November 20 2009, 10:13 AM
In Europe, skier Lindsey Vonn requires a five-bodyguard escort to leave a race, yet in the U.S., she can stand in relative anonymity at the base of a mountain without garnering as much as a "hello." Although Vonn has racked up a staggering number of overall World Cup titles and wins in individual races across the globe (recapped at lindseyvonn.com), she still feels a responsibility to help grow the sport on American soil. Beyond adding more trophies to her already-stuffed shelves, Vonn tells the Vail Daily she wants to help make ski racing more mainstream in the United States. A good place to start would be next weekend's slalom and GS races at Aspen's Winternational World Cup Event. Vonn took fourth in both races last year and hopes to not only improve her individual performance, but to give American fans something exciting to watch in the only women's World Cup race in the U.S. this year. Nobody is going to hand Vonn the victory, though, and she faces stiff competition. The Associated Press reports that Germany's Maria Riesch edged Vonn by .08 seconds at the opening women's World Cup slalom event last weekend in Levi, Finland, with Finland's Tanja Poutiainen coming in third. Vonn tells the AP it was nice to put the race behind her in preparation for the Aspen Winternational, an event that wasn't confirmed until yesterday, reports The Aspen Times. Winternational chief of race Jim Hancock assures International Ski Federation officials there's enough snow for the race to proceed, despite the lower slopes of Aspen Mountain showing bare spots up to about a week ago. Several nights of snow-making and natural snowstorms fixed the problem, and the race will move forward November 28 and 29.