Welcome to the 2004 American Ski Classic | VailDaily.com

Welcome to the 2004 American Ski Classic

Sophie LeFranc-Duvillard of France celebrates after a run during the 2003 Legends Ski Race at the American Ski Classic in Golden Peak.

This event combines the thrill of both professional and amateur ski racing with an array of entertainment options for fans of all ages. In its 22nd year, the American Ski Classic is the oldest and largest skiing competition and festival of its kind in North America.

The event culminates with a charity gala benefiting The Heuga Center, Shaw Regional Cancer Center, Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation and the Vail Valley Foundation.

The racing action begins on Thursday with Olympian and world champion skiers competing in the Legends Giant Slalom at Golden Peak in Vail at 10 a.m. The race is free for spectators, family-friendly and rich with opportunities for autographs and up-close encounters with the Legends.

The Legends will gather again that evening to celebrate our 2004 Legend of Honor, Bob Beattie ” one of the most influential and important figures in the development and promotion of skiing.

As head coach of the University of Colorado Ski Team, Beattie clinched two NCAA national championships in 1959 and 1960. During a nine-year stint as head coach of the U.S. Ski Team, he produced greats such as gold medalists Billy Kidd and Jimmy Heuga.

He created the “Bob System,” a point system used to formulate ski racing starting positions, expanded and promoted the National Standard Race (NASTAR) and served as the commissioner for 30 years, founded the World Pro Racing Tours, was the executive director of the International Ski Racers Association and the founder of Bob Beattie Summer Racing Camps at Oregon’s Mt. Bachelor.

He also was the commentator for ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” during the 1976, 1980, and 1984 Winter Olympics. He’s authored three books on skiing and racing, and is the president of World Wide Ski Corporation. He was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1986.

The racing competition continues on Friday and Saturday with the Celebrity Ford Cup, a series of dual-format races, with teams of five including celebrities, participants from across the globe, and legendary ski athletes. The Ford Cup races are also free for spectators and start at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The apres activity of choice on Friday after a day at the races is the Gorsuch Tea Dance.

After the race on Saturday, don’t miss the Future Legends Race at 1:30 p.m., featuring the children of celebrities, legends and sponsors. The snow mascots, giveaways and skiing tykes make this free public event a great family affair.

On Saturday night, participants gather for one final party, Mountains of Hope. Proceeds from the evening will be split equally between four Eagle County nonprofit organizations; The Heuga Center, Shaw Regional Cancer Center, Steadman-Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation and the Vail Valley Foundation.

Popular television host Chris Harrison from ABC’s “The Bachelorette” will emcee the event on Saturday at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek at 7 p.m. The event features an exciting live auction, silent auction, dinner and dancing to Fredi and the Soulshakers.

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