Organizers wrap up World Championships |

Organizers wrap up World Championships

Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and the organizing committee for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, waves the FIS flag during the opening ceremopnies. After five years of planning and two weeks of racing and celebration, the World Championships officially ended yesterday.
Logan Robertson|Special to the Daily |



21 committees with the main Organizing Committee

An estimated 30 different languages spoken during the Championships

An estimated 8,000 credentials distributed to event staff, FIS officials, volunteers, media, public safety, broadcast and VIPs during the two weeks of the championships


In 2015, Vail and Beaver Creek have hosted the World Championships 3 times (1989, 1999, 2015)

The 2015 Championships marked the fourth time that the U.S. has hosted the Alpine World Championships, all of them in Colorado

The 1999 Championships marked the first time that the event had returned to the same site in a 10-year period

The largest crowd in U.S. ski racing history watched the 1999 men’s downhill as 20,000 fans were on hand in Beaver Creek

The 1999 Men’s Super-G produced an historic gold medal tie between Austria’s Hermann Maier and Lasse Kjus of Norway, while bronze medalist Hans Knauss of Austria missed making it a three-way affair by just one-one hundredth of a second.

Norway’s Lasse Kjus became the first competitor to ever win five medals in a single World Championships in 1999 with two gold and three silver medals.

The 1999 World Championships featured the first ever alpine World Championships medals for Australia and Finland as Zali Steggall captured the gold medal in Ladies’ Slalom and Kalle Palander claimed gold in the Men’s Slalom.

12 athletes made the return trip to Vail/Beaver Creek ten years later after competing here in 1989. Three of them left with medals.


700 Athletes from 70 nations

A total of 48 medals were awarded during the Championships (30 individual medals and 18 Nations Team medals)

The steepest section of the Birds of Prey, men’s course is located at The Brink, with a 40-degree slope

The steepest section of the new Raptor Ladies’ racecourse is located at The Gauntlet, where the pitch tilts to 31 degrees

The men reach speeds of more than 80 miles per hour on Birds of Prey while the women clock in at over 75 mph in sections of Raptor

There are 145 A-Net towers on the Birds of Prey and Raptor courses, supporting over 7 miles of A-Net and slip-skirt

The longest single section of A-Net is on Birds of Prey, measuring 2,033 feet in length. It is the longest section of A-Net in the world

The Red Tail Finish Stadium and other championships venues will showcase:

More than 4,000 sq. ft of video board screen

More than 250,000 sq. ft of scaffolding/building equipment

More than 10,000 linear ft of fence (not including race course)

More than 100,000 sq. ft of tents

A total of 15 winch cats will work Birds of Prey and Raptor, 8 on Birds of Prey and 7 on Raptor

Professional and volunteer staff dedicate 31,000 hours to annual course maintenance and construction on Birds of Prey

The Downhill course record for Birds of Prey (from the top start) is 1:39.59, recorded by the U.S. Ski Team’s Daron Rahlves on December 5, 2003

The Downhill course record for Raptor (from the top start) is 1:41.26, recorded by Switzerland’s Lara Gut on November 29, 2013

The first World Cup race on Birds of Prey was a Downhill held December 4, 1997.

The race was won by Italy’s Kristian Ghedina

Prior to the 2013 World Cup test event on Raptor, the World Cup ladies have only raced once on Birds of Prey, with a transplanted Super-G from Val d’Isere, France on December 7, 2011. The race was won by the U.S. Ski Team’s Lindsey Vonn

The average weight of a Race Crew backpack is 38.2 pounds


Media/broadcast entourage is over 1,800 members of the print, photo and broadcast media on site to chronicle the World Championships

The Championships was viewed by more than 750 million people over the course of the two weeks, airing in prime time evening spots throughout Europe

International broadcasts in 70 different countries

Over 900 hours of anticipated international broadcast coverage

A record 25 hours of coverage in the U.S., courtesy of the NBC Sports Group

Of that 25 hours of coverage, 16 hours of that will be live, including unprecedented live coverage of every event

The 6 hours of live coverage of the weekend races on NBC represents the most coverage the broadcast network has ever run from any World Championships in


The 8.5 hours of live coverage on NBC Sports Network marks the most coverage and best distribution (90 million homes) for a World Championships on cable in


A few more fun numbers for broadcast:

Total number of camera positions – 120+ o Men’s DH camera count – 43

Women’s DH camera count – 43

Camcat systems – 2

Length of the Golden Eagle Camcat – 744M o Super Slow Motion Camera Systems – 5

Super Slow-Mo frames per second – 500

Hyper Slow Motion Camera Systems – 5

Hyper Slow Mo frames per second - 2500


Approximately 75 buses traveled through the Vail Valley at any one time during the championships, transporting fans to and from the races and festivities, free of charge


A total of 67,500 athlete meals will be served during the Championships

More than 5,000 gallons of Sierra Nevada, the official beer for the event, were served


During the two weeks of the Championships showcased more than 30 artists

577 hours/34,620 minutes of music


A total of 2,500 volunteers will each commit a minimum of 60 hours of time over the course of the two weeks of the Championships


Nearly 9,000 local members of our youth have been involved in programs, projects and internships tied to the world championships including

2015 Youth Challenge: 2015

Behind the Scenes: 10

Colorado Children’s Chorale: 10

Dream It. Team: 45

Family Fun Zone: 200 (50 per day) o In School/Lesson Plans: 6500

Day at the Races: 3500

Internship: 36

Involvement in Events: 50

Mural Project: 15

Total unduplicated: 8880

For most of us, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships ended Sunday.

For some, though, they won’t be over for months.

“We’ll be in the Championships three months after the Championships,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and the organizing committee.

Some things are urgent and have to come down right away. The rest of it, as soon as they can, Folz said.

“People keep asking, ‘Now you guys fold up, right?’ No,” Folz said.

Will the world return?

Which leads to the obvious question: Will Vail/Beaver Creek host the World Championships again?

Folz focused her soft blue eyes on the European reporter who asked the question and gave him a smile and a “maybe.”

“This is a partnership,” Folz said.

It starts by getting the towns, county and state, a growing ski company, federal agencies and countless others moving in the same direction, she said.

FIS Secretary General Sarah Lewis pointed out the improved snowmaking technology that makes early season races in the U.S. more viable.

“Most teams are training in the U.S. before the World Cup season begins, so it could be a natural progression,” Lewis said.

In the meantime, the 2017 World Cup finals are in Aspen, the Birds of Prey men’s World Cup races return to Beaver Creek for the foreseeable future and the women’s World Cup might be back on the Raptor racecourse in Beaver Creek.

Folz said the fans are her top memory.

“You can tell when an American comes down because they cheer loudly, but you can’t tell by much because they cheer for everyone,” she said.

Total attendance will be close to 130,000 for races, 200,000 when including all of the other events. Television viewers will approach 1 billion.

Goodness graciousness

The goal was to be gracious hosts, and if reports from visitors from around the globe are any indication — and they are — the 2015 championships knocked it out of the park.

Philip Glasner and his friends were here from Austria, and like most Austrians he was really happy with the way his team performed.

“It’s our mission to ski,” Glasner said.

However, Glasner reminds Americans that ski racing success comes in cycles, pointing to the 2013 World Championships in their backyard, Schladming, Austria.

“American Ted Ligety won three gold medals there,” he said.

And almost like Glasner could foretell the future, Ligety won the Friday’s men’s giant slalom. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher was second.

Steve Holdener is the unofficial head of his sister’s official fan club, the Wendy Holdener Fan Club.

“We travel as often as possible,” Steve said.

This was their first ski trip to the U.S., and they blew the top out off the fun meter.

“It’s amazing here,” Steve said.

Well prepared

Planning began five years ago with the bid process and continued right through the closing ceremonies.

“We’ve had so few problems. Everyone on the committees feels good about how they prepared for it,” Folz said.

The racing in 1989 and 1999 was great, especially the 1999 men’s super-G and the gold medal tie between Austria’s Hermann Maier and Lasse Kjus of Norway. Bronze medalist Hans Knauss of Austria missed making it a three-way tie by just one one-hundredth of a second.

The 1989 World Championships saw Italian star Alberto Tomba insist that his aim was “to tear down the sky.”

This time around, the organizing committees got to focus on doing so much more than a ski race because the ski racing crew is so good, Folz said.

“The Vail Resorts team and the Talons volunteers are at such a high level. Never once did we worry about that,” Folz said. “That allowed us to focus our attention on everything else because we knew the racing was in the hands of the best crew in the world.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail

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