No more World Cup downhills at Vail
VAIL, Colorado ” Austrian Renate Goetschl came screaming down into Vail Village in 1999 to win the World Championship downhill.
A decade earlier, American Tamara McKinney’s downhill finish on International in Vail helped her win a gold in the World Championship combined.
Don’t expect another high-speed finish in Vail in 2013, when Eagle County aims to host another world skiing championships.
Space limitations at Vail Village at the base of the mountain now preclude Vail from hosting World Cup speed events, officials say.
The downhill and super-G, for both men and women, are slated for Beaver Creek. Slalom might be the only event in Vail.
“Vail was a tight finish for us in 1999,” said John Dakin, vice president of communications for the Vail Valley Foundation, which is organizing the championship bid. “It’s obviously true that, with the new various iterations of skis and sidecuts, these guys are carrying a lot more speed than they were even eight or nine years ago.”
Vail Resorts’ new Front Door development at the base of Vail Village, which includes a skier services building, a private club and condos, may have increased those constraints.
“The building has changed the dimensions of the finish area,” Dakin said, adding that it wasn’t clear whether the building alone precludes speed races from happening in Vail.
Still, Vail remains in the running to host the “technical” events, slalom and giant slalom.
“We feel strongly that Vail needs to be included as part of the schedule,” Dakin said.
Vail Councilman Andy Daly said Vail apparently couldn’t have met the speed-discipline requirements even before the Front Door was built.
Daly said the atmosphere in Vail Village during the 1999 World Championships was “electric,” and lamented Vail’s increasing inability to host World Cup races.
“That’s definitely a big disappointment,” Daly said. “It really gets down to the fact that the FIS (International Ski Federation) increased their requirements not only for the actual finish area, but also for the crowd and event areas behind the finish area, and that’s where we apparently don’t have the space.”
The 2013 bid includes plans to build a new, women’s downhill course at Beaver Creek, which Dakin said could be among the best in the world.
The Birds of Prey men’s downhill course at Beaver Creek, which hosts a World Cup race each December, is already considered among the most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit.
“The reason our proposal has all the speed events in Beaver Creek is that we have better terrain at the Beav’,” Dakin said.
Slalom and giant slalom remain possibilities for Vail, Dakin said.
But Vail Mountain said it only wants the slalom events.
“Vail can accommodate opening and closing ceremonies and the women’s and men’s slalom events if we are awarded the 2013 World Alpine Championships,” spokeswoman Jen Brown wrote in an e-mail.
The host of the 2013 championships will be selected this spring. Vail/Beaver Creek is competing against Schladming, Austria; Cortina, Italy; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or email@example.com.