It’s on: World Cup festivities at Palisades Tahoe starts Friday

The Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup gets underway Saturday.
Courtesy Blake Kessler
Schedule Friday Kickoff parade – 5:15 p.m. Bib draw – 6:15 Black Jacket Symphony – 7 p.m.   Saturday Giant slalom first run – 10 a.m. Giant slalom second run – 1:15 p.m. Noah Kahan – 6:30 p.m. 311 – 8 p.m. Fireworks – 9:30 p.m.   Sunday Slalom first run – 10 a.m. Slalom second run – 1:15 p.m.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The world’s top alpine racers are set to take on Palisades Tahoe.

Despite storms in the forecast, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation has green lit this weekend’s Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, which will feature men’s slalom and giant slalom.

“We are very excited to welcome back the athletes to the states, especially to Palisades Tahoe, a resort known for its incredible skiing, hospitality and a storied racing history,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard in a news release. “With the World Championships just wrapping up with great success in France, we are excited for the U.S. team to come to the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup and be cheered on by fans, friends and family on home snow!”

This weekend’s competition marks the first time since 2017 that Palisades has hosted a World Cup event. Recent and incoming storms didn’t stop the venue from passing officials’ “snow control” ahead of the races as the resort recently surpassed 400 inches of total snowfall this season. Groomers and racecourse planners have been working on the closed course, to be held on Dog Leg and Red Dog Face, for roughly two weeks.

“Ice on the hill, that’s what we’re really looking for is as icy and firm as possible,” said Competition Events Manager Nick Lewis. “The whole process takes about two to three days … we’ve got a ton of work going into this hill.”

The course, raced in 2017 as part of a women’s World Cup slalom and giant slalom event, is one Olympic champion and recently minted most decorated World Cup skier in history, Mikaela Shiffrin, described the venue as “one of, if not the toughest” course on the women’s World Cup circuit.

“It’s a great honor to be the host resort for the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup as we continue to bring international competition back to our legendary slopes,” said Dee Byrne, COO and President of Palisades Tahoe, in a news release. “From the 1960 Winter Games, to the 1969 Men’s World Cup and most recently, the 2017 Women’s World Cup, we’re looking forward to bringing an international competition to our resort under our new name. I would like to give a huge shoutout to our hardworking and dedicated Palisades Tahoe staff, North Tahoe community, and volunteers from around the world, because we couldn’t put this event on without them.”

Sugar Bowl Academy’s Luke Winters leads the U.S. team into this weekend’s competition. Winters’ best result this season was an 11th-place finish in slalom in Germany earlier this season. The 25-year-old leads the U.S. as the 31st ranked slalom racer in the world.

“Back in the states after a long stretch in Europe,” said Winters in an Instagram post. “Open roads, country music, and lots of snow in the forecast. Spent 3 years (at Sugar Bowl Academy) so I’ll consider this my home race!”

Other notables from the U.S. team include 2019 NCAA slalom champion Jett Seymour, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; 2019 Birds of Prey giant slalom winner Tommy Ford, of Bend, Oregon; and 2021 World Junior Slalom champion Ben Ritchie, of Waitsfield, Vermont.

Festivities get underway Friday with the public bib draw, a kickoff parade, and at 7 p.m. a free concert by Black Jacket Symphony.

Giant slalom kicks things off Saturday at 10 a.m. and will be followed by awards. Noah Kahan will perform a free concert in the village at 6:30 p.m., followed by 311 at 8 p.m. Palisades will light up the night with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Slalom gets underway at 10 a.m. on Sunday and will be followed by an award ceremony at 2:15 p.m. Only VIP tickets remain, but with the race venue just above The Village at Palisades Tahoe, spectators can view the races free from near the finish area.

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