The Vail Valley Foundation's Conway Cup Community Team Race was held Wednesday at Golden Peak in Vail as a memorial ski race in honor of Dan Conway, who passed away in 2009. As director of racing for Vail and Vail Resorts, he played a key role in all competitions held on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains, from World Championships and World Cup's to NASTAR, including the annual Korbel American Ski Classic. The group of racers that took to the course on Golden Peak on Wednesday to brave challenging conditions would have made Conway proud.
When asked about her experience, Holly Nielsen said, "I am happy that I did not fall. That was my goal. I saw three people fall and I was not one of them."
The race was truly a community event; Nielsen raced with her East West Resorts team and fellow longtime local resident DJ Vaughan.
"I moved here in 1996 and started working for East West Resorts and have been for 17 years," Vaughan said. "My last day is Friday. I have an opportunity in St. Louis by family, so this is my last hurrah. I have known most of these people for most of my life."
Vail Valley Foundation's Rick Bald is fairly new to town as he just started with the foundation three weeks ago. Bald had worked with Vail Resorts in the past and lived in Colorado for three years after college. "I can work from a home office on sponsorships and, obviously, I will be spending a lot of time here," Bald said.
Spectators mingled as the serious racers took to the course on four-person teams in a dual-format race.
The American Ski Classic brings skiing legends, sports and entertainment celebrities and corporate America together on the slopes of Vail Mountain, bringing the thrill of both professional and amateur ski racing to the community. If you go, look for live entertainment and festivities on and off the slopes.
Betty Ann Woodland covers social events and fundraisers throughout the Vail Valley. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.