Welcome to the first installment of a regular update on the 2015 World Championships here in the Vail Daily. We have decided to call this column “In the Gate” as that is precisely where our community is, just under a year and a half away from welcoming the world back to our home for the third time, Feb. 2-15, 2015.
Many of you will remember the 1989 and 1999 World Championships, but we also are fortunate to have a large number of “first-timers” throughout our valley that have never experienced the thrill and excitement of an event like the Championships. This column is intended to not only provide you with updates, but also to give you a behind the scenes look at how a community prepares to host the world.
So what exactly are the World Championships? Well, the Championships represent the largest and most impressive collection of ski racing talent in the world, second only to the Olympics. The best way to think about their scope and scale is to take all the alpine events from the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics and put them in Vail and Beaver Creek.
The Alpine Championships will feature more than 700 athletes from over 70 nations; 1,800 members of the print, photo and broadcast media; 2,500 volunteers; large international and domestic sponsors; more than 70 countries carrying the television feed and nearly 750 million viewers worldwide during the course of the two weeks of the Championships.
Including 2015, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships have only visited North America on four occasions, all four being hosted in Colorado, with Aspen in 1950 and Vail/Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999 and now 2015. In addition, Vail’s sister city of St. Moritz, Switzerland is the only other site that has hosted three World Championships, with their fourth on tap for 2017.
Which brings us to today. With 16 months to go, all 21 sub-committees of the main Organizing Committee are actively working on a myriad of plans and projects that will dovetail together to comprise the 2015 World Championships. We are still ahead of the benchmarks set by the FIS in many areas, with major pieces of the overall puzzle to initially be put in place this coming winter with our November-December World Cup ladies’ and men’s events and the debut of Raptor, the new ladies’ speed course, in Beaver Creek.
These upcoming World Cup events represent valuable opportunities to not only introduce Beaver Creek’s newest gem to the world, but also to test some of the things we are planning for 2015. Some of the areas will include new transportation options, ceremonies and media operations, with construction of the new Talons Restaurant in the finish area progressing well and on schedule.
Our ramp up to racing and a new course goes hand in hand with the kickoff of our volunteer recruitment Thursday night. By the time 2015 rolls around, we estimate that we will have recruited, trained and uniformed some 2,500 members of Team 2015, each and every one of them playing a key role in the delivery of a stellar event.
The other essential race-related component will be to finalize the layout of the Beaver Creek finish area, which will play host to the Main Stadium, the Primary Media Center, the International Broadcast Center and various hospitality and operational structures.
But the 2015 Championships will be about much more than ski racing. There will be parties, concerts, ceremonies, demonstrations and exhibitions, featuring World Championship-caliber entertainers, artists, athletes and celebrities.
I hope you’ll enjoy these “In the Gate” columns and that you will find your own way to become involved with the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek. Dream It. Live It. Share It.
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, 2015.