High Altitude Society: Birds of Prey descends on Beaver Creek for weekend of World Cup ski racing
High Altitude Society
A great crowd turned out for the Birds of Prey FIS World Cup. Birds of Prey, as many in the Vail Valley already know, is the one and only men’s World Cup race event in the United States.
The overall highlight was on Sunday, with Tommy Ford’s first ever podium, first place win in the Giant Slalom. He has a lot to be proud of and we are excited for the future of American ski racing.
The event started out strong with a successful training day, and then a weather pattern moved in making for some challenging foggy conditions with flat light. Thursday’s training runs were canceled, but conditions improved and the races were on.
Vail Valley Foundation’s Director of Communications Tommy Boyd spoke on the local radio station, KZYR The Zephyr, about the world-class weekend and the challenges ahead.
Boyd, who was born and raised in Vail, helped organize the event ensuring guest and athlete and media experiences were top-notch.
“It is always great to see all the locals after a long summer and fall and welcome the winter season and the busy, exciting, vibrant snowsports community,” Boyd said. “We are so lucky to have the best of the best representing the United States in Beaver Creek and all that is good in the Eagle River Valley.”
The Vail Valley loves seeing the international ski racing community out and about in our town. Some of my favorite encounters included meeting members from a young Austrian ski club who had a club racer representing at the Birds of Prey. Then there were the folks from France who were so passionate. The Norwegians, who stood in the stands prior to the race start chanting and supporting their team. I loved seeing friends, caregivers, babies in backpacks, people that make this town tick, and all of the rockstars during this glorious weekend of athleticism, camaraderie, support, kindness and caring.
More highlights happened on the bus coming up to the races with friends from Nepal and around the world, shuttling down with the First Lady of Vail, Sheika Gramshammer and Paralympian Sarah Will, spending quality time with Little Sheika, and experiencing the tribute to Pepi Gramshammer who will always be a powerful force and ski racer extraordinaire in all of our hearts. He led the way for what we experienced this past weekend at the 2019 Birds of Prey FIS World Cup.
Congratulations to all of the racers, all 900 volunteers, spectators and future racers. From Pepi to Tommy Ford and all of the ski racers in between, we applaud these world-class athletes, especially this weekend’s warriors in the mist.
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including benefits for non-profits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.