EAGLE-VAIL — You know it’s going to be exciting day in the Vail Valley when 40 locals crowd around a television at 5 a.m.
Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail was ground zero for Mikaela Shiffrin fervor, starting before sunrise and extending late into the evening.
“The place has been packed all day,” Route 6 owner Ollie Holdstock said during the madness. “I gotta tell Mikaela she can eat here on me anytime.”
Shiffrin is a resident of Eagle-Vail, where her neighbors say they remember her skiing down her driveway at age 3.
Now, 18 and the youngest Olympic gold medalist slalom skiing has ever seen, her neighbors say they couldn’t be happier.
“We’re so proud she calls Eagle-Vail her hometown, so we just want to support her,” Eagle-Vail Community Manager Jeff Layman said.
‘CHEER REALLY LOUD’
Those who missed the morning event came back Friday evening to watch the pre-recorded coverage on NBC.
“I wish I would have been here during the live event,” said Mike Brown, former U.S. Ski Team member and Eagle-Vail resident who’s a friend of Shiffrin’s mom, Eileen Shiffrin.
“Great parenting was 99 percent of what got her to where she is,” said Brown.
Eagle-Vail resident Kari Corbin coached Shiffrin as a youngster. Corbin now runs a day camp in Eagle-Vail called Nurture with Nature.
“The kids and I watched the race live this morning,” Corbin said. “They all had their cowbells and their Olympic flames ... my little girl (4-year-old Eden Demino) said, ‘We have to cheer really loud if we want them to hear us in Russia.’”
Corbin’s husband, Mike Demino, is currently at the Olympics working for the Austrian Ski Federation, so Nurture with Nature heard the details of Shiffrin’s race first-hand from Sochi.
“All the preschoolers got to talk to the Atomic guy and (ski racer) Resi Stiegler,” Corbin said.
‘FAN FOR LIFE’
Meanwhile, as some were hearing the news direct from Sochi, others were doing their best not to hear anything.
Longtime Eagle-Vail resident Maria Anjier and Edwards resident Val Rossman put themselves on a media blackout all day so they could watch NBC’s pre-recorded coverage without knowing the outcome.
“It was my first time at a World Cup race in November, and I saw Mikaela hit the podium in the GS here at Beaver Creek,” said Rossman, who just moved to the Vail Valley in November. “Now, I’m a fan for life.”