Local race series enters 52nd season, welcomes all ability levels

The Helly Hansen Alpine Town Series enters its 52nd season on Golden Peak Thursday, Jan. 9 with the giant slalom opener. The local race series welcomes all ages and ability levels across multiple disciplines for six fun days of racing on Vail Mountain followed by lively after-parties, award ceremonies and swag giveaways.

The six-part series, organized by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV), takes place on Thursdays on Golden Peak (plus the Black Forest Kombi) and culminates on March 26 with the Super George finale. The final race of the season also consists of a full-length super G for the top tier of finishers.

While it’s typical to see SSCV coaches, NCAA alumni and even former World Cup racers competing at the Town Series, all abilities are welcome and encouraged to participate. Racers should be at least comfortable skiing a groomed black run, but no prior racing experience is necessary.

The event is open to alpine skiers, telemark skiers and snowboarders with men’s and women’s categories for each discipline. The men’s alpine ski category is broken into Sport and Pro divisions. The Pro Division will generally feature experienced racers, while the Sport Division will host athletes with a more recreational level of experience.

For those who are apprehensive about kicking out of the start without proper training — or for anyone who just wants to take his or her racing skills to the next level — SSCV also offers the Get in the Gates recreational racing program. This is a flexible training program with SSCV coaches on Golden Peak. Participants can purchase a range of training opportunities, from single day, to punch cards and season passes.

“The Get in the Gates recreational race program is one of the truly special opportunities SSCV provides to the community to make alpine ski racing more accessible to the average skier,” said SSCV Communications Manager Geoff Mintz. “The program caters to a wide range of experience levels, providing a la cart training opportunities to young athletes, former racers, part-time residents, masters racers — really anyone who wants to ‘Get in the Gates.’ Participants can then take what they’ve learned into the Town Series to see how they’re stacking up. Or if you just want to wing it, that’s cool, too.”

Each Town Series race features a fun after-party, hosted at various bars and restaurants in Vail Village. The party circulates to the George, Pazzos, the Red Lion, and the Fitz. Drink tickets and appetizers are included with participation in the race. Prizes and some killer swag will be awarded to top finishers and participants at random.

Town Series race schedule is as follows: Registration is from noon to 12:30 p.m. Inspection is from noon to 12:45 p.m. Race start is at 1 p.m.

Registration is available online and day-of at the race venue. The team entry fee into all six races (includes eight racers) is $400. Individuals can also participate for $20 per race and $100 for the series.

More information and online registration for the Town Series can be found at www.vailtownseries.com. For more information about the Get in the Gates training program, visit skiclubvail.org/teams/get-in-the-gates.

Helly Hansen Alpine Town Series

Jan. 9: Booboo/Afterthought GS on Golden Peak

Apres Party & Awards at 4 p.m. – The George

Jan. 16: Main Arena GS on Golden Peak

Apres Party & Awards at 4 p.m. – The Fitz, Manor Vail

Jan. 30: Main Arena GS on Golden Peak

Apres Party & Awards at 4 p.m. – Pazzo’s Vail

Feb. 6: Main Arena GS on Golden Peak

Apres Party & Awards at 4 p.m. – The Red Lion

Feb. 13: Black Forest – Kombi

Apres Party & Awards at 4pm – Pazzo’s Vail

March 26: Super George – GS & SG on Golden Peak

Apres Party & Awards at 4 p.m. – The George