Successful test events in Vail-Beaver Creek
With less than 420 days to go until the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Beaver Creek (USA) was excited to host the top alpine ladies and men athletes for two weeks of exhilarating World Cup action.
From 29th November-1st December 2013, the ladies competed at the famous Colorado resort for their first-ever scheduled races. With competitions in downhill, super-G and giant slalom, the new ladies Raptor downhill course impressed the athletes and is already considered to be one of the most challenging courses on the circuit.
A week later, from 5th-8th December, the action was on the men’s World Cup tour which came to Beaver Creek for its 18th edition, featuring the traditional three day programme of downhill, super-G and giant slalom race.
While the ladies enjoyed sunny skies and mild temperatures during their three races in Colorado the previous week, the men faced a tough challenge when an arctic front left the region hovering around -20 and covered in a perpetual blanket of fresh snow. The weather did little to dampen the U.S. fan’s spirits as they came out in droves to witness the races and they were rewarded for their loyalty with podium finishes by Americans Michela Shriffin, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller.
The men raced on a hybrid course that combined the Birds of Prey and Golden Eagle courses. The course was only used this season to give the Organisers the best chance to use and fully test the full Raptor course for the ladies.
Also making a debut was the Talons restaurant, which is located directly at the finish line, and provided a spacious area for the media, athletes and general public. For the World Championships, the building will be able to hold 500 people inside with space for an additional 250 people outdoors on the various terraces.
Overall, the Beaver Creek resort and the Organising Committee proved the courses are ready for 2015 after the intense World Cup action.
FIS Chief Race Director for the ladies, Atle Skaardal, was delighted with the way things went: “The preparation and quality of the course have been exceptional. The perfect weather conditions of course helped us, but the general level of this event was extremely high. This will for sure remain one of the highlights of the 2013/14 World Cup tour and has served as a great first preparation for the Alpine Worlds in 2015.”
Guenter Hujara, FIS Chief Race Director for the men, added: "The weather during this year’s men's races in Beaver Creek put the Organising Committee to the test but also proved that they are ready to host the 2015 World Championships. They have all key personnel in place, and even under difficult weather conditions they were able to deliver an excellent preparation of the race courses.”
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek will take place from 3rd-15th February 2015 and showcase over 700 athletes from more than 70 nations.