Beaver Creek ramps up Worlds bid
December 7, 2009
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – The “2015” ice sculpture was on display at Red Tail Camp. The “2015” hats started to appear.
It was clear that the bid to bring the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships to Beaver Creek/Vail was picking up steam – even as unknowns remain about the financials of hosting the event.
The International Ski Federation, the governing body of ski racing, has yet to say what exactly will be the compensation for running the championships, a key detail in any bid. That has left the Vail Valley Foundation, which is coordinating the bid, in a sort of holding pattern. However, organizers have decided to move ahead regardless.
“We are just going to turn it on and start running,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “We’re going to start running hard, and if it comes to the point where the numbers come out and we can’t do it, we’ll have to pull out. But until that point, we want this. We’re going to run hard for it and start today.”
Vail/Beaver Creek hosted the championships in both 1989 and 1999. A local contingent unsuccessfully tried to land the alpine event – as well as the snowboard and freestyle championships – for 2009. Another bid, for the 2013 alpine championships, was also unsuccessful.
“All of the components we had the last time we ran, they’re good, they’re still true,” Folz said. “We put a lot of focus on youth and the next generation, and we still think they’re valuable assets and they’ll be part of our bid. But you always have to look and say, ‘What differentiates you from your competitors?'”
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The other contenders for 2015 are St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Cortina, Italy.
A group from the Vail Valley will go to the Olympics this winter in Vancouver, British Columbia, to lobby for votes.
The championships will be awarded on June 3 at the FIS Congress in Antalya, Turkey.
The Canadians had a strong contingent at Beaver Creek. They are hoping for an equally strong one when the Olympics come to Vancouver in 10 weeks.
“It’s pretty special,” said Brad Spence, a 25-year-old from Calgary, Alberta. “Very few people can say that they’ve been to the Olympics, and even fewer can say they’ve been to Olympics on home soil.”
Pretty much all of the Canadian racers, including Spence, must still qualify to ski at Whistler, British Columbia, this winter, though. That makes the topic a bit touchy right now.
“Talking the Olympics is pretty hush-hush,” Spence said. “You don’t want to count your eggs before they hatch, whatever the saying is. Of course, it’s on everyone’s mind, no doubt about it. But you have a lot of task in front of you. You still have to perform to qualify to go.”
Canadian Jeffrey Frisch finished in 21st on Sunday, perhaps pushing him closer to that Olympic berth.
“We still need to qualify, but if I could race there, that would be amazing,” Frisch said. “A dream come true, to race in your home country.”
Erik Guay, the Canadians’ standout speed specialist, finished 29th in the downhill Friday. The best result of the weekend for the team came Sunday, when Jean-Philippe Roy finished 17th.
There in the VIP tent Sunday, enjoying the gourmet lunch and the oom-pah band, was a familiar face to racing fans.
Franz Klammer, one of the most successful downhill skiers of all time, had come to the Birds of Prey races for the fourth year in a row. The former Austrian racer won 25 World Cup downhill races in his career.
Like everyone else, he was talking about Switzerland’s Carlo Janka, the week’s standout skier.
“He’s in super form,” Klammer said between the giant slalom runs. “He’s unbelievable, winning the combined and the downhill. And, today, it looks like he’s going to clinch the slalom title, too. So it’s unbelievable.”
And who is performing well on the Austrian team?
“Not many, unfortunately,” Klammer said. “In the downhill, we are really not performing like we did in the past. I don’t know. They’re missing the enthusiasm on the Austrian team. But, today, their showing was not so bad.”
While the Austrians are accustomed to being the best in the world, it’s been the rival Swiss this week who have proven to be the dominant team.
“We need to improve a lot for the Olympics,” Klammer said. “Maybe the Swiss are in form too early.”
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