Vail Daily column: Final World Champs grade: A-minus
Well, it’s over, and there are a lot fewer buses running around Happy Valley this week.
Yet there is already a twinge of sadness now that the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships are in the history books.
The 2,000-plus volunteers deserve a round of applause (they’re having a party tonight just for them at 4 Eagle Ranch), but let’s not forget the few thousand others that were being paid to work their collective tails off these last two weeks.
And the fans. Can’t forget the fans.
We are the 10,000-plus that showed up damn near every day to enjoy the beer, the bus rides, security checks, the uphill hikes, the sausages, the concerts, the awards and, yes, the races and the beer.
Stadium announcer Chris Ernst (who, by the way, is not Doug Lewis) deserves everything he receives for his vocal techniques and ability to come up with some of the most obscure superlatives I’ve heard in years. (He had food analogies for just about every country.)
It was entertaining to read those wanting to bitch about the Opening Ceremonies not being entertaining enough or the national anthem not being patriotic enough. My guess is they’re the type that would probably go out of their way to point out Mikaela was behind during her second and third intervals of her gold medal run last Saturday. Oh, and Bode fell, Lindsey only collected a bronze and they got a sunburn because it was so dang hot.
From the bubble of which I live inside, Barenaked Ladies won the gold as the most entertaining of the free concerts, with Phillip Phillips taking the silver and, surprisingly, CeeLo Green hanging on for the bronze. (Seeing the steam pour off his big ol’ head was by itself worth the price of admission.)
Yes, I am fully aware a few of you saw me at KC and the Sunshine Senior Home Band’s performance, but please understand the lengths that some husbands will go merely to appease a spouse.
While not able to attend every single race, I endured the horror of having to watch a live ski race in standard definition on the Universal Sports channel. Yes, all the cameras were hi-def, but for whatever reason (read: money) the signal was sent over DirecTV in the same quality as we saw in 1999. Luckily NBC carried the all-important second runs in full HD.
The “Grandpa Bode” Audi ad never got old.
I saw Tamara McKinney take gold in the 1989 World Championships combined, Bode’s multiple first-place finishes down Birds of Prey, Daron Rahlves and Bode finishing one-two in 2005, and was even lucky enough to witness Bode in first with three gates to go in the Sestriere Olympic downhill in 2006.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to the excitement of witnessing Brian Williams … no, wait, I mean Ted Ligety, last Friday afternoon as he set the snow ablaze through the final interval of the men’s second GS run.
It defined the word “epic.”
While Vail’s sister city, St. Moritz, Switzerland, will host the 2017 version and Are, Sweden, is already booked for 2019, it’s feasible we could host again as soon as 2021, but don’t hold your breath. Let’s give Ceil Folz and her teams a few weeks to chill out first.
So why the A-minus grade, you ask?
Simple, there’s always room for improvement, no matter the circumstance. An A-plus might allow for (gasp!) egos to get in the way of future decision making, and we all know that never plays a role in Happy Valley politics.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.