The state of Summit County’s business leagues |

The state of Summit County’s business leagues

Summit Daily file photo/Brad Odekirk Mike Meindl carves around a gate during a Copper Mountain Business League event in March. While Copper's 2004-2005 series begins in January, Keystone and Breckenridge are still debating whether they will host one.

SUMMIT COUNTY – The question isn’t will there be any business league racing series in Summit County this season, it’s more like how many will there be?Copper Mountain is definitely on board to provide local racers with an amateur ski racing series built around local business sponsorship. But what about the Wednesday World Cup (WWC) that has been a fixture of the local racing scene for the last two decades? Last season, the WWC was a collaborative effort between Keystone and Breckenridge. But then Keystone canceled its share of the load halfway through the season citing participation issues as the reason. That left the bulk of the load on Breckenridge, and though they managed to hold every race they had scheduled when the season began, they also faced lower numbers than they planned for. So as recently as August, both Keystone and Breckenridge were leaning toward ix-naying their business leagues altogether. But not so fast.Now that the ski season is here, both mountains are looking at the possibility of reviving the Wednesday World Cup. It’s just a matter of whether the resorts can find the support to do it.

At Keystone, the driving force is coming from race director Jay Sowers. “Jay and his crew definitely want to have one, but nothing has been planned yet,” said Amy Kemp, Keystone’s communications manager. “We’re just looking for the business community to let us know that they want this and to reach out and partner on this with us.”Meanwhile, Breckenridge’s department of competition services has already determined that it doesn’t have the resources to hold a series, but the idea is far from dead in the water. Several members of Quantum Sports Club have begun discussing the possibility of taking over for Breckenridge. “I’m all into bringing the race series back,” said Greg Guras, who owns A Racer’s Edge in Breckenridge. “And there’s a few people like myself who definitely think we should do something.” Guras is working with Quantum’s Scott Tanner to brainstorm the possibility of making a series a reality. Guras wasn’t able to confirm whether the series would tie in with Keystone’s – and neither was Kemp – but Guras said it was the most logical solution to making the series successful. A big part of building a successful series will be finding the sponsors it takes to hold after-race parties and provide prizes for the raffles that make business leagues popular.

No question at CopperRegardless of what happens at Keystone or Breckenridge, there was never any doubt at Copper. “We’re doing 10 races,” said racing events coordinator at Copper, Erin Silver. “The first is January 6 and it’s a dual giant slalom.” New for the 2004-2005 season, Copper plans to unveil a new amateur course on the mountain’s NASTAR hill, near the base of the Excelerator Lift on the Copperopolis trail.The new course is the result of trail work done in the summer on Copperopolis to make the trail more amenable to the elaborate training groups that come to Copper every November and December to train for world-class events. That doesn’t mean business leagues will be competing on World Cup slalom and giant slalom courses, just that the NASTAR course will be six gates longer.About half of the six race series will be held on Copperopolis, while the other half will be in last year’s course on Bittersweet, Silver said.

The series will also feature a seventh race serving as an series finale. That race is scheduled for March 17, and will likely be tied in with some form of a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, Silver said. Anyone interested in participating in the Copper Mountain series can find out more by attending a team meeting on Dec. 22. For more information, call (970) 968-2318, ext. 45707.More options over the passAs was the case with Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek never hesitated on their commitment to town racing. Vail’s series – which is now in its 37th year – will be on Wednesdays, while Beaver Creek’s will be on Mondays. Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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