Can Birds of Prey lure even bigger race?
BEAVER CREEK ” In the bleachers at Birds of Prey races, the hats emblazoned “2013” are ubiquitous.
On the race course, 2013 logos are on the backs of the coats of volunteers.
And at the Cracker concert Thursday night ” dubbed as the “2013 Bid Party” ” the year 2013 had top billing over the band itself.
It’s all part of the effort to win the 2013 World Championships, a biennial, two-week skiing event that could bring 800 athletes and 1,800 members of the media to the county. Both Vail and Beaver Creek mountains would host races for the championships, as they did when Eagle County hosted the 1989 and 1999 World
The 2013 selection will be made this May at the FIS Congress in Capetown, South Africa.
Bid organizers see this week’s World Cup races ” which come to Beaver Creek each year ” as the last big chance to show that Eagle County can host top-notch ski-racing events.
“The fact that we’re racing, number one, sends a message that Vail Resorts made Birds of Prey a priority in terms of snowmaking and preparations,” said John Dakin, vice president of communications for the Vail Valley Foundation, which is organizing the bid.
Warm temperatures and little natural snowfall made preparing the course challenging this year, but the course was ready in time.
It’s important to show the FIS delegates that Vail Resorts ” the company that operates Vail and Beaver Creek mountains ” can produce a good course even under adverse circumstances, said John Garnsey, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Mountain.
“They all know that, but it’s always nice to put together an exceptional event for them just prior to voting in the spring,” Garnsey said.
Events like the Cracker concert show that there’s community support for the event, said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. After all, the two-week event is not only about the ski racing, she said.
“The other part is what goes on around it,” Folz said.
Vail/Beaver Creek is competing for the 2013 races against Schladming, Austria; Cortina, Italy; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Local organizers admit that Eagle County is an underdog.
“We are definitely a dark horse,” Garnsey said.
Schladming is coming off three unsuccessful bids for championships, and some are saying that resort is due for a win, Garnsey said.
A local 2013 championships could be a swan song for former Ski and Snowboard Club Vail racer Lindsey Kildow, now 23 and among the fastest skiers in the world, said the club’s executive director, Aldo Radamus.
“At the same time we have some kids, the next generation, who could very well be, six years from now, racing on the U.S. Ski Team,” he said.
None of his young racers has yet mentioned the prospect of winning a world championship before a home crowd, Radamus said.
“Undoubtedly, it is in the back of their minds,” he said.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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