AVON — The 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships are closer than you think. That means it’s time to round up the volunteer corps for the events.
Nearly 2,500 volunteers will be needed for jobs ranging from athlete registration to race crew. In fact, just the race crew for the championships will total about 900 people — roughly the number of volunteers required to do everything at the annual Birds of Prey races. Elle Kehoe, the volunteer coordinator for the event, said about 1,500 have applied so far. Most have been accepted, but the application is a bit more involved than asking to help and being given a jacket.
Volunteers will have to pass a background check, and interviews are required. Then there’s the matter of the time commitment — volunteers must pledge to work at least 60 hours over the course of the event.
In return, volunteers receive pants, jacket, base layer, hat, goggles and socks. They’ll also get a free meal every day they work, access to special events and lift access.
But one volunteer said those who help with the championships will receive even more.
Mary Lou Armour volunteers for all kinds of events around the valley, from Birds of Prey to the Pink Vail breast cancer awareness events an more. She also volunteered for the 1999 championships.
“The satisfaction you get from the energy of an event is amazing,” Armour said, adding she believes people who really want to become part of a community need to help with that community’s events.
With her extensive experience, Armour is one of the people interviewing applicants. She said the process so far has been a lot of fun and provides organizers and volunteers alike with a chance to put the right people in the right jobs. Sometimes, that’s a matter of skills. Other times, it’s a matter of being able to work around someone’s schedule.
While 60 hours over two weeks might seem like a lot, Armour said there’s roughly a week of setup and a week of cleanup on either side of the two weeks of championship events.
And, Armour said, once people get involved, they might just end up helping more than the minimum hours required.
Armour said people who want to get involved need to do so fairly soon.
For those who want a particular job, now is the time to sign up, she said. Those who wait until summer may find those jobs already filled.