Vail Daily column: Valley’s support elevates ski racing
Making It Possible
Editor’s note: Each month, the Vail Valley Foundation will be submitting a column from a community leader, partner or member of its organization on the topic of “making it possible.” With the Birds of Prey World Cup race week set for Tuesday through Dec. 6 in Beaver Creek, the series opens with ideas on what’s possible for the future of skiing and ski racing in the Vail Valley from United States Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw.
For more than 40 years, the Vail Valley Foundation has been a key player in “making it possible” for U.S. Ski Team athletes and helping elevate the sport of alpine skiing in the United States. As a competitor in the 1989 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Vail and Beaver Creek, I vividly remember racing on International, now called Lindsey’s, and crossing the finish line in front of thousands of cheering fans.
U.S. Ski Team stars Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and Travis Ganong experienced this feeling on a whole new level at the 2015 World Championships as they hammered down Birds of Prey and Raptor, bringing home five total medals for the USA. With over 220,000 spectators and 800 million television viewers, including record live audiences in America, the 2015 Worlds were the most successful showcase of the sport in the United States to date.
Rich in History
Vail is a town rich in ski racing history. Ski and Snowboard Club Vail has provided thousands of athletes with the opportunity to learn the sport and achieve their dreams, whether that’s making the U.S. national team or winning a local race. Since 1967, the Vail Valley has been a regular host to the Audi FIS Ski World Cup tour. Since the development of Birds of Prey, U.S. athletes have seen a tremendous amount of success on iconic course, capturing 26 World Cup podiums on Birds of Prey and Raptor, including a five-win streak by Ted Ligety.
On the Next Level
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association values its investment in World Cup ski racing at Vail and Beaver Creek because of the partnership with the Vail Valley Foundation that continues to elevate the sport of alpine skiing to the next level. Securing extensive broadcast coverage of events and engaging with new audiences via traditional and social media will be a priority as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World Cup in Beaver Creek next season, travel to Pyeongchang for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and beyond.
I would like to thank the Vail Valley Foundation for its continued support of our organization and the sport of alpine skiing in America and for making it possible for our athletes to achieve best in the world success and for our fans to become captivated with ski racing.
See you on the slopes this season!
Tiger Shaw is president and CEO of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.