Possible Olympic venues in Vail and Beaver Creek? | AspenTimes.com

Possible Olympic venues in Vail and Beaver Creek?

Randy Wyrick
The Vail Daily
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colo. – Most of us really like the Olympics and say we should host them in Colorado.

Local resident Harry Frampton – managing partner of East West Partners and the “Frampton” of the local real estate giant Slifer, Smith and Frampton – is part of the Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee. The committee’s survey released last week suggests Colorado should go after a 2022 Olympic bid.

The survey found that 77 percent of us really want to host the Olympics.

“We on the committee wanted to get a good sense of whether the Olympics would be a good thing for Colorado,” Frampton said.

Colorado went down this road once before – voters said no to the 1976 Winter Olympics. So the Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee hired a research firm to ask Coloradans what they thought.

The committee had fairly strict marching orders: Do not slant the questions to push the results, like the political polls typically do.

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“They didn’t slant it one way or another,” Frampton said.

The committee did not pick venues as part of this process, Frampton said. The charge was to determine if this was a good thing for Colorado to do and if it’s economically feasible.

“Certainly, Vail-Beaver Creek would be an extremely strong candidate. I cannot imagine that, if the Olympics came to Colorado, that the ski races would not be held in Vail and Beaver Creek,” Frampton said.

Sue Baldwin, director of event development and marketing for the Metro Denver Sports Commission, wasn’t rising to the bait about where the skiing events might be but spoke highly of Vail and Beaver Creek.

“Given its world championship history, there are so many positives for Vail. But there are 26 ski resorts, and it would be political suicide to pick one at this stage,” Baldwin said.

The timing favors the local ski areas. The World Alpine Ski Championships are scheduled for February 2015. The vote for the 2022 Winter Olympics would be that June.

“It’s a chance to show off,” Frampton said.

It’s a long, winding road that leads to the Winter Olympics.

First, the United States Olympic Committee has not decided if it wants to field a candidate for the 2022 Olympics.

The Olympic Committee has to submit its intent to bid to the International Olympic Committee by September 2013, Baldwin said.

If the Olympic Committee jumps into the fray, it’s up to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper to decide if Denver and Colorado want to jump in, too.

And Colorado would not be alone.

“There are likely to be three other candidates: Salt Lake-Park City, Lake Placid and Reno, Nev.,” Frampton said. “Colorado would be the fourth.”

That would kick off a year-long, four-way free-for-all to woo the Olympic Committee.

Once the Olympic Committee reduces the gang of four to its anointed one, that venue gets to spend two years competing against venues all over the globe.

“You compete for two years on the international stage,” Frampton said.

So far, the only announced international candidate is Norway. But there will soon be more, Frampton said.

“Essentially, a bid is an international marketing campaign showcasing Denver, the mountains and everything we have going for us here,” Baldwin said.

The Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee spent five months assessing four key aspects of bidding for and hosting an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, including community strengths and benefits, financial commitments, operational requirements and host city guarantees.

In other words, what does it cost to bid and what’s in it for us?

A bid would cost between $27 million and $45 million, and most of that would come from the private sector, Baldwin said.

The more the U.S. Olympic Committee requires, the higher you get to the top of that bidding range.

The committee announced Friday that a task force will take a look at the cost and benefits for the 2022 Winter Olympics and the 2024 Summer Olympics and whether we should bid for one, both or neither, Baldwin said.

“In Colorado, we have so much Olympic institutional knowledge. Companies here handle Super Bowls, Olympics and so many other major events. For any bid, there would be a lot of local work,” Baldwin said.

Hickenlooper has said it has to be great for the state or Colorado is not doing it. The committee decided to tie it to the theme of health – physical health, financial health, etc.

For now, we wait to see what the Olympic Committee decides, Frampton said, then we wait to see what Hancock and Hickenlooper say.

“In the meantime, hang on and pray for snow,” Frampton said.

rwyrick@vaildaily.com