Squaw Valley to host women’s Audi FIS World Cup races in March (video) | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley to host women’s Audi FIS World Cup races in March (video)

Special to the Sun

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The International Ski Federation and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Friday announced that Squaw Valley has been selected to host an Audi FIS World Cup in March 2017.

The event will consist of a women's giant slalom on Friday, March 10, and a women's slalom on Saturday, March 11, marking the return of World Cup ski racing to Squaw Valley for the first time since 1969.

The World Cup will bring Olympic champions like Mikaela Shiffrin and Squaw Valley's own Julia Mancuso to compete on the legendary Red Dog run, which also played host to the ladies' slalom and giant slalom events at the 1969 World Cup and 1960 Winter Olympics.

With the 2017 season culminating in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., the USSA had a unique opportunity to schedule an additional women's World Cup weekend in the U.S. following Olympic test events in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The addition of Squaw Valley and Killington, Vt., to the calendar will total 16 World Cup events hosted in the U.S. in the 2016-17 race season, the second highest ever.

"As a mountain community, we are hosting this event to inspire the next generation of ski racers," said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. "There is nothing like watching a group of young athletes standing there in the finish corral looking up and truly being motivated by the best athletes in the world. With 1,500 kids in our race program and countless others in the region, this is the stage we must set for them to achieve their goals, in ski racing or otherwise." 

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Built on the legacy of the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley has since reared celebrated athletes such as Jonny Moseley, Julia Mancuso, Travis Ganong, Marco Sullivan, JT Holmes, Michelle Parker, Cody Townsend, Jeremy Jones, Ralph Backstrom, Nate Holland and Errol Kerr. 

"Growing up at Squaw Valley, I have been hoping for the return of the World Cup for a long time, and now we have the chance to show the world that our Olympic legacy is very much alive," said Mancuso. "The terrain at Squaw Valley is what raised me as a skier, and I know that when my peers stand on top of the course on Red Dog they will see what competitors saw in 1960 and 1969: one of the most challenging courses in the world.

"So many of today's racers have trained and competed on Red Dog in the past, and now we can see this legendary venue re-emerge onto the world stage."

Squaw Valley's addition to the schedule is part of a broad initiative by the USSA to raise the profile of alpine ski racing in America. Last year's World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek attracted record U.S. television audiences with live coverage on NBC and NBCSN, plus a global reach of 800 million.

"Bringing the FIS Alpine World Cup to four different sites this season will continue to grow the visibility of alpine ski racing in America," said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw. "Squaw Valley has partnered with the USSA to host many events and, with a strong Olympic legacy and a world-class venue, they are a welcome addition to the World Cup circuit.

"It's a great opportunity for our stars, including Squaw Valley local Julia Mancuso, to race in front of their hometown crowd ahead of the World Cup finals."

The Red Dog race venue was also the host of the 2014 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships, attracting large crowds of kids who came to see their favorite ski racing stars.

Shiffrin, the current reigning Olympic slalom champion, took the giant slalom gold in the 2014 event and returned to the Red Dog course in April of this year to train with fellow athletes from the U.S. women's team.

"I am really excited about having another world cup weekend in the U.S.," said Shiffrin. "… I'm so psyched that mountains are taking interest in hosting races. It's no small task but it's spreading the word about our awesome sport and drumming up more excitement!"

The March 10-11 event will be broadcast across America on NBC and NBCSN, and will be seen during prime time evening hours in Europe as well as across the globe, highlighting athletic talent and the Squaw Valley destination.

"From perfect bluebird days and adrenaline pumping trails to luxurious resorts and cool après ski vibes, winter in The Golden State is like nowhere else in the world," said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. "The 2017 Alpine World Cup will put an international spotlight on one of California's most majestic ski destinations and showcase the high altitude thrills and laid-back lifestyle that make for a snow experience that is uniquely Californian."

This article was provided by Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Visit SquawAlpine.com to learn more.

Learn more

Visit WorldCupSquaw.com to learn about the 2017 World Cup at Squaw Valley, including information on schedule, tickets, media hosting, volunteering, venue and athletes.