A little more than 1,500 days ago, I was standing in front of the FIS decision makers as we outlined our bid to host the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships for them. The other members of our bid committee and I were sharing with these individuals why the 2015 Championships should come to Vail and Beaver Creek. Out of all the great reasons we gave for why the Championships should return to our valley, our No. 1 reason was that we would host this event through building partnerships, respecting all the groups and individuals we knew would be so important for our success.
So here we are, with just about five months to go, and it is safe to say that our partnerships are what have gotten us this far. We are also well aware that these same partnerships will carry us all the way to the finish line of a successful World Championships. Not only have these relationships been a huge key to success for us already, they have become the most memorable and special part of creating our event. Our partners are spread all over the globe and all over the valley.
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS IN TOWN
This week, many of our international partners are in town, including key members of the FIS; Tridem, our sponsorship agency partner; EBU, our television partner; and the U.S. Ski Team, along with some of our vendors and all of our community and sport partners. They are here for this final inspection to take one last look at our planning process to ensure that we are on track.
From the day that we learned that we had been awarded the right to host the Championships four years ago, these groups have been with us every step of the way, providing support, encouragement, input and when appropriate, criticism. While FIS has served as the guiding hand throughout, Tridem is ensuring that we can pay all of the bills, while the EBU will make sure that the television pictures the world sees paint our valley in the absolute best light.
SOLVING PROBLEMS TOGETHER
Sometimes, these event inspections can be nerve racking. You can feel as though everyone is looking over your shoulder to see where you’ve made critical errors or in which parts of your organization there are cracks. We have never felt that during our inspections and we’ve always been treated as a partner by our international friends.
Together, we have found shortcomings and together, we have resolved them.
On a number of occasions, we have had differences of opinions, but we have always found a common ground in the end. Together, we have had genius ideas on paper that in practice have failed, as well as failures that together we have corrected and turned into successful solutions. We have made friends for life and together, we have made a World Championships that I know you will make the Vail Valley so proud.
COMMUNITY PARTNERS THERE EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
And while our international partners are so very important to our worldwide success, our industry and community partners are there for us every day. We would never have earned the right to host these Championships in the first place if it were not for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, Vail Resorts, the town of Vail, the town of Avon, Beaver Creek Resort Co. and the Vail Valley Foundation board of directors.
Without Vail Resorts, there is no ski racing and without USSA, there is not an incredibly strong national team that is prepared to take on the world in its own backyard.
In fact, these days, Vail Resorts and the team on the hill spend every day working together with the Vail Valley Foundation and FIS to solve some truly complex issues.
All of our government agencies have been sitting together with us to fine tune our transportation, security and our festival planning. The lodging community has partnered with us to host each of the teams with extraordinary hospitality.
We also have many partners in our effort to be unique in the look and feel of these Championships. Slifer Designs has created our concepts and look, while Carrie Fell has painted our artwork.
The Bosellis are leading an amazing effort in the merchandising of these Championships and our friends at Zehren Architects have designed our exterior looks.
VOLUNTEERS MAKE IT HAPPEN
And then there are the many other individuals and groups that we consider to be our partners in this effort. There are the 2,200 volunteers who will give of their time and talents to help not only run every aspect of the Championships but also serve as our front line ambassadors, helping to welcome the world to our home.
Some of these volunteers will come from out of state and outside the country, and many will take their vacation time to work for us. This is the ultimate partnership.
DONORS ARE KEY
Our many 2015 donors also deserve a huge shout out. They are literally helping to provide the life blood of the Championships and allowing us to truly “Deliver the Dream of 2015.” And, interestingly enough, a great many of the 2015 donors are new to the fold and not associated on an annual basis with the Vail Valley Foundation.
YOU ARE OUR PARTNER
And finally, you are our partners in 2015 ... everyone who is reading this column. The World Championships are about community ... our community. In one way or another, we are all invested in these Championships and they will touch each and every one of us.
So reach out and allow yourself to become a partner with 2015 in whatever way, shape or form that ends up taking. A good partner doesn’t just make the other partners look better. A good partner makes the other partners be better. We are better, together.
Ceil Folz is president of the Vail Valley Foundation and president of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. The 2015 World Championships are scheduled from Feb. 2-15.