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June 3, 2010
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Will ski championships bring bounce to Vail Valley?

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado - Could Vail Resorts open EverVail just in time for the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships? Could a giant international event provide a spark for a new interchange for the Eagle County Regional Airport?

Those are just a couple of the possibilities to ponder as the Vail Valley starts to gear up for its next appearance on the skiing world's biggest stage.

EverVail continues to work its way through the town of Vail's process. It's now being reviewed by the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission. And, at least for the moment, the project will continue at its current pace.

"Today's announcement doesn't affect EverVail, at least for now," project spokeswoman Kristin Williams said.

Eagle County Commissioner Peter Runyon said news about the championships coming to the Vail Valley can't hurt the chances of landing money for an airport interchange, but may not help, either.

"How much it helps - that's tea-leaf-reading stuff," Runyon said.

Other ideas are pure speculation, too, but several local business people are starting to think of what could happen over the next few years.

While future projects may or may not make it to opening by the time the first races start, Frank Johnson, of the Vail Mountain Lodge and Spa, said what's being finished now will be up, running and have all the bugs out by the time the events start. That will work to Vail's advantage, he said.

Johnson said he believes Vail and Beaver Creek's marketing programs may gain a little extra oomph in the seasons before the championships, part of his belief that the championships will have effects far beyond the actual events.

"There aren't huge impacts during the week itself," Johnson said. "There may be as many people scared off by the scene as are drawn to it. But the long-term impact is huge."

Longtime local developer Bob Warner said it's difficult to measure the effects of big events in the short term. "But it really strengthens the local economy," Warner said. "And there may be a few new buyers who come in."

Rick Hermes has proposed a large development at Wolcott. He said he wasn't sure how the championships might affect that project, but echoed Warner's comments about the event's importance to the local economy.

"I think it's perfect timing, too," Hermes said. "The (economic) cycle we were in is going to return."

The 2015 championships could help kick-start that resurgence, he said.

"It really gives you something else to reinforce Vail's position," Johnson said. "We'll be able to play on that for the next four seasons."

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 3, 2010 07:22PM Published Jun 3, 2010 06:55PM Copyright 2010 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.