Aspen, CO – All eyes will be watching Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso and potentially Lindsey Vonn when the Nature Valley Aspen Winternational takes over the historic Colorado ski town of Aspen this weekend with a pair of Audi FIS Alpine World Cup tech races, the only women’s alpine World Cup stops in the U.S. this winter.
Vonn, who was walloped last week with a stomach illness, returned to gate training last weekend but remains day-to-day on whether she’ll start in Aspen. Mancuso has been training in Colorado since early this month and finished third in the Aspen giant slalom last season. Shiffrin carries momentum from a third place slalom finish two weeks ago in Finland.
“The atmosphere in Aspen is amazing. It feels like home and is one of my favorite race hills,” said Shiffrin. “But it’s also one of the most difficult; the slalom hill is technical and has a lot of terrain that begins with the steepest start on the World Cup circuit. The giant slalom course is also incredibly tough. It has even more terrain than the slalom course with multiple pitch changes and a lot of blind break overs. It’s one of those courses that you really need to inspect.”
The event also marks the World Cup return of Resi Stiegler, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the March World Cup Finals. Giant slalom starters for the U.S. Ski Team are Mancuso, Shiffrin, Julia Ford, Megan McJames and Abby Ghent. U.S. slalom starters are Mancuso, Shiffrin, Ford, Stiegler, Hailey Duke and Paula Moltzan. It will be the first World Cup starts for Ghent and Moltzan.
“Mikaela Shiffrin is doing awesome so she’s the one to look out for. I have to watch my back so she doesn’t beat me,” said Mancuso, who added, “I love racing in Aspen, it’s such a fun town and close to my home in Squaw Valley. It’s a really difficult hill, really steep – you can’t relax. You have to go at it until you finish.”