Vail Daily column: World Championships around the corner
The Winter Olympic Games have wrapped up and our local athletes represented our valley well and certainly lived up to the Olympic standards with grace.
While it’s doubtful that anyone misses the tape-delayed coverage, many winter sports enthusiasts are a bit let down after the two weeks of events and energy from Sochi, Russia. Fear not, locals and visitors, for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are right around the corner.
This will be the fourth championship hosted in the United States and, impressively, the third hosted in the Vail Valley.
We are fortunate in the Vail Valley to be home to so many wonderful events, from this week’s Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, to the USA Pro Challenge, Birds of Prey and, of course, our wonderful summer cultural events including Bravo! Vail and Vail International Dance Festival. It’s rare that a community our size has such a wide array of impressive special events, each of which build our brand and increase awareness of our community as a best-in-class destination.
What Can We Do?
The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are 332 short days away. What can we do leading up to the event?
If you are visiting this weekend, then the answer is easy: Book your return trip. The event is not to be missed — it’s second only to the Olympics in terms of winter alpine sports. Imagine every alpine event from the Olympics taking place right here in Beaver Creek and Vail.
Not convinced? I’m biased, but we offer the best resort experience for an event such as the World Championships. Where else can you find such an intimate environment that offers up close experiences with the athletes participating? The races all have free attendance, and the energy level at the events is incredible. Speaking of free, concerts and events will be taking place throughout the valley.
Contrary to what you may think, an event of this size has a pretty small impact on mountain operations and, unlike the typical World Cup circuit experience, you can even ski into the venue.
Last, but certainly not least, from a visitor perspective, we are fortunate to have the best U.S. Ski Team ever. Don’t miss out on watching locals including Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn and the rest of the U.S. team compete on their home turf.
Join the world (800 million viewers worldwide and 70-plus participating countries) — we’ll look forward to seeing you back in Vail and Beaver Creek Feb. 2-15.
As for locals, it is important for Vail Valley residents and business operators to act as brand ambassadors. Customer service and taking great care of our visitors is always a priority and doubly so for the 2015 events. We’re inviting the world to our home and we want to be as welcoming and accommodating as possible.
There are a variety of local initiatives around 2015 that allow businesses to get engaged and prepared for the World Championships, including the Actively Green 2015 program and the town of Vail’s new The Road to 2015: Fix It, Paint It, Clean It, Improve It program.
The Alpine World Ski Championships are an investment in our future. In 1989 and 1999, the championships resulted in a significant influx of international visitors as a result of the great media coverage.
Colorado is easier than ever to get to — with direct flights from Iceland (connecting to dozens of European cities) and Tokyo. This international access creates a great opportunity for the Vail Valley to use the World Championships as a springboard to increasing our international visitation.
The 2015s will be here before we know it. Don’t be caught off guard — start preparing now to help our community welcome the world.
Chris Romer is the president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership.