In a shock announcement yesterday it was revealed that Ted Ligety, 35 will race on the World Pro Ski Tour this season. The two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time giant slalom World Champion may be taking a step back from racing at the FIS level, but that doesn’t mean he will be taking a step back from the sport altogether. Ligety will join the World Pro Ski Tour in the 2019/20 season as a competitor in addition to his World Cup schedule.
“It’s great to see how the World Pro Ski Tour has created an awesome alternative and supplement to traditional World Cup racing,” says Ted. “I’m looking forward to joining the WPST this season between World Cups.”
The Pro Tour is deeply embedded in the history of alpine ski racing in America, writes Ski Racing. Back in 1969, legendary U.S. coach, Bob Beattie, took the head to head, dual slalom format, and turned it into a series of competitions across the United States that attracted a myriad of talent from all over the world – from Billy Kidd, to Jean Claude Killy, the Mahre Brothers, and Spider Sabich, names long time ski racing fans will never forget. The string of champions that participated in the tour gave it pizazz and notoriety. The tour became known for bringing, fast-paced, high-level events to the American fan base. In the 1990s, when the World Cup tour began to offer prize money at races, the attraction of the Pro Tour diminished.
However, the new CEO, Jon Franklin, with the backing of Chairman and longstanding ski racing supporter, Dan Leever, hopes to resurrect the Pro Tour and Ligety will play a large role in this process.
Competition begins in December in Vail, Colorado.