Vail Daily column: So far so good for worlds
These two weeks highlight human excellence, along with our love for joy, not to mention a good party.
And you know, we spectators, we fans, we have our jobs to do, too. It’s not all about the ski racers, the musicians, the moguls, the celebs and various other VIPs.
Who’s gonna fill those stands, medal ceremonies, concerts, house parties at this hotel or that? We might have the most important job of all. There’s no star or celebrity without an appreciative audience.
The news media alone could fill one of the bigger hotels. They’re a village onto themselves.
At the Vail Daily, we’re pretty much throwing everything we have into the Championships ourselves — on and off the snow. Yep, this is our medal moment, too.
The unofficial kickoff had to be Margie Hamrick and team’s Super Bowl fundraiser at the Four Seasons for Michael Franti and fiancee Sara Agah’s Do It For the Love Foundation. The organizers put it together in about a finger snap, competed capably with a close Super Bowl game without the Broncos for time and enough attention to raise a pirate’s loot. The thing capped off with a raucous concert in the truest Franti standard. That is, full of generosity, good humor and a lot of jumping around.
Promising, and the Alpine World Ski Championships hadn’t even started yet.
The world of ski racing made its way here for our third turn hosting these Championships — the Super Bowl of the sport for the Europeans, still more of a curiosity in the States.
Only this time our skiers are good. Really good. We have the top downhill skier in history in Lindsey Vonn, and maybe the next dominant career star in Mikaela Shiffrin. These locals make a strong case for the excellence of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, by the way. The men’s side is strong, too.
U.S. team strength has to perk our pride in a way that previous Championships here could not and perhaps boost American interest more than in ’89 and ’99.
The opening ceremonies got mixed reviews. Everyone’s a critic, right? But everyone — or nearly everyone, anyway — also was really, really happy to be here. The nation houses were on fire later.
And then we got snow. World Championships are nice and all, but with January on the arid side, each little gift of powder is precious. OK, so a little wind came with it early in the week, buffeting our champ Lindsey back to bronze in the super-G. Bode busted on a gate Thursday all on his own, going for broke, as is his bent — which makes him such a favorite.
Rent gougers felt screwed. Few visitors bit on pricey rentals during the Championships. And few bit on not-so-pricey rentals. Hey, you were warned for months this wasn’t the bonanza you envisioned — all practical evidence from ’99 and ’89 ignored.
OK, so not quite perfect so far. But a whole lotta fun. Speaking of fun, here’s a shout-out to the ski team cheerleaders — there’s a first — including my daughter-in-law’s sister Molly Allard, Vail born and bred. It isn’t that long ago she was starring in the youth musicals.
One thing I love about here is that we’re genuinely world class and at the same time as hometown in all the best ways as can be. Even the celebrities are low key enough here that paparazzi are as little seen as the dodo. Tiger Woods could blend in the crowd to watch his girlfriend tear it up, no doubt hoping some of that rubs off on him soon.
Speaking of excellence, the Vail Valley Foundation is putting the cherry on top since winning the Championships in June 2010. All those years of hard work, often with heart in throat, are paying off in these two weeks with the world of ski racing at our doorstep, having a great time.
And here’s a staggering marker of our community’s commitment to making these Championships memorable: 2,200 volunteers. That’s 5 percent of the full-time population of the whole valley directly involved in putting all this on for the world and close to 10 percent of the upvalley population.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at email@example.com and 970-748-2920.