for NASTAR racing, with the first pacesetter trials taking place at Waterville Valley.
In 1969 Waterville Valley formed the first freestyle instruction program, making the resort the birthplace of freestyle skiing. The following year, Corcoran and Doug Pfeiffer, organized the first National Open Championships of Freestyle Skiing on the Sunnyside trails.
In 1971, legendary freestyle skier, Wayne Wong, traveled to Waterville Valley from Vancouver at the age of 21 on $200 of sponsorship money to compete in the World Cup Freestyle Finals on True Grit. Following that event, Wong became Waterville Valley’s head freestyle coach in 1973 and still has close ties to the resort. By the 1990s, Waterville Valley fully embraced the sport of freestyle skiing by building the second freestyle terrain park in the North East.
In 1969 Waterville Valley formed the first freestyle instruction program, making the resort the birthplace of freestyle skiing. The following year resort founder, Tom Corcoran, and editor of Skiing Magazine, Doug Pfeiffer, organized the first National Open Championships of Freestyle Skiing on the Sunnyside trails.