March 1976

Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden was the big name in Aspen for the 1976 World Cup. He easily captured first place in the men’s slalom and cinched the overall men’s World Cup title with that victory. Stenmark was noted as “faster and smoother” than anyone else on the course as he won both runs of the slalom. Stenmark’s closest competitor, American Phil Mahre, was over 1.5 seconds out. The slalom was held on Aspen Highlands’ Thunderbowl.

Lisa Marie Morerod of Switzerland won the women’s giant slalom, and with it the World Cup women’s GS championship. But Germany’s Rosi Mittermaier had wrapped up the women’s overall title the week before the Aspen race. Danielle Debernard of France finished second in both GS and downhill to finish first in the women’s combined standings in Aspen.

Franz Klammer, World Cup downhill champion and Olympic gold medalist, signed autographs and shook hands at the bottom of the Aspen Mountain downhill course after his victory there. He won on skis that had been chilled in a refrigerator, then flown by helicopter to the top of Aspen Mountain to ensure proper wax consistency.

As winner of the Roch Cup, Klammer thought the trophy was his for keeps. He brought it home to Austria, and it took the Aspen Historical Society a year to retrieve it.

The Austrian and Swiss teams captured four of the top 10 places in the downhill. America’s top finishers were Eric Wilson and Greg Jones, who placed 21st and 22nd. Aspen racer Andy Mill, after suffering a week-long bout with the flu and two falls in practice — one that re-injured a knee — placed a disappointing 44th in a field of 45, ten seconds away from Klammer.