As the world prepares for the Sochi Olympics, the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships’ clock will also be ticking for Vail and Beaver Creek Saturday, February 1, as the two resorts host “Countdown 2-15” festivities to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the world’s best skiers return to the Vail Valley.
Beaver Creek’s Countdown 2-15 activities will take place on the mountain to represent the 2015 racing component, while the Vail segment will be hosted at Solaris Plaza in Vail Village, with timing set to mirror the start of the Championships’ Opening Ceremony.
“The ‘Countdown 2-15’ activities in both Vail and Beaver Creek really represent a great opportunity for our entire community and our guests to come together to celebrate the world’s return to the Vail Valley in 2015,” offered Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee. “We are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to host a third World Championships and this day will serve as a kickoff of what we can look forward to in just 365 days.”
The Beaver Creek component of Countdown 2-15 will get underway at 10:15 a.m. at the start of the new Raptor Women’s Downhill racecourse, located on the Solitude trail at the top of the Cinch Express lift (Chair 8). The first 215 people to arrive will receive a 2015 bib and will have the opportunity to have their photo taken at the Raptor start.
Participating skiers and snowboarders will then have the chance to ski and ride the new women’s course that celebrated its world debut this past November during the Nature Valley World Cup.
Once the group makes its way to the new Talons Restaurant at the base of the course, the festivities will continue, with free hot chocolate and cookies, additional podium photo opportunities and a presentation with 2015 dignitaries.
For non-skiers or boarders, the Beaver Creek Nordic Center will conduct a snowshoe hike up Trail 2015 to the Talons portion of the event, arriving in time for the festivities. Snowshoers are requested to arrive at the Nordic Center by 8:30 a.m. for a 9:00 a.m. departure. The hike is free for those with their own snowshoes, while rentals are available from the Nordic Center at a special $20.15 price.
The Vail segment of Countdown 2-15 will kickoff at 6:15 p.m. at Solaris Plaza with music, free cookies and hot chocolate and an opportunity to sign a community Good Luck banner for all the Vail Valley athletes that are participating in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The banner will be taken to Sochi by members of the 2015 Organizing Committee.
The ceremony will also feature the renaming and dedication of Solaris Plaza as Championships Plaza. Championships Plaza will play host to all of the official medals presentations during 2015 World Championships, along with nightly free concerts.
The evening’s celebration will also include the official debut of the 2015 World Championships mascots, who will formally be introduced to the world, along with the starting of the World Championships Countdown Clock, which will display the hours, minutes and second remaining until the world returns for the 2015 Championships. The clock will be started at 7 p.m., which will represent 365 days until the start of Opening Ceremonies.
Additional activities throughout the evening will include a costume contest that will reward those people decked out in the most 1989 or 1999 World Championships gear, the first official volunteer group photo and a 2015 banner contest for schools. The Countdown 2-15 celebration will come to a festive conclusion with a fireworks show.
The 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek are scheduled from February 2-15. The event is expected to showcase athletes from over 70 nations, along with an onsite media and broadcast entourage of approximately 1,500 members. An international television audience approaching 750 million people will watch the two weeks of racing and festivities.
For additional information on the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, please visit www.vailbeavercreek2015.com.