Ski racing excitement abounds in Vail Valley
EAGLE COUNTY — With the World Championships now upon us, excitement was in the air over the weekend.
At Golden Peak in Vail, the stands alone were enough to amaze, not to mention the athletes present. Casually crossing paths with both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin at Vail on Saturday, visitors like Kathy Carter of Arlington Heights, Illinois, were inspired.
“It was really great getting to talk to Lindsey Vonn at Golden Peak,” she said. “She is an inspiration and she works so hard.”
Meanwhile, in Championships Plaza at Solaris, passersby like Elana Fraser were able to take in a little show — the percussion and brass of the Opening Ceremonies band rehearsing.
“The band was really great to watch,” she said. “I’m excited for Opening Ceremonies.”
PLAN IT OUT
On the mountain, local residents took runs while contemplating how they will schedule out his next two weeks.
Skiing Beaver Creek on Sunday, longtime locals Jan Govreau and John Miskell took some time to look at the course from a few different areas.
“I think Larkspur might be one of the best areas to view the actual descent on the course,” Miskell said.
Jeanette Saylor, of Frisco, said after seeing the course herself at Beaver Creek, she especially impressed by the athletes.
“It’s just amazing the way these kids can ski these days,” she said.
Mike Charles, owner of Maximum Comfort Pool and Spa, was enjoying the sunny slopes of Vail on Sunday. He said he is going to try and catch every single event at the World Championships — every training and competition run and every award ceremony, as well.
“I have service guys going up to Beaver Creek every morning so I’m going to have them deliver me,” he said.
NATIONS TEAM EXCITEMENT
Of all that spectator action, Charles said one of the events he’s looking forward to the most is the Nations Team event at Golden Peak Stadium on Feb. 10.
“I think it’s going to be one of the most exciting events,” he said.
Ivo Riesco, of Switzerland, checking out the action at Golden Peak on Friday, said he also thinks the Nations Team event will be among the best for the average spectator here in the U.S.
“I think it’s a perfect event for the spectators here,” he said. “You can see the competition head-to-head, one against the other, you can see who wins, it’s perfect.”
“I’m looking forward to watching the team event,” said U.S. Ski Team athlete Laurenne, who was training at Golden Peak this week. “That will be really cool, I think that’s a great venue for it, too. I guess it’s kind of similar to Schladming or Garmisch, where they have highways basically pass right through their town. It’s very rare for an American resort.”
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.