Daily Editorial: The quest for Beaver Creek 2013
Vail CO, Colorado
The Austrians, Swiss and Americans competed on the snow last week during the men’s World Cup Birds of Prey races, capturing 10 of the 12 available spots on the podium.
These three nations will continue to battle all winter long, along with Italy, for the right to host the 2013 World Alpine Skiing Championships. Schlamding, Austria, St. Moritz, Switzerland, Cortina, Italy, and Vail/Beaver Creek are the finalists with the International Skiiing Federation (FIS) handing down the decision May 29, 2008, in Cape Town, South Africa.
While the Vail Valley Foundation and Beaver Creek were primarily focused on getting the course ready for racing these past few weeks ” a feat for which they should be commended given the conditions ” they were also making their case for landing the 2013 Worlds.
FIS should give Beaver Creek ’13 serious consideration. But for Beaver Creek ’13 (see below as to why we don’t call it “Vail ’13”) to become a reality, there is still work to be done.
One of the best arguments for the 2013 Worlds landing here is television. While NBC dictates that the Winter or Summer Olympics be held in North America often for ratings, it’s the opposite in World Cup skiing. The audience is in Central Europe. With 11 a.m. starts here, the races begin live during prime time at 7 p.m. in Austria, Switzerland and Italy.
How big is this in skiing’s heartland? Two-thirds of Austrian televisions were tuned into the men’s Worlds downhill in 1999, the last time our area hosted the event.
By having Worlds in the United States, which has hosted the biennial event only three times ” 1950 (Aspen) and 1989 and 1999 in Vail, FIS can also help raise skiing’s profile in America. We don’t need to say why that’s a good thing for a place like Eagle County, where winter recreation is king.
In addition, the facility for all the men’s events are in place. Course designer Ian Russi built a world-class run for the men. In its short 10-year history, there has been a surfeit of great moments here.
What is needed is an equivalent facility for the women. The last two times this area has hosted Worlds, all the women’s events were held on International and Pepi’s Face in Vail. These runs are no longer adequate for World Cup or World Championship competition, not to mention the fact that the lift which serves this area, Giant Steps, was dismantled two years ago.
In September, we reported that Beaver Creek was planning to build a women’s equivalent to the west of the men’s trail with the new piste also ending at Red Tail. This is a must for landing 2013.
With the men’s and new women’s course based at roughly 8,900 feet, overhauling transportation to the race area is critical. While Beaver Creek does a fine job shuttling spectators for regular World Cup races, Worlds will be another story.
The men’s Worlds downhill in 1999 attracted 20,000 spectators. Fans were parking in the old Stolport, which is now the home of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, obviously not an option now.
Beaver Creek is going to have to find some space for all those cars as well as some form of passenger gondola, possibly hooking up with the Lower and Upper Beaver Creek Mountain Express Lifts.
If FIS realizes the potential of the 2013 World Championships in Beaver Creek and the resort can fulfill a few requirements, the best in the world will come.
” Chris Freud for the Editorial Board