Racers On Course!
March 11, 2022
With World Pro Racing, Granby Ranch now hosts some of the most exciting head-to-head skiing on the planet—jumps included.
Bob Beattie, Spider Sabich, Jean-Claude Killy, Phil and Steve Mahre…. Back in the day, World Pro Racing routinely featured some of the biggest names in the sport and drew huge crowds and a national television audience. The jumps, crashes, athleticism and the easy to follow competitions—the winner in the dual format crossed the line first more than anyone else—made for a party atmosphere at every stop.
Those days are back. In 2017, World Pro Racing rose from a near two-decade lapse—and has been taking U.S. skiing by storm ever since. It’s better than ever: In keeping with modern times, there’s now a World Pro Racing women’s tour too.
A throwback to the days when skiing was just about the joy, World Pro Racing is all about the fun factor—for racers and spectators. You won’t find any of the tears and baggage of FIS and World Cup skiing here. The races last 30 seconds tops. And you can see the entire event play out from the rodeo style “horse gates” up top, over two or three jumps, to the finish line corral where racers often launch themselves for the win. Invariably the racer that’s behind will take chances to catch up, boosting the thrill. It’s such a proven format that today, head-to-head “super slalom” racing is a staple of the European FIS circuits where it’s often staged at night under the lights close to town.
That sanctioning lends the new World Pro Racing tour even more credibility with fans—and racers. The famed Ted Ligety is a frequent marquee contestant. But the underdogs come out too. Jake Jacobs is a chimney sweep in summer, but does pretty darn well. You also have dark horses, like the former University of Colorado star Max Bervy who recently shocked the field by besting the mighty Ted Shred.
When the racers return next winter, you’ll be able to watch all this action go down on CBS and YouTube—and follow a docuseries online. But as fun as that is, there’s no better way to catch dual super slalom than in person at Granby Ranch. The tour held a hugely successful stop here in December; its first of many. “We want to go to places that might not ever see a World Cup,” says World Pro Racing chief Jon Franklin. “We want fans to be able to see top-level racing all around the country. Bode was here to announce his ski academy during our event and talked on camera. He had three uncles that raced on the tour in the ’80s and ’90s. With a big screen and the finish right at the base area, Granby Ranch is just as worthy of a venue as Aspen. And next year the Granby Ranch venue will be the longest and steepest on the World Pro Racing tour.”
This story appears in Granby Ranch’s winter mini-magazine edition. For more information or to get a print copy, please email eloveland (@) granbyranch.com.