March 1981

While most of Aspen’s World Cup races were men-only, the 1981 event featured both men and women’s events.

Valeri Tsyganov of the Soviet Union won the Aspen Mountain downhill in 1981, posting the Russian team’s first-ever downhill victory in World Cup competition. Behind him came the Swiss and Austrian teams, taking the next eight places.

One of the Austrians — Harti Weirather — placed second. He had come to Aspen tied with Steve Podborski of Canada for first place in World Cup downhill standings, and his second place in Aspen gave him a five-point edge over the Canadian.

The men’s giant slalom was an even more important race, with Ingemar Stenmark of Sweden battling it out with American Phil Mahre. Mahre won the GS overall after a blistering second run, securing his first of three consecutive overall World Cup victories. The third place GS finisher was Steve Mahre, Phil’s twin brother. Aspenites Mike Farny, Chris Tache and Mark Harvey placed 29th, 30th and 34th in the GS.

Marie Theres Nadig of Switzerland clinched the women’s downhill title, and Tamara McKinney of the U.S., after having a near collision with a snowcat during a warm-up run, won the GS.

At the GS, McKinney reportedly approached the starting line “not feeling much like racing.” Then she skied the third-fastest time in the first run, a quarter of a second behind leader Erika Hess of Switzerland. In the second run, McKinney came from behind to win the race and the World Cup GS overall. Aspen’s Beth Madsen placed 38th.