Vail Daily column: A bright future lies ahead for valley
Editor’s note: Each month, the Vail Valley Foundation submits a column from a community leader, partner or member of the foundation on the topic of “making it possible,” encouraging the community to consider what’s possible for our future.
Ski racing and snowsports of all kinds have been woven into the fabric of Vail and the Vail Valley since the very beginning. From hosting coach Bob Beattie and the U.S. Ski Team for a training camp in 1962 to today’s Audi Birds of Prey World Cup, international ski racing put Vail on the map. Hot dog contests on Look Ma, the U.S. Freeskiing Open of the early 2000s, the innovative Session snowboard event and today’s Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships have featured the world’s best snowsports athletes, many who call Vail home and practice on our slopes.
More than A marketing slogan
Regular visits from the world’s best skiers and snowboarders, whether training at Golden Peak in November or partaking in the competitions hosted by Vail Resorts, the Vail Valley Foundation and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, inspire the youth of our valley. There is no better place in the world to dream of being an Olympic or X Games medalist, World Cup winner or NCAA All-American. Vail, “like nothing on Earth” is more than a marketing slogan. Annually, thousands of young competitors come to experience Vail for their first time, returning countless times as adults and with their families for decades to come.
Through the annual Audi Birds of Prey World Cup and the 1989, 1999 and 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, Vail and Beaver Creek have progressed the sport worldwide. The incredible excitement at the parallel format Team Event has led the International Ski Federation to push for more such events as part of the World Cup and Olympic program. Imagine what’s possible in the Vail Valley. Picture the excitement of a parallel event featuring Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin under the lights at Golden Peak.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
There are other exciting possibilities, too. For the more than 600 kids of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, there is a strong need for expanded terrain for training and competition areas. A facility that was suitable for training 150 kids many years ago is bursting at the seams to meet the needs of our growing number of aspiring local Olympians. Moving this project forward will require cooperation from many partners, but I believe a successful outcome in this arena will benefit all of our athletic programming and allow us to continue cultivating our next generation of athletes.
All of us who call the Vail Valley home were first attracted by the unparalleled mountain and snow conditions. In addition to world-class facilities and schools, we have a responsibility to ensure that all kids who grow up in this paradise have access to snowsports and that those with the passion to compete are able to do so and progress in a means-blind fashion. It will take an effort of the entire community, including our local governments, businesses, schools, youth organizations and philanthropists to insure that diversity, accessibility and possibility to advance are unlimited. If not here, then where?
When I look ahead to what’s possible in this valley, I see a bright future — but also many challenges. Fortunately, I believe we are well equipped to take on these challenges and show some of the same innovative and cooperative spirit that, from its very beginning, made this valley such an incredible place to live, work and ski.
Institutions such as the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Resorts and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail play a critical role in what’s to come and so do the members of our community who give their time and money to creating the wonderful environment we’ve created for ourselves and our children. I’m looking forward to seeing — and taking part in — what comes next.
Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.