For the fourth time in as many years, the World Pro Ski Tour will come to Steamboat Springs as it hosts the first event of the 2023 season Jan. 5-7 at Howellson Hill.
This year, with a slightly new look, the season is scheduled for a total of 16 races, two for men and two for women, across the tour’s four venues.
On top of Steamboat, the tour takes athletes to historic pro racing locations in Bear Valley, California and Taos, New Mexico. A fourth location has not yet been announced, but is slated to take place at a facility in the eastern United States
Brand new to the Tour is the full-time addition of women competing on all four race weekends. Last year Steamboat hosted the ladies at its event, the first time a women’s tour had been held in more than 20 years. This will be the first season in that span that women will compete in every event.
Excited about the expansion, Brier Schreiber, VP of marketing for the World Pro Ski Tour, said the addition of women will make race weekends more exciting and competitive.
“Overall this season, the World Pro Ski Tour is going to have as many women’s races as men’s,” Schreiber said. “They will be racing on the same course and for equal stage prize money.”
New to Steamboat’s event are daytime races. In the past, the races at Hovelson have been under lights, but due to high temperatures in the past, organizers determined that moving to daytime races would be more spectator-friendly for those who wanted to watch in person.
The Alpine Bank Junior Challenge returns to Steamboat on January 6 following the Super Slalom event.
The world’s top skiers compete in Steamboat races, including three-time Tour champion Rob Cohn, who has been the overall winner each of the past three years.
Olympian Nolan Casper, two-time Steamboat champion Michael Ankeny and Steamboat regular Garrett Triller will begin the season trying to unseat Cohn. Dua Norby, who won last year’s Tour Women’s Champion title, will also compete.
Those who want to watch the races online can watch them on FloLive.tv or the WPST Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Spectators are encouraged to enjoy the event on Howelson Hill in Steamboat Springs, with viewing areas at the base of the hill and behind the Howelson Lodge.
“They run head-to-head, so it’s really fun for spectators to come and see it,” Schreiber said. “If you’ve never seen a double race before, it means the first athlete to cross the finish line wins. It doesn’t matter what their time is compared to others in the same bracket.