November 1998

World Cup racing returned to Aspen after a three-year hiatus with a men’s super G and slalom. The super G course was slightly rerouted to take advantage of early-season snowfall and provide more viewing excitement while increasing racer safety. Aspen Skiing Company also made an $800,000 investment in snowmaking enhancements to ensure prime course conditions in November. An early-season storm laid down a sufficient base of snow and the course preparation became an all-out effort that produced what race organizers dubbed a “bad-ass” course. Racers called it one of the most challenging super G courses in the world.

The Austrian team took most of the honors by filling the winner’s podium with the first-, second- and third-place finishers in the super G, and taking first place in the slalom. Stephan Eberharter, Hermann Maier, and Christian Mayer took the first three positions in super G, and teammate Thomas Stangassinger won the slalom. France’s Sebastien Amiez and Norway’s Tom Stiansen took second and third in the slalom.

The U.S. Ski Team placed five racers in the top 30 in the super G, with Paul Casey Puckett landing the highest position in 12th place. The slalom proved more daunting for the Americans, however, who failed to place any racers in the top 30 after the first run.

Hermann “the Hermanator” Maier, an international ski-racing star, won a dubious distinction in Aspen when he and Austrian teammate Andreas Schifferer were arrested a day after the race by Aspen police for “borrowing” a bicycle and riding double down the road.

Schifferer and the Herminator ditched the bike when approached by police, and attempted to escape on foot. They were apprehended, handcuffed, taken to the Aspen police station and were turned over to an Austrian coach once charges of theft were dropped. The racers explained they had borrowed the bike only because they had no other transportation and feared they might miss their flight out of Aspen. No charges were brought against the two.