Vail Daily column: Looking toward the legacy
As we head into the final months until we celebrate the opening ceremonies of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships, it is probably going to seem a little strange that I’m taking this opportunity to talk about legacy. Legacy, after all, is something that is left behind, so it could be argued that until these championships have been completed, there is no legacy to talk about.
But truth be told, we are hosting these championships because of a legacy: the legacy of the Vail Valley’s ski racing history, the legacy of past World Championships held here and the legacy of those who founded Vail and Beaver Creek in the first place. All of these components came together when we were bidding for these championships four years ago.
Because of the 1989 World Championships, the world got to learn about us. We were able to showcase our excellent skiing terrain, our ability to go big on big events, our enthusiasm and passion for the sport and our commitment to excellence. That legacy most certainly came into play when the FIS awarded us the 1999 championships and FIS Council entrusted the 2015 event to our community because of the legacy we came to them with as part of the bid.
In addition, some of what will be so great about our championships will also come from legacy. We will have a strong U.S. Ski Team that quite possibly could field medal contenders in every event.
The strength of today’s U.S. Ski Team has much to do with the legacy of those who came before. Phil and Steve Mahre, Tamara McKinney, Picabo Street, Daron Rahlves, Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga … the list goes on and on. These and many more Ski Team alumni have left an indelible legacy for those who will race our courses in February. Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and hopefully Bode Miller … their success is built upon the legacy of those who came before them.
FRAMEWORK OF 2015
A final point is that these championships are already building their legacy. With a record 25 hours of domestic television, improvements to our community in every way, the construction of a new lady’s downhill in North America, the new Talons Restaurant at the base of Birds of Prey and the building of our 15ers, the volunteer corps that will deliver these championships, we see the framework of 2015’s legacy already underway.
So, as we all pull together these final days, rest assured that on Feb. 15, our legacy will already be in place. You will have given something to your community that will have a lasting impact for a very long time to come.
We are hosting these championships because in so many ways, international ski racing is our birthright here in the Vail Valley. Together we will leave our own legacy for the next generation of our community, for the next big celebration of our community and for the next World Championships.
Ceil Folz is president of the Vail Valley Foundation and president of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. The 2015 World Championships are scheduled for Feb. 2-15.