For five days last week the top men and women ski racers in the world descended on Aspen for the 2017 FIS World Cup Finals. It was the first time in twenty years that the event was held in the U.S. and while Aspen has a long history of hosting World Cup races through the regular season, the last time the World Cup Finals were held here was way back in 1950! Suffice it to say everyone was excited to have this grand event back on Aspen Mountain.
Regardless of your passion for skiing or knowledge of ski racing, it was easy to appreciate the event. Each day the racers competed in different disciplines– downhill, super-G, giant slalom, and slalom– and each day crowned new men’s and women’s World Cup champions. Town was packed, there were parties every night, the grandstands were full, and spectators lined the course each day to see the guys and gals go at it.
There were several highlights, the most significant of which was 22-year old Colorado native Mikaela Shiffrin being crowned the women’s overall World Cup Champion. Austrian Marcel Hirscher claimed the men’s overall title for the sixth year in a row. In the individual events there was a lot to follow as well, Lindsey Vonn finished second in the downhill and in somewhat dramatic fashion, crashing at the finish line. And Mikaela Shiffrin took second in the slalom.
Since it had been 67 years since this event was here in Aspen, and because nobody knows for certain if it will return any time soon, we took it upon ourselves to go watch as much of it as we could. Here’s some of what we saw on the course.