ANTALYA, Turkey – The Beaver Creek/Vail 2015 bid committee, comprised of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, Vail Resorts and the Vail Valley Foundation, celebrated Thursday as the International Ski Federation (FIS) Council voted to award the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to Colorado’s Vail Valley. It will be the first time the Championships will be staged in America since Vail hosted in 1999.
The decision was announced by International Ski Federation President Gian Franco Kasper to a packed audience of over 1,000 delegates from 74 nations gathered for the biennial FIS Congress in Antalya. Beaver Creek/Vail was chosen over St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Europe and Scandinavia had been chosen to host the biennial event the past seven times, spanning 14 years. Beaver Creek/Vail received the majority of the 15 votes cast by the FIS council on the first ballot.
“Our nation is deeply honored to have been selected as the site of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt. “It will be a great opportunity to expand participation in our sport nationwide through Beaver Creek/Vail’s Engaging New Worlds program and to showcase our talented U.S. Ski Team athletes. We look forward to working with our strong partner, the Vail Valley Foundation, to produce a World Championships that is successful both athletically and as a catalyst for continued growth in our sport.”
“We are proud to be able to represent the United States and the Vail Valley,” said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “We knew from the outset that we had our work cut out for us with three world class candidates and only one 2015 Alpine World Championships. We congratulate St. Moritz and Cortina on their campaigns. It was truly an honor to be considered along with these great resorts. We can’t wait to get home and share this with our community.”
The Vail Valley has a storied history of hosting major international events. In addition to 1999, Vail also hosted the 1989 Championships and has been a celebrated mainstay on the FIS Alpine World Cup tour since the tour began in 1967. In addition the 1994 and 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships where staged at Vail and the Teva Mountain Games have been a part of the Vail Valley family since 2009.
Each event is embraced and driven by a passionate global community. Over 1,600 volunteers from around the world came together to help produce the 1999 Championships, while over 800 volunteers pitch in to make the men’s Birds of Prey World Cup races a resounding annual success.
Beaver Creek/Vail’s successful bid was built around a theme of engaging the world and bringing excitement globally in the sport when athletes gather at the Colorado resort in 2015. The championships will be used by Beaver Creek/Vail as a catalyst for growth in the sport with an additional focus on environmental sustainability. The 2015 Championships will continue this important mission for Vail Resorts and the Vail Valley Foundation, while setting a new precedent in sport as thousands from across America and the world converge on the Vail Valley for a carbon neutral two-week celebration of alpine skiing.
To ensure the highest quality facilities, Beaver Creek will reinvent the current men’s Birds of Prey finish area with a larger stadium and easy transportation access. The current Red Tail Restaurant, which serves as the media center for World Cup events will also be removed and rebuilt as a two-story restaurant that will house the media center for both the Championships and World Cup.
Sharing this new stadium with the men’s course will be a new women’s downhill run. The terrain, which is located to skier’s right of Birds of Prey, will rival the challenging terrain of the men’s course and will host the women’s speed events, as well as the combined and nation’s team event.
The ladies technical races will move just a few minutes down the road to Vail, with its dramatic stadium, located in the heart of Vail Village. The women’s giant slalom and slalom races will take place on Giant Steps, along with qualification races and opening and closing ceremonies.
“We want to thank everyone throughout the Vail Valley community that supported us in this bid process,” said John Garnsey, president of Vail Resorts. “This is the beginning of a new and exciting journey for all of us.”
“We are especially appreciative of the efforts put forth by the Vail Valley Foundation and the bid committee in securing this nomination and we are thankful to the delegates who cast their votes in favor of bringing the 2015 Championships to Vail and Beaver Creek,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “Vail and Beaver Creek Resorts and the Vail Valley have demonstrated a meaningful commitment to the sport of ski racing producing the best competitions in the world. We are thrilled to focus international attention on our iconic slopes and community during the winter of 2015.”
Preparations for the Championships will begin immediately with the Birds of Prey races operating as scheduled each December. This season’s events will be held Dec. 3-5, 2010.This year’s 2011 World Championships are set for Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany while the 2013 event will be in Schladming, Austria. The 2011 Freestyle World Championships will be held at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort next February.
top photo: Francis BOMPARD/AGENCE ZOOM, high-five photo: USSA