Vail Daily column: World Championships were a great success
From the first downhill training run to the thrilling final run of slalom, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek were an extraordinary success. The quality of the competitions, the venues and the images broadcast around the world to, by some estimates, as many as 1 billion viewers have represented ski racing, our community and the United States in the best light imaginable.
The Vail Valley Foundation demonstrated its incredible service to our community by organizing a World Championships of unparalleled professionalism, beauty, drama, entertainment and excitement. The combined efforts of Vail Resorts, the town of Vail and Beaver Creek Resort, where competitions were hosted, and the towns up and down the valley that welcomed the world established a new standard by which such ski events will be measured in the future.
More than 2,200 volunteers, mostly from Eagle County but also hailing from nearly every corner of the world, along with the professional race crews from Beaver Creek and Vail and the coaches, athletes and parents from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail created an environment for the athletes, support staff, media and visitors where sports and sportsmanship could be celebrated, leaving all of us inspired.
TWO OF OUR OWN
We have truly been able to “Dream it, Live it, Share it” for these full and fulfilling two weeks.
Among the amazing displays of athleticism were the medal performances of two of our own. Mikaela Shiffrin’s clutch gold medal in the women’s slalom brought down the house, nearly in sight of her childhood home, and Lindsey Vonn’s kick-off bronze medal in the super-G set the stage for the U.S. Ski Team’s five-medal haul. One athlete took her first turns here on Colorado snow and honed her turning skills on the hard ice of New Hampshire and Vermont. Another started on a little bump in the suburbs of Minneapolis and came to Vail as a 9 year old to learn to glide. Both were here in 1999; Mikaela 3 years old and soon to start out in Ski Club Vail, Lindsey already 14 and inspired by the athletes of the Championships to become a champion herself.
Lindsey became the most winning woman World Cup skier of all time last month, notching her 64th win in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and Mikaela defended her World Championships slalom victory from Schladming, Austria, in 2013. Both are Olympic champions. More importantly, both are exceptional role models for the thousands of young boys and girls who worship them and follow their every move.
One can only wonder which young boy or girl slipping the course or watching from the grandstands is committed to their own dream of a win at the Championships. Maybe it will be fulfilled at the next World Championships to be contested in their own backyard and in front of their family, friends and community. I can’t wait to see.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail conducts Try the Club Free days for prospective members on March 8 for freestyle (moguls), March 14 for alpine and March 22 for freeski and snowboard. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Opportunity Fund provides financial assistance to ensure that any child from the community is able to pursue their dream in snow sports regardless of means. For enrollment information, email Sharon Schmidt at firstname.lastname@example.org