Relaxation reigns before rigors of racing | VailDaily.com

Relaxation reigns before rigors of racing

Sarah Dixon/Special to the Daily

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Though the winners have now gone home with their medals, the Birds of Prey World Cup kicked off in style at the Beaver Creek Tavern Dec. 4 as racers, sponsors and locals sipped and nibbled to celebrate the impending races.

“With major events like the World Cup, it’s important to have social events to go along with it,” said Ceil Folz of the Vail Valley Foundation, organizer of the soiree.

And with Beaver Creek hosting the event for the seventh year straight, throwing the shindig was an old trick.

“I don’t want to say that we have this party down to a science, but there are formulas that you learn that make throwing these parties much easier,” Folz said. “And it’s a nice time to get together with people you may not have seen since last year’s World Cup, so it’s a reunion of sorts.”

And the reunions, according to some regulars, just keep getting better.

“This is the best one yet, the food is better, people are having a very good time,” said Fernando Alves, a six-year kickoff-party attendee.

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Cara Herron, spokesperson for the Vail Valley Foundation, says that the party has a deeper purpose than mere revelry.

“It’s really important to see each other in this social environment, to relax before the racing starts,” said Herron. “Once the racing really starts, things get very serious and focused. So this is an important night to get the weekend started right.”

The kickoff is also a way to thank the sponsors of the event, who generously support the event and treat the Valley to a weekend filled with treats and entertainment.

“One of the purposes of the party is to thank our sponsors for all they are giving to the Valley during this event,” Herron said. “This is essentially an entire weekend of free entertainment and activity.”

From Saturday night’s party at the plaza to free snowshoe rentals to the freedom of sitting front row at the races for – you guessed it – free, the World Cup offers nonstop family fun at no cost.

But the rest of the weekend – and the intense races scheduled therein – seemed far from everyone’s minds during the party. As they reveled to the tunes of performer Brendan McKinney, it seemed the order of the night was to merely have fun.