The fastest female ski racers in the world take to Aspen Mountain Friday through Sunday, Nov. 27-29 for the Audi FIS World Cups at the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational. Star of the show? Certainly could be -- perhaps should be -- Colorado’s Mikaela Shiffrin in either the Giant Slalom or the two slaloms. Or all three. No pressure there.
A giant slalom is Friday. Slalom races are Saturday and Sunday. All races end at the base of Lift 1A. The first run of the GS is set for 10 a.m. Friday. The finals are at 1 p.m. The Saturday slalom is at 10:15 a.m. with the finals at 1:15 p.m. The Sunday slalom will start at 10 a.m. with the finals at 1 p.m. The weekend picks up a weather postponed slalom from Levi, Finland earlier this season.
Following Saturday’s slalom, there will be a free Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert featuring Jamestown Revival from 6:30 to 8 p.m. followed by the women’s awards ceremony. Fireworks will top off the celebration at 8:15 p.m. Live television coverage of the races is planned by NBC and NBC Sports.
Meanwhile, to the north, the speed circuit begins in earnest for the men at Lake Louise, Canada at the traditional Winterstart Festival. A downhill is scheduled Saturday, (11.30 local time, 19.30 CET) and a super-G Sunday (11.00 local time, 19.00 CET).
Norway will be the “nation-to-watch” with last year's speed star Kjetil Jansrud, in addition to Aksel Lund Svindal, coming back from injury. Together, these two have earned three downhill and five super-G World Cup globes, and both won at Lake Louise in both disciplines (Jansrud 2 times and Svindal 6 times).
Austria’s Hannes Reichelt and Matthias Mayer, who ended in the Top 5 of both speed standings last year, are capable of upsets. Top American, as usual, is expected to be Ted Ligety.
After the openers, the ladies’ will take over the Lake Louise hill (“owned” by the USA’s Lindsey Vonn and known as "Lake Lindsey") the following week. Two downhills and a super-G will be staged there Nov. 4-6. The men head south to Vail’s Birds of Prey.
Photos: Top -- Fireworks top off the fun at the Aspen Winternationals (Aspen/Snowmass); Below -- the world's fastest lady ski racers are set for Aspen Thanksgiving weekend (U.S. Ski Team)