Editorial: Vail Valley welcomes back ski racing with annual Birds of Prey event
It’s kind of hard to believe, but this week’s International Ski Federation (FIS) Birds of Prey World Cup races will be the first time since 2015 that the world’s best male ski racers have come to the Vail Valley.
While Birds of Prey is well known on the international circuit, the 2016 event had to be canceled due to lack of snow. That means the last time we had these male speedsters in the valley was Birds of Prey 2015. That was early December of that year, but February featured the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships. It was a pretty good year for Vail Valley ski racing.
There isn’t a lot of recreational snow at the moment, but folks from FIS have pronounced themselves pleased with the condition of the course at Beaver Creek.
Expect a day of training for the downhill either Wednesday, Nov. 29 or Thursday, Nov. 30. That’s going to be essential for the downhill competitors. After that, expect the world’s fastest men on snow to put on a show on the steep, fast course.
International ski racing has a long history in the Vail Valley, from Vail Mountain’s earliest days. The international traveling circus hasn’t come every year in the 55 years since Vail Mountain opened, but it’s been here plenty.
We’ve had men and women racing at Vail and Beaver Creek for a long time, and the events tend to go quite well.
Credit for that goes to the Vail Valley Foundation, which brings the actual races to the valley. Volunteers and staffers work tirelessly to make sure the courses are both challenging for competitors and thrilling for spectators. We expect the same this week.
If you’re among the valley’s visitors this week, then welcome. Enjoy the racing, as well as the other events the foundation has put together for what’s now called America’s Winter Opening.
If you live here, then try to get up to the races. It’s always a thrill to watch the best athletes in their sport giving their all.
When you aren’t watching ski racing, taste some beer, check out the gear tent and maybe try your hand at curling.
It’ll be fun.
Welcome back, ski racing.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is comprised of Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll and Business Editor Scott Miller.