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City of Aspen shows financial support for return of World Cup skiing at Ajax

Travis Ganong races during the FIS World Cup Finals on March 16, 2017 at Aspen Mountain
Matt Power
/
Courtesy of Aspen Skiing Co.
Travis Ganong races during the FIS World Cup Finals on March 16, 2017 at Aspen Mountain. World Cup racing returns to Aspen March 3-5, 2023.

Aspen City Council has unanimously approved a $100,000 cash contribution to the World Cup Organizing Committee and Aspen Skiing Co. for races coming up March 3rd through 5th on Aspen Mountain.

The $100,000 cash contribution from the city is in addition to an estimated $93,744 for in-kind costs, such as waived parking and permit fees. according to the resolution approving the funding request. Most of that value is from predicted lost parking revenue, to the tune of $71,500. It also includes permit fees.

Skico officials said they’re asking for financial support to help ensure that spectator opportunities and other activities like music, autograph signings and art exhibits can remain free and open to the public during the event formally known as the “America’s Downhill Audi FIS Ski World Cup.”

Deric Gunshor, the managing director of event development at Skico, said organizers are hoping to maintain the free offerings like grandstand access at the finish area of the race course and a festival in Wagner Park.

“I know there's a lot of ticketed and other expensive events in town, and our commitment is really to have this be a community celebration that everyone can come out for and enjoy,” Gunshor told the council on Jan. 10. “And so that's where, as you guys are well aware, it's very expensive to do anything and everything now.”

Skico senior vice president John Rigney emphasized the community impact of World Cup skiing when he spoke to the city last week.

“I do think Alpine racing is a big part of this community's DNA,” Rigney said. “You know, I've been in town 33 years, I don't think I've seen a more vibrant week in my life here than that week of that event.”

Rigney said that though Skico didn’t initially frame the request as a sponsorship from the city, organizers will make an effort to give credit to the city during the event for their support.

City council was largely supportive of the request.

“I know so many people that come to Aspen and the things that they take with them are both the memories that they have, but also the cool things they get from events like this,” Mayor Torre said. “So if the city's money is in any way going to kind of that, sharing of experience, then I’m all for it.”

According to a staff memo, the city of Aspen contributed $75,000 to support the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in 2017.

And, as was the case in 2017, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association has committed $75,000 to this year’s event, according to a separate memo about the request that Rigney addressed to Mayor Torre and the city council.

CAPTION: Crowds cheer from the grandstands during a World Cup ski race in 2017 at Aspen Mountain. World Cup racing returns to Aspen in 2023 for several men’s races March 3-5. (Dan Bayer/Courtesy Aspen Skiing Co.)

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Kaya Williams is the Edlis Neeson Arts and Culture Reporter at Aspen Public Radio, covering the vibrant creative and cultural scene in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She studied journalism and history at Boston University, where she also worked for WBUR, WGBH, The Boston Globe and her beloved college newspaper, The Daily Free Press. Williams joins the team after a stint at The Aspen Times, where she reported on Snowmass Village, education, mental health, food, the ski industry, arts and culture and other general assignment stories.