Building off the successful first year at Taos Ski Valley, the World Pro Ski Tour World Championships are returning for a second run.
“Last year the crowds were phenomenal,” said Briar Schreiber, WPST spokeswoman.
And this time the competition, scheduled for Thursday, March 30, through Saturday, April 1, will include a skier who now calls Taos home.
River Radamus had his first close encounter with the area at last year’s competition.
“I just immediately fell in love with the place,” he said. “It was a place I knew I wanted to be.”
While Radamus did not fare so well in last year’s event, he said the stunning scenery and vibes of the area made up for the disappointing finish.
“I didn’t have my best results,” he said. “That’s the beauty of parallel events. All that matters is how you do in that 30 seconds of your run and anything can happen.”
What he’s talking about is the atypical format of the event that pits skiers against each other in two head-to-head runs down the left, then the right sides of the runs. Set out in a bracket draw similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, winners advance until just one remains.
Competitors will race through qualifying Thursday to set up their seeding for Friday’s slalom races. The outcome of Friday’s races will determine the seeding for Saturday’s super slalom races.
Skiers will be vying for $20,000 for both men and women first-place finishers, and the each overall winner also will receive $20,000, said Schreiber.
Last year, 2022 U.S. Olympian Paula Moltzan swept the stage, claiming all three women’s prizes and a cool $60,000 in prize money.
Moltzan, among other top national and international competitors, will be back again this season, competing in a 16-woman field.
And Radamus, who was just off the podium at fourth – .3 seconds from a medal – in the Beijing Olympics in 2022, will be highlighting a loaded 32-men’s bracket.
“I’m excited to compete here,” he said, especially since this is now his home, adding that gives him added incentive to perform well.
“I’m gonna see if I can get some redemption,” said Radamus, 25, who is coming off a European World Cup season in which he claimed three top-10 finishes.
If it is to come, it will be on challenging, tight courses that include jumps that will stretch the skiers’ abilities on the impossibly steep terrain at Taos Ski Valley.
“It’s going to be a fun time,” Radamus said. “They do a great job with the runs. They bring them down and swing past a little river. It’s great for spectators.”
In addition to the qualifying Thursday, young skiers will have the chance to race the same course as the pros during the Junior Ski Tour Challenge, said Schreiber.
The event will be a two-lap, developmental training race with male and female U10, U12, U14 and U18 divisions.
The younger racers also will have the chance to join the World Pro athletes during course inspection.