High-tech World Cup | VailDaily.com

High-tech World Cup

Traci J. Macnamara

When Vail and Beaver Creek last hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, it was 1999, and the World Wide Web existed in its early stages. Within this seemingly magical virtual realm, people were beginning to post digital content and search for information online at painfully slow rates of speed. The Vail Valley Foundation created and maintained a basic website for the event, and several VVF staff members shared the same email address.

“The 1999 World Ski Championships were very much not a digital event,” says Ceil Folz, President of the 2015 Organizing Committee. “But it’s a different world now, and current infrastructure will allow a larger global audience than ever before to watch and even participate in the 2015 World Ski Championships.”

Participate? Yes. And while audience participation might not seem as thrilling as being out there careening down a racecourse at top speed, social media and other interactive technologies give ski racing enthusiasts exciting ways to be involved. So whether you like to participate in ski racing from the comforts of your couch or whether you like to be closer to the action, look for these ways to experience the spirit of 2015.

2015 TELEVISION BROADCASTING

The television-broadcasting realm has evolved leaps and bounds since 1999, and the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships already has the honor of having secured the biggest television coverage commitment ever for a worldwide ski racing event. NBC’s alpine-only coverage will be greater than what it was for the most recent Olympics, and the 2015 events are expected to draw in close to one billion viewers worldwide, with 25 hours of domestic coverage. The 2015 television graphics package will be impressive, current, and up-to-date, with zoom-in and aerial shots that promise to offer viewers a greater understanding of the courage and skill it takes to race at a world-class level.

THE ANTELOPE CAMERA

Standout television coverage will be made possible, in part, by recent developments in Antelope camera technology. Antelope cameras are designed to offer extreme slow motion footage, which allows viewers to see previously unrevealed details on live television. Such hyper slow motion footage can show how close skiers get to the ground as they speed through turns or how high they put their skis on edge. Antelope cameras also make it possible to view slow-motion replays that can reveal how a racer’s skis vibrate and bend at different times throughout turn. This level of detail is exciting to watch in a technical sport like ski racing, and it adds to a television viewer’s appreciation of the intricacies involved.

APPS: RESORT APP AND THE 2015 APP

ResortApp is a smartphone application that launched in the spring of 2014 as a premier vacation guide app. With ResortApp, users can access a comprehensive listing of things to do in the Vail area and then make use of maps and GPS functionality to get there. ResortApp will morph into the 2015 app starting with the 2014 Audi Birds of Prey World Cup ski racing events to be held at Beaver Creek in the first week of December, and then after the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, the app will revert back to ResortApp for ongoing use by Vail area visitors and locals alike. These apps are geo-location enabled, so they can help you find your friends when you get separated out on the mountain. Plus, they can guide you to special deals at local shops and point you in the direction of all the events you won’t want to miss.

THE ACTIVELY GREEN 2015 INITIATIVE

Recent technology advances don’t simply allow ski racing fans to have the experience of a lifetime while participating in 2015 events; technology also allows us opportunities to find sustainable solutions so that mountain environments can be enhanced and enjoyed for generations to come. A first-of-its-kind effort, the Actively Green 2015 initiative will support the integration, adoption, and certification of sustainability best practices for at least 100 businesses across the Vail Valley. Actively Green is an innovative community-driven partnership, and technology such as a customized online Sustainability Management System will be implemented for Vail Valley businesses to measure sustainability impacts and offer progress reports of sustainability opportunities and challenges. And that’s good news for the future.

CONNECT AND SHARE WITH 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA

Whether you’re watching jaw-dropping Antelope camera coverage on your home television or cheering athletes on from a sweet slopeside location, you’ll be able to participate in the excitement of 2015 by connecting and sharing on various social media sites. Of course, popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube have already been instrumental in building a global audience leading up to the event. But even more obscure and emerging social media platforms have been enlisted; if you’re connected, then chances are that others are, too. Social media sites allow users to have the latest news, athlete updates, and results — all at their fingertips, wherever they are on the planet. In this way, fans can be more involved than ever before in shaping and sharing the news.