With the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships (AWSC) under way at Beaver Creek & Vail – marking the third time in the last three decades the resorts have jointly bestowed this prestigious race honor – the entire ski community is tuning in. And with a packed calendar of race events and festivities happening through February 15, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement. But never fear, faithful race fan. We've compiled a quick guide to help you go like a pro and make the most of all the action, both on and off the slopes.
Big mountains + big crowds = potential for onlooker overload. AWSC draws skiers from over 70 nations and fans from nearly as many. Needless to say, there's a lot of booted bodies making their way to the mountain for the festivities. TIP: Take full advantage of the complimentary shuttle bus to usher you between resorts, so you can park once and play all day. Grab one of the race finish buses, which run every 15 minutes from Vail Valley and Beaver Creek Village for a lift to the event's epicenter.
Red Tail Stadium has all the race finish action you could want.
Copyright: Kevin Krill
Regardless of how you get there – free shuttle, walking or better yet, skiing – Red Tail Stadium is the place to be. Big-screens and bleachers in the finish area provide spectators a great view of competitors charging the gates and catching air through their final turns. All spectating is free and open to the public, just don't expect anyone to save you a seat. Plan ahead and get there early if you want to sit – though you'll have a hard time staying still with all the excitement coming down the hill.
For the Nations Team Event (to be held at Vail), make your way to Golden Peak stadium to see the race finish, or hike to Woody Creek Chill Deck at the base of the half pipe for a closer view of the action.
FACT: Ski races are held outside, during winter. Dress appropriately for the weather and you'll get to see more than one racer's run. Come ready to cheer the athletes on and get in the spirit! You're guaranteed not to be the only one donning festive flair, a costume or face paint. And in the eternal words of Christopher Walken, "more cowbell!"
Fireworks, concerts and parties keep the Championships hopping at night.
Copyright: Kevin Krill
After the race clock times its last competitor each day, make your way to Championships Plaza in Vail Village for a free concert starting at 6:30 p.m. And this isn't some long haired dude-brah butchering a Dead cover (RIP Jerry) on his acoustic by the campfire. FIS is like its own mini music festival with a major artist headlining the stage nearly every night of the Championships. Here's the official concert schedule:
· Michael Franti & Spearhead on Tuesday, Feb. 3
· Andreas Gabalier on Wednesday, Feb. 4
· Mix Master Mike on Thursday, Feb. 5
· American Authors on Friday, Feb. 6
· O.A.R. on Saturday, Feb. 7
· Craig Wayne Boyd on Sunday, Feb. 8
· KC and the Sunshine Band on Tuesday, Feb. 10
· Phillip Phillips on Thursday, Feb. 12
· CeeLo Green on Saturday, Feb. 14
Recognize a few of those names? We thought you might.
Don't forget to enjoy the goods!
Copyright: Jack Affleck
With over 7,000 combined acres of terrain to explore, there's no shortage of skiing to be had between Beaver Creek & Vail resorts – even with a big turn out for the 2015 WASC events, there's enough to go around. For great on-mountain race viewing at Beaver Creek, slide on over to The Perch for views of the Ladies’ Downhill, Super-G and Alpine Combined events or to Golden Eagle on the Birds of Prey course for high-intensity race views complete with audio. TIP: Don't mind missing part of an event (or maybe you've got the DVR running at home to record the action)? Hit the slopes while others are watching the race. The runs are wide open and it's the best time to get yours!
The 2015 FIS World Championships boasts a healthy roster of post-race events from Championship ceremonies to Aprés parties. Here's a few highlights during this historic time in Colorado High Country.
From February 3-14, 2015, Avon’s Main Street Mall transforms into a mecca of the festivities including live music, craft brews, cocktails, food, performance art and more known as Après Avon. This free daily street fair is held from 2 to 5:30 p.m. where race fans can get athlete autographs, collect the coveted AWSC pins and enjoy plenty of Sierra Nevada. Keep an eye out for the 2015 official mascots and cheerleaders, and even Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin.
Sample the official beer brewed by Sierra Nevada exclusively for the World Championships.
Copyright: Jack Affleck
In celebration of this historic event – and of course, beer – Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has crafted their newest libation, Start House Ale, exclusively as the official brew of the 2015 Championship. In addition, each day from 4-8 p.m. beer geeks can congregate on the International Bridge in Vail for Sierra Nevada Beer Camp to imbibe and educate themselves with instructional tastings and samples of small-batch cellar brews.
Additional family-friendly entertainment and events ensure no race fan is left behind, regardless of age. TIP: If you missed the opening ceremonies, stick around. With an international audience on the ground and fans tuning in from around the globe, you can bet the Closing Ceremonies will be one memorable show. Expect fireworks, music and other surprises in store to mark this legendary world event's return to the U.S.
If you can't Dream It, Live It or Share It in person, you can still Watch It, right? Tune in from home for extensive coverage airing on NBCSN and Universal Sports Network. With daily live pre-race shows, live coverage of select events and full coverage of the Nations Team Event, you'll be as close to action as possible without being on the snow in Avon.