Racers, families bring a world of different perspectives to the World Championships
VAIL — At the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships earlier in February, you likely got to meet world champion skiers. If you were lucky, then you also got to meet some world champion ski parents.
Marguerite and Max Arbez are from Ireland, and during the Championships, they were far from home. But their Irish eyes were smiling as they watched their two children, Tess, 17, and Maxime, 18, doing everything they possibly could to qualify for the slalom and giant slalom during the Championships. Tess and Maxime ski for Ireland.
On the day we met them, Marguerite and Max were in the Redtail Finish Stadium watching the men’s super-G and the women’s downhill training.
The kids weren’t watching much of the races. They were training in Vail and on Spruce Face in Beaver Creek.
Marguerite and Max were watching the races, and fortune smiled on their kids, allowing them a chance to watch their children race in a World Championships. In the end, Tess qualified and raced in both giant slalom and slalom, while Max competed in the giant slalom, but did not complete his first qualification run in the slalom.
No teams are guaranteed a spot in the World Championships events. The fastest skiers race. That’s it. The top 50 individuals get a spot. The next 50 are fought over one gate at a time.
Go fast enough and you’re skiing in the World Championships. If you don’t, then you go home, or wherever the World Cup snow circus heads to next.
Marguerite and Max were in Beaver Creek for a week. That’s a lot of bleacher time, but they say they wouldn’t trade it.
Ask Marguerite whether it’s worth it and she’ll smile a mom smile.
Ask Max and you’ll get a dad answer. He’s a businessman, so he begins with the travel, the time, the expense, the gear … but then he smiles a dad smile and talks about how much fun it is.
“It’s lots of work, but we must support our kids in whatever they choose to do,” he said. “We must be behind them, and they must know we are.”
Before Beaver Creek they were in Austria. From here they’ll head to the next stop on the tour.
Tess and Maxime train in France, since Ireland doesn’t have much of a thriving ski industry.
They’ve been skiing since they were about 3 years old, and they’ll probably race until they go to university, Marguerite said.
Ukrainian racers keep one eye on home
It was a much different race for Ukrainian racers Dmytro Mytsak and Bogdana Matsotska.
Mytsak was already qualified for Beaver Creek’s giant slalom and was trying to qualify for the men’s slalom. (He ended up qualifying and finishing 52nd in the slalom.)
Matsotska said they paid their own way to Vail/Beaver Creek for the World Championships.
“It is very expensive,” she said.
Their families and friends remain home in Ukraine, where the fighting continues. European leaders are trying to grind out a last ditch peace agreement.
“We’re checking the news all the time,” Mytsak said. “You feel it inside.”
Mytsak was born Nov. 8, 1995, in Boryslav, Ukraine. He competed for Ukraine in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and now he’s competed at Beaver Creek/Vail.
So did Matsotska. Her stand in Sochi put her in the spotlight when she pulled out of those Olympics, in support of those fighting and dying in her native Ukraine.
“I don’t want to participate when in my country people die,” Matsotska told The Associated Press at the time.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would be really hard to spark a wildfire anywhere near Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek right now. Still, unattended campfires will always draw attention.