Your guide to navigating the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships
February 2, 2015
VAIL — They're almost here, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, and you should probably get a plan together on how you're going to watch the races and get from place to place in what's expected to be a rather large crowd. Organizers are anticipating about 150,000 people in and out of the valley between Feb. 2 and 15. Here's your guide to navigating the coming weeks of races like a champ.
With the exception of the qualification races for giant slalom and slalom and the Team Event (which will take place at Golden Peak in Vail), all races take place at Beaver Creek. Be aware that the Beaver Creek parking garages — Village Hall and Villa Montane — will be closed to the public throughout the event. The Rodeo Lot between Walmart and City Market on East Beaver Creek Blvd in Avon will be the primary public parking area and the Bear Lot at the base of Beaver Creek will serve overflow parking. Both open at 7:30 a.m.
Award ceremonies and concerts take place in front of Solaris in Vail Village and the paid parking garages in Lionshead and Vail Village will be open with overflow on the Frontage Roads.
World Championships organizers encourage spectators to take buses rather than drive to events. A free express bus will run between the Vail Transportation Center, Avon Station and Beaver Creek every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to midnight daily. All town of Vail, town of Avon and ECO buses will run their normal routes.
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Getting to the races
The races, all free to watch, finish at mid-mountain, which means you have to ski, hike or take a bus to get there. Free buses run between the covered bridge in Beaver Creek Village to the finish area (from where there is a significant climb up several flights of stairs into the stadium) every 10 minutes before and after the race. You can snowshoe or hike up to the finish area on the 2015 Trail (Dally) from Beaver Creek Village. It's a great way to get your blood pumping, especially since there's a cheering committee with pins and prizes halfway up. Depending on your fitness level, it takes about 45 minutes up and about 15 minutes down. You can, of course, also reach the finish area on skis or snowboard. From Centennial Chair, ski down Redtail. From The Westin Gondola, take Chairs 15 and 18 then follow signs. From Arrowhead, ski to Bachelor Gulch then take chair 16 or 18 and follow signs.
Where to watch
The finish stadium has 3,500 seats and most are free and available on a first-come basis. There is also a large standing area between the stadium and the finish area and standing areas along the race courses from the Redtail jump down, accessed by hiking up the fence line (make sure you have decent traction on your boots). Proficient skiers and snowboarders can also access viewing areas along the Birds of Prey and Raptor courses by following signs after getting off of Cinch Express chairlift.
The majority of terrain at both Beaver Creek and Vail will be open for skiing during the World Ski Championships. With the exception of the Birds of Prey chairlift and the trails under it used for the Birds of Prey men's course and Raptor women's course, all trails at Beaver Creek will be open for public skiing and snowboarding. At Vail, with the exception of the lower part of Golden Peak, where qualification and team races take place, all trails will be open.
Talons Restaurant, next to the finish stadium at Beaver Creek will house the media center and will be closed to the public throughout the event. Concession stands serving food and beverages will be available on the first level of the stadium.
Various restaurants in Vail will be closed periodically throughout the Championships to accommodate private events, so make sure to call or make a reservation before heading to dinner.
For updates on events, race and transportation schedules, information on parties and restaurant specials, there is a free World Championships app available for your mobile device. Search Vail 2015 in the iTunes app store.