Winter Park hosts NorAm races starting today |

Winter Park hosts NorAm races starting today

Courtesy photoNorAm races attract many of the best skiers in the world.

Starting today, the best male and female alpine racers from 17 nations will meet at Winter Park Resort for the four-day season opening of the Federation of International Skiing (FIS) NorAm Cup Slalom Races.

For athletes such as former World Championship medalist Erik Schlopy, American talent Resi Stiegler and local racers, Molly Leonard and Chelsea Nova, the FIS NorAm event is a platform to battle for a spot on their country’s World Cup team.

The men will compete first today and tomorrow.

The races will feature such names as U.S. Ski Team member Jimmy Cochran, who came close to his first career World Cup podium finish two weeks ago in Austria, as well as Swiss racer Marc Gini, who won the season opening World Cup.

The Wednesday and Thursday men’s slalom races begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by the racers’ second run at 12:30 p.m. The second wave of each race features the top 30 from the first run starting in reverse order.

The women’s races on Friday and Saturday will feature American talent Resi Stiegler, who came within a tenth of a second to her first career World Cup medal in Austria earlier this month, as well as a competitive field of World Cup talent from Austria, Canada, Croatia, Finland, Norway, Slovakia and Sweden.

Local racers Molly Leonard and Chelsea Nova, both of Tabernash, are also expected to race.

The schedule for the women’s races is the same as the men’s.

“Winter Park is honored to host this array of international racers,” said Jon Nolting, Winter Park Resort Competition Center’s Director. “These racers will put everything on the line in preparation for upcoming World Cup races at Beaver Creek and Aspen.

“For race fans, NorAms are excellent venues to get a close-up view of these quality racers. In the World Cup, the hill is lined with fans, but with Winter Park’s Lower Hughes venue, you can see the racers from top to bottom, and literally shake their hand after the finish. I’m looking forward to watching Chelsea and Molly up against the world’s best on their home hill.”

Volunteers for the 2008 Winter Park Resort FIS NorAm event are still needed. Interested parties may contact the Winter Park Competition Center at (970) 726-1590.

Volunteers receive lunch, free lift tickets, and access to the race venue. Prior experience working races is not required.

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