Music, giveaways, food and more bring Birds of Prey Way to life | VailDaily.com

Music, giveaways, food and more bring Birds of Prey Way to life

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Games, interactive media, food and drinks, giveaways and live music will light up Birds of Prey Way in Beaver Creek Village beginning Thursday as part of the Birds of Prey World Cup race weekend, with fireworks over the village on Friday and Saturday nights. Organizers say the future will bring even more events to create an extended celebration of the season.
Dan Davis | Vail Resorts |

EverBank America’s Winter Opening schedule

Thursday, Dec. 3

4-6 p.m. — EverBank America’s Winter Opening Kick-Off Party, Birds of Prey Way in Beaver Creek Village

4-4:30 p.m. — Kettle Kurling World (Tea) Cup registration, ice rink

4:30-6 p.m. – Kettle Kurling World (Tea) Cup tournament, ice rink

4-6 p.m. — Pumphouse food and drink concessions and expo open, Birds of Prey Way

4-6 p.m. — Live music from Hardscrabble, Fountain stage at Birds of Prey Way

Friday, Dec. 4

8 a.m. — VIP & Club experiences open, Red Tail Finish Stadium*

10 a.m.— Birds of Prey Way in Beaver Creek Village opens, with sponsor expo areas

10:45 a.m. — Men’s Downhill Race, Birds of Prey racecourse (EverBank hosts live feed at Birds of Prey Way)

Noon — Free ice-skating in Beaver Creek Village

1-6 p.m. — Pumphouse food and drink concessions open, Birds of Prey Way

2-4 p.m. — Live music from Funky Johnson, Fountain stage at Birds of Prey Way

2-4 p.m. — Downhill Dash Interactive Racecourse, Birds of Prey Way

4-4:30 p.m. — Athlete signings, Birds of Prey Way

4-6 p.m. — Live music from Natural Geometry, Fountain stage at Birds of Prey Way

5:45 p.m. — GoPro, SkiPodz, VIP and U.S. Ski Team giveaways

6 p.m. — Fireworks over Beaver Creek Village (time approximate)

6 p.m. — Birds of Prey Way closes in Beaver Creek Village

6 p.m. — Black Diamond Ball, Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch*

7 p.m. — Warren Miller’s “STREIF: One Hell of a Ride,” Vilar Performing Arts Center*

Saturday, Dec. 5

8 a.m. — VIP & Club experiences open, Red Tail Finish Stadium*

10 a.m. — Birds of Prey Way in Beaver Creek Village opens, with sponsor expo areas

11 a.m. — Men’s Super-G Race, Birds of Prey racecourse (EverBank hosts live feed at Birds of Prey Way)

Noon — Free ice-skating in Beaver Creek Village

1-6 p.m. — Pumphouse food and drink concessions open, Birds of Prey Way

2-4 p.m. — Live music from First Chair, Fountain stage at Birds of Prey Way

2-4 p.m. — Downhill Dash Interactive Racecourse, Birds of Prey Way

3 p.m. — Warren Miller’s “STREIF: One Hell of a Ride,” Vilar Performing Arts Center*

4-4:30 p.m. — Athlete signings, Birds of Prey Way

4-6 p.m. — Live music from Renegade Sons, Fountain stage at Birds of Prey Way

5:45 p.m. — GoPro, SkiPodz, VIP and U.S. Ski Team giveaways

6 p.m. — Fireworks over Beaver Creek Village (time approximate)

6 p.m. — Birds of Prey Way closes in Beaver Creek Village

7 p.m. — Warren Miller’s “STREIF: One Hell of a Ride,” Vilar Performing Arts Center*

Sunday, Dec. 6

8 a.m. — VIP & Club experiences open, Red Tail Finish Stadium*

9:45 a.m. — Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1, Birds of Prey racecourse (EverBank hosts live feed at Birds of Prey Way)

10 a.m. — Birds of Prey Way in Beaver Creek Village opens, with sponsor expo areas

Noon — Free ice-skating in Beaver Creek Village

12:45 p.m. — Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2, Birds of Prey racecourse (EverBank hosts live feed at Birds of Prey Way)

1-4 p.m. — Pumphouse food and drink concessions open, Birds of Prey Way

4 p.m. — Birds of Prey Way closes in Beaver Creek Village

if there’s one thing that this town knows how to do, it’s throw a party, and Beaver Creek has a big one planned for this year’s Birds of Prey World Cup.

The main attraction of the coming weekend has always been the races on the mountain, with crowds of spectators making their way up to Beaver Creek and to Redtail Stadium to cheer on racers at the finish line. This year, however, organizers are rolling out the red carpet for spectators and offering a festival atmosphere, giveaways, interactive displays and free concerts in Beaver Creek Village for all ages.

Opening night

The events begin on Thursday with the EverBank America’s Winter Opening Kick-Off Party.

The party gets under way Thursday afternoon with a winter sport brand new to the valley — the Kettle Kurling World (Tea) Cup tournament on the Beaver Creek ice rink. Teams of two are encouraged to sign up, and there are prizes for the top four teams.

“It’s like the sport of curling with tea kettles on the ice rink,” said Shelley Woodworth, of the Vail Valley Foundation, which is putting on the event. “It’s kind of the lawn game version, and we thought it would be something fun and quirky that all ages could participate in.”

Right after the tournament, the first concert of the weekend starts up, featuring local band Hardscrabble. Friday features bands Funky Johnson and Natural Geometry, and Saturday brings First Chair and Renegade Sons. All of the concerts are free and open to the public.

Birds of Prey Way

Spectators can’t miss the festivities in the village if they’re going to see the races. This year, buses from the parking lots will drop spectators off at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and they’ll make their way through the heart of the village to the Covered Bridge, where shuttles will bring people up to the races.

That walk through the village has been dubbed Birds of Prey Way and is chock-full of activities designed to mimic the Birds of Prey race course.

“People will get a taste of the race course by showing them different spots and the history behind it. There will be dynamic spots with places for video. You’ll see footage of World Cup athletes going through spots like Russi’s Ride, the Golden Eagle jump and the finish area, and you’ll hear them talking about what it’s like to be on those sections,” said Mac Garnsey, Vail Valley Foundation’s director of operations.

On Friday and Saturday, the corridor will transform into a production called the Downhill Dash, for which a few lucky participants will be chosen each day. Here’s how it works: Participants sit in a cart-like float and get pushed through Birds of Prey Way to find out what it’s like to experience the course from a racer’s point of view. The “racers” will get a coach and feel the sensation of soaring over The Brink, screaming through turns and approaching the finish line. There, like the real racers, they’ll get whisked away to talk to the press, photographed on the podium, and they’ll even get to pop some celebratory champagne.

“It will be a full theatrical experience,” Garnsey said. “I think the finish will be especially memorable. When they come through the village, the course will open up, and they’ll experience the crowd and the noise. It’ll be a fun experience getting to see and hear what it feels like for the racers on course.”

Don’t forget to stick around for the giveaways before the evening concerts, too. Prizes include VIP tickets for the following day’s races, a GoPro, a season of service from ski valet company SkiPodz and a U.S. Ski Team VIP swag bag.

There will be lots of action throughout the day in the village, with a live stream of the race coverage and food and drink for sale at The Pumphouse concession stand. Various village restaurants will also have their doors and decks open with food and drink specials. Kids can also enjoy free ice skating Friday, Saturday and Sunday at noon.

More to come

The festivities surrounding this year’s Birds of Prey races are just the beginning of what organizers hope will be a large two-week festival that includes more races, parties and marquee concerts — much like the atmosphere during the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships last February.

The plans were also inspired by the now discontinued American Ski Classic, which was a Vail mainstay for decades, and the atmosphere surrounding World Cup races in Europe, where ski racing is extremely popular.

“In Europe, they really know how to do the World Cups. The whole town or village gets into the ski races, and we want to bring some of that here,” Woodworth said.

“We want to celebrate ski racing as it should be, and hopefully keep fans in Beaver Creek Village a little longer to experience the fun.”

Assistant Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at mwong@vaildaily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.