World Cup season opens as US athletes wrap up their training in Park City and around the world
The alpine World Cup season gets underway next weekend with the traditional opening in Soelden Austria.
The opening races of the alpine season are held on the glacier overlooking the town of Soelden. While there hasn’t been a lot of snow yet in Austria, Director of Marketing and Communications for US Ski and Snowboard Courtney Harkins says the glacier is holding snow. It’s the only time during the entire season she says that men and women race on the same hill on the same weekend.
The first event for the women this season – a giant slalom - takes place on Saturday, October 22.
“ I think most notably Michaela Schifrin will be going back for another title again this year,” Harkins said. “You know, she won the overall World Cup last year. So, we're looking to sort of make a splash you know, right away at that first race.
The men will race the GS on Sunday the 23rd.
“The other one to watch this season is going to be River Radamus,” Harkins said. “He is from Vail originally, but you know often is here in Park City. And he had two fourth places in the Olympics last year. And so is a really you know, enormous podium potential all season long and he'll be racing as well in Soelden.”
Harkins says because of the lack of snow in Europe, the teams have been training in the southern hemisphere, mainly New Zealand. But are now making their way to Europe.
The alpine teams she says will be back in the states for a couple of World Cups happening in late November and early December at Killington, Lake Louise and Vail/Beaver Creek.
Meanwhile, the freeski and snowboard teams are in Saas Fee Switzerland and will kick off their season at the Big Air Chur – which is a massive scaffold jump that competitors ride down and try to get as much air as possible.
The freestyle teams Harkins says are in Park City training at the Utah Olympic Park.
“I imagine you've probably seen them up there flipping off the water ramp jumps, so that's been really amazing, both the moguls and the aerials team,” Harkins said. “And they're finishing up their training here before they head over to Finland to kick off this season in November.”
Once again, Deer Valley will host the freestyle world cup. This marks 25 years the resort has played host to the competition. The dates for 2023 are February 2-4.
And the cross-county team has been training in Park City as well.
“Usually, the cross-country team comes here right around this time every year,” Harkins said. “Predominantly during the summer they're training between New Zealand, but mostly Vermont and Alaska, so it's really fun to have them here for a high-altitude camp. You may have seen them around on the trails. They're all in really high visible colors because they're roller skiing so lots of you know, bright yellows and bright greens so you've probably spotted them around. They've been here for the last week and then they're finishing off this week before the event this weekend.”
The 2nd annual Schutzenski festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at Soldier Hollow. For more information about the Schutzenski Festival, click here.