The Championships flag passes to St. Moritz | VailDaily.com

The Championships flag passes to St. Moritz

A large American flag is displayed and skiers bring stars into the finish coral as Hazel Miller sings during the Closing Ceremonies of the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships on Sunday in Beaver Creek.
Justin Q. McCarty | Special to the Daily |

BEAVER CREEK — As it turns out, there was one more free concert to enjoy.

When the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships came to a close on Sunday evening, the Colorado Children’s Chorale belted out flawless renditions of Germany and France’s national anthems, in honor of Sunday’s slalom podium finishers who hail from those nations. And then, as a surprise to those who stayed, Hazel Miller sung “God Bless America” under snowy skies with a massive United States flag stretched out over the snow in front of her.

“I’m glad I stayed,” said Bill Kyrioglou, who came in for the day from Dillon to see the men’s slalom but decided to stay for the Closing Ceremonies. Kyrioglou has been to five Olympics.

“It feels like the Olympics. Like a mini-Olympics, right in my back yard,” he said of the World Championships. “They did such a good job organizing everything.”

‘RAISED THE BAR’

Indeed, the organization of the event was a theme of the closing comments from Hugo Wetzel, president of Switzerland’s city St. Moritz’s Committee for the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, which played the part of the receiver in the ceremonial passing of the torch, or flag, at Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies.

“This is a very proud moment for every St. Moritzer — to receive the flag of the FIS for the next World Championships through the hands of such a great organizer as Vail,” Wetzel said. “You have raised the bar very high.”

NEXT GENERATION

Speaking on behalf of the International Ski Federation, one of its vice presidents, Dexter Paine, said first and foremost, thanks goes out to the Vail Valley Foundation and Ceil Folz for making the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships happen.

“We’ve seen greater support for ski racing in the United States than ever before,” Paine said. “We’ve seen the largest crowds ever to come to live ski racing events at this event.”

In closing, Folz said it’s up to the next generation to follow the Vail Valley Foundation’s lead in their organization of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

“We want the next generation to follow our lead, then push past everything we’ve done,” she said. “It’s a ritual as old as ourselves.”