Ski championships in Beaver Creek a sore spot in Vail
VAIL, Colo. – Vail’s role in the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships is still a sore subject for many town leaders and community members who just can’t seem to accept the fact that Vail will not host any races during the two-week event.
Vail Valley Foundation Chairman of the Board Harry Frampton was obviously frustrated Tuesday night as some Vail Town Council members berated the plan that excludes Vail as a racing arena in 2015. The Town Council voted in favor of funding the first installment of $250,000 on first reading but not without a lot of debate over Vail’s role and whether that role could still change.
The Foundation had previously announced that Vail would be the celebration center, while Beaver Creek would serve as the racing center in 2015. Vail council members have been boisterous about their distaste for that plan since it was announced, asking repeatedly why Vail can’t have any races and what needs to be done to try to bring some of the 2015 races to Vail.
In a nutshell, Vail needs to write a check for about $7 million – the costs associated with creating two finish stadiums and duplicating all of the media capabilities in Vail and Beaver Creek, as well as moving the base of the Vista Bahn chair lift to make room for a finish stadium in Vail, Frampton said.
“We are under intense financial pressure,” Frampton said.
Councilwoman Margaret Rogers said she needs to see hard data showing what the town of Vail will get for the total $1.25 million it’s being asked to contribute. The obvious answer of 1 billion television viewers in 70 countries and 200,000 spectators wasn’t enough for Rogers.
“I agree with your gut that it would be money well spent,” Rogers told Frampton. “But I can’t, as a government official, give away money based on a gut feeling.”
Councilwoman Susie Tjossem tried to provide some perspective by using the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival as an example. The town gives $1.7 million per year in funding to that festival, which barely reaches beyond the Front Range in terms of marketing, Tjossem said.
“As a pure marketing ploy, we couldn’t spend our money more effectively …,” Tjossem said.
Beaver Creek was chosen as the race arena because it simply has more infrastructure already in place because of the Birds of Prey World Cup event held there each year.
Frampton said he understands the town’s angst about no races being held in Vail, but money and the International Ski Federation’s requirements are dictating that decision. The Federation is strongly pushing for one race venue because it makes the logistics of the event much easier and more cost effective.
“I don’t like it any more than you do,” Frampton said.
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The town of Snowmass Village has its eyes on some safety improvements on Highline Road and a section of Brush Creek Road that will give pedestrians and cyclists a little more room to breathe on the side of the road.