Vail Daily letter: Topography, not politics |

Vail Daily letter: Topography, not politics

Brooks Wallace
Vail, CO, Colorado

Michael Cacioppo, first of all I’d like to say I admire your perseverance and tenacity for speaking out in regard to valley issues and concerns in your Business Briefs from a conservative’s point of view. You lay it on the line and make no bones about it.

Regarding the article “Unbelievable” from your last issue on the 2015 World Championships and the dilemma of all the competitions being held at Beaver Creek: The answer is easy. It’s the topography. I’m sure you probably know this, but for anyone who didn’t know or is new in town, listen up, and feel free to jump in and correct me if I’m wrong.

Vail, due to its topography, may no longer meet the FIS World Cup requirements on any of its runs for vertical pitch, length, vertical rise or any of those other technical things that comprise a World Cup racecourse, not even at Golden Peak or International. Plus the base areas are too cramped.

Now it’s primarily a training and development facility as well as a tourist emporium.

But from a skier’s point of view, Vail is the jewel of the Rockies in terms of grandeur and mass. The name “Vail” is the word everyone associates with in regard to the entire valley. It’s the economic engine that drives not only Vail but Beaver Creek.

You make some interesting points, however. But still Vail is the big daddy, the hub and party central, not race central anymore. In Vail there’s something for almost everyone: groomers, glades, trees, bumps, backcountry, you name it. You just need to know how to get around. There’s even some good cliffing to be had for all the hard corps out there.

Just nothing for the World Cuppers, ironically. So now comes Beaver Creek, Vail’s baby sister, who’s not a baby anymore. She’s in her 30s now, originally purchased, leased and developed for the ’80 Olympics. Needless to say, Colorado didn’t win the bid, and they pulled the plug.

In the beginning, when Vail was a growing and somewhat reckless adolescent, baby sister Beaver Creek was being developed and shaped for the things to come.

Enter Harry Frampton, developer extraordinaire, and then eventually John Garnsey, Mr. Joe Race, who became the head of Beaver Creek. Duh! It’s my guess that Beaver Creek met the requirements for a competitive World Cup venue in steepness, length of course, jumps, flats, vertical rise, moving people around, etc., and the base-area-finish-line facility was more suitable than anything at Vail.

That’s the dilemma, and the visionaries probably saw it a long time ago. In addition, most of the communications and infrastructure are in, and the runs are great not only for the downhill but for all the other alpine disciplines, as well, with the addition of Grouse Mountain. And a new, bigger and better base facility at Red Tail Camp is on the drawing board.

I guess they don’t call the Birds of Prey America’s downhill for nothing.

If they’re going to put any money into this event, it’s going to be at Beaver Creek.

Besides, Vail has recently detected some deficiencies in some of the local cable companies’ work practices that could hinder such a large event. Don’t know if that’s a real issue or not.

So when they call it the “2015 Vail/Beaver Creek World Alpine Ski Championships,” it’s a figure of speech and all about marketing. Vail is “party central,” and Beaver Creek is “race central.” The two go hand in hand. At least that is my point of view after having been here for 28 years and watching this place evolve.

Still, 2015 is a ways out. Let’s hope we can make it till then. Until 2015, party down in Vail! Or should I say, “Wait until 2015 to party down in Vail”? Nah!

Brooks Wallace


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