‘Birds of Prey’ races bring spike to Vail Valley economy

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 30, 2009 10:10 am


As World Cup skiers get ready for the circuit’s races at Beaver Creek’s infamous “Birds of Prey” this weekend December  4-6, local businesses are already salivating over the economic ‘trickle-down’ effect the contest annually brings. Add that to the fact its an Olympic year, and business is expected to be booming.

For most winter resorts, the Post-Thanksgiving and Pre-Christmas times are generally seen as a slow time for business, but the local Vail Valley is expecting a healthy dose of activity amongst their local commerce this week. The hordes of journalists, fans, competitors, and technicians the event brings, combines to form a huge market that need to be taken care of by local businesses.

Tony O’Rourke, executive director of the Beaver Creek Resort Company, estimates the direct economic effect of the races to be in the millions of dollars. He said that hotels are expected to be near full capacity.

While it’s easy to love the immediate bump in business that the event brings, it’s the media exposure that can have a lasting effect on generating revenue. The Birds of Prey races are the only World Cup ski races held in the United States, and serves as a strong curtain call to potential tourists. The event advertises Beaver Creek to the world, especially in Europe where the popularity of World Cup races are comparably to the NFL in America.

“It sends out the message that Beaver Creek has great snow and is ready for a great ski season,” O’Rourke said.