AJ Ginnis of Waitsfield, Vermont, a member of the US Ski Team and 2017 US and Canadian National Slalom champion, won the grand prize of $10,000 today in the Rocky Mountain Classic of the World Pro Ski Tour at Snowmass, Colorado, edging David Chodounsky of Crested Butte, Colorado.
Under sunny skies and racing on the dual side-by-side course featuring jumps and ruts, the 32 professional ski racers were cheered on by spectators in the race arena. The racers admitted that the conditions were challenging because the ruts got deeper as the day went on.
Ginnis said, "It's great being at Snowmass with a highly competitive field of racers, and obviously winning the overall prize feels tremendous. Great skiing by Dave Chodounsky and all the other guys. I can't wait for Sunday River to do it all over again."
Ginnis won because he stuck with his line and didn't get intimidated by who was racing next to him. Off the jumps he tried to have some direction and negotiate with the ruts.
"We had a tremendous event at Snowmass today," said Ed Rogers, president of the World Pro Ski Tour. "We look forward to continuing the momentum at the Visit Maine Pro Ski Championships at Sunday River, March 30 and 31."
The top four competitors were:
- AJ Ginnis, Waitsfield, Vermont
- Dave Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colorado
- Michael Ankeny, Wayzata, Minnesota
- Andreas Zampa, Slovakia
After qualifying on Friday, Michael Ankeny of Wayzata, Minnesota, was the top seed going into the finals of the Rocky Mountain Pro Ski Classic at Snowmass, Colorado, the second of three events this year for the World Pro Ski Tour. Top racers from around the world challenged each other on side-by-side dual panel slalom with two jumps. The qualification runs took place under sunny skies and warm temperatures, causing some difficulties for racers in the bumps and ruts.
"Being the number one seed going into the finals is a huge advantage," said Michael Ankeny. "I won't have to face the top athletes until the last few rounds, which will give me a chance to feel out the course a bit. I'll see where I can be aggressive on the dry Colorado snow and where I need to be smart. It takes a much different approach compared to the conditions at Waterville Valley in the first WPST race."
Ankeny fell short on the day, being chased by some experienced competitors from the U.S. and abroad. The second seed was three-time Olympian and winner of the first 2018 World Pro Ski Tour event Nolan Kasper, third was two-time Olympian David Chodounsky, and fourth was 2017 U.S. National Slalom Champion AJ Ginnis, the winner of the event. Just behind them was 2018 Olympian and 2017 World Championship Silver Medalist Andreas Zampa of Slovakia.
"It's great to be in Aspen and finally get to race in the finals after an injury at Waterville Valley," said AJ Ginnis of Waitsfield, Vermont, who finished second at the World Pro Ski Tour at Sunday River in 2017. "There's an excellent field of athletes here and tomorrow is going to be a tough race for everyone and a great show for spectators."
Here are today's top four qualifiers and their times:
- Michael Ankeny, Wayzata, Minnesota, 28.25
- Nolan Kasper, Warren, Vermont, 28.54 (fastest two-run combined time: 57.24)
- Dave Chodounsky, Crested Butte, Colorado, 28.71
- AJ Ginnis, Waitsfield, Vermont, 28.74