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Vail, Beaver creek to host ski world championships

Edward Stoner
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Courtesy Vail Valley FoundationSheika Gramshammer, Pepi Gramshammer and John Garnsey celebrate after Vail/Beaver Creek was announced as the host of the 2015 world Alpine skiing championships.
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VAIL, Colo. – The best skiers in the world will converge in Vail and Beaver Creek for two weeks in 2015.

After a two-year campaign, the resorts were awarded the 2015 Alpine skiing world championships Thursday at the International Ski Federation Congress in Antalya, Turkey.

“We are thrilled,” Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation, told her staff via speakerphone in a call from Turkey moments after the winner was announced.

Beaver Creek will host the men’s events and the women’s speed events, while Vail will host the women’s technical events as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Hundreds of athletes from dozens of nations and thousands of spectators are expected to attend.

The championships are held every two years. The events are:

• Men’s super combined.

• Men’s downhill.

• Men’s slalom.

• Men’s giant slalom.

• Men’s super G.

• Women’s super combined.

• Women’s downhill.

• Women’s slalom.

• Women’s giant slalom.

• Women’s super G.

Vail and Beaver Creek also hosted the championships in 1989 and 1999.

Pending Forest Service approval, Beaver Creek will cut a new trail to host the women’s downhill, skier’s right of the Birds of Prey men’s race course.

A new finish stadium to be built at the bottom of Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey race course would hold 8,000 people. There are also plans for a new Red Tail Camp restaurant at the Beav’.

A “new, dramatic stadium” is planned for Vail Mountain, Vail Resorts said in a press release.

The local bid received eight votes, while the other two contenders, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and St. Moritz, Switzerland, received four and three, respectively.

Vail/Beaver Creek came into the week as the front-runner, but the Vail Valley representatives began to sense some uncertainty in the last couple of days. And after Vail/Beaver Creek saw its bids for the 2009 and 2013 championships fail in recent years, the contingent didn’t want to become too optimistic, said John Garnsey, co-president of the Mountain Division for Vail Resorts and a member of the bid committee.

Over the last couple of days, Garnsey, Folz and Vail Valley Foundation board member Bjorn Erik Borgen spent hours meeting with the members of the 15-person council that cast votes in the decision. They met with countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada, Argentina, South Korea and Japan.

But all the uncertainty disappeared Thursday when FIS President Gian Franco Kasper announced Vail/Beaver Creek as the winner in front of 1,000 delegates from 74 nations gathered at the Congress.

Garnsey said the victory was a testament to the quality of World Cup-level ski races that Beaver Creek puts on each year. In addition, the championships were due to come back to North America after staying in Europe for 14 years, Garnsey said.

“It was our time,” he said.

Other members of the local contingent in Turkey were Jim Roberts, vice president of mountain operations for Beaver Creek; Greg Johnson, director of Beaver Creek mountain operations; current Swedish World Cup racer and Edwards resident Patrik Jaerbyn; and Vail pioneers Pepi and Sheika Gramshammer.

Now, the work begins to stage the games. The countdown clock stands at about 1,700 days.

“It’s one thing to bid,” said John Dakin, vice president of communications for the Vail Valley Foundation, who is also in Turkey. “It’s another thing to execute.”

Lindsey Vonn, the Olympic gold medalist who lives in Vail and grew up training here, said in a statement that she is “thrilled” that the 2015 championships will be in Vail and Beaver Creek.

“As a young racer I slipped the race course at Vail during the 1999 championships, and I’m really excited to take on the challenge of a tough new women’s course at Beaver Creek and finish in front of a hometown crowd at both venues,” she said.

Buzz Schleper, the father of veteran U.S. Ski Team member Sarah Schleper, said she now plans to cap her career by skiing on her hometown slopes in 2015.

estoner@vaildaily.com


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