Two times, yes, just two times, in my life, I have attended World Cup Ski racing. Both times, the races have been cancelled. But this time, my husband met Bode.
When we were driving up to Beaver Creek last Friday, I was imagining the post I was going to write, the photos I was going to take and the fun we were going to have together, as a family, watching the fastest men in the world hurl themselves down the scary-steep Birds of Prey Downhill Course.
Wrong. No post-race post, no fabulous action photos, no super-fast dudes hurling themselves down anything. But we did have a lot of fun. We picked up swag. We rang cowbells and listened to lots of other people ringing cowbells. We entered drawings and met some nice people who wanted us to buy their products. I passed out braveskimom.com stickers. We ate lunch at the table next to US Skier Marco Sullivan. We skied and skied, because with no race and good snow, what else were we going to do? Oh yeah, and my husband met Bode.
When You Go….
Obviously, we couldn’t control Mother Nature and neither can you. Some years, there isn’t enough snow to ski to the course. Some years, the race gets cancelled. Be flexible. Aside from that, here are my takeaways from the 2010 Birds Of Prey World Cup Downhill at Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Beaver Creek Makes It a Breeze. Partially, this is because the crowds are not super-big, but mostly this is because this is a super-well-organized, family-friendly event. I doff my helmet to the organizers.
We attended the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 and stood in a lot of lines. Not so for the Birds of Prey Downill at Beaver Creek. Beaver Creek had the free parking lots open with plenty of extra-large shuttles moving people up to the village. The shuttles were full, but mostly with spectator, not skier, traffic. There were spectators of all ages, from families with babies in Baby Bjorns and backpacks, to packs of school kids, with every other age group represented.
Our shuttle driver was more like a limo driver, asking if we were comfortable, offering to turn on more or less heat and providing very clear instructions for how to get on the next shuttle to go to the finish area. The Beaver Creek World Cup website also had instructions on how to snowshoe to the finish area. Signs and helpful smiling people were abundant.
Wanting to ski, we got off at Beaver Creek village to get lift tickets, only to find…no one in line. Tickets in hand, we proceeded to the Centennial Lift only to find…no one in line. Aside from the crowds at the race course finish, we had the mountain pretty much to ourselves.
Oh, and did I mention, watching the World Cup races is free? If you want to ski, you have to pay, but for everyone else it is totally gratis.
Come to Have Fun. While we were on skis and were hoping to make some runs, if the race had been run, there is no way you would have gotten us out of the finish area. There is a great vibe in the stadium with ski racing fans in attendance from all over the world. The bells are ringing, the music is playing and it would have been super-exciting had the darn wind just cooperated. As it was, we enjoyed watching the racers come in with their coaches and techs, listening to the cacophony of languages and watching the media try to make something out of this non-story.
A World Cup Downhill is an international sporting event, with all that that entails. While sports fans in the United States may not be paying very much attention, the rest of the world is watching and windy or not, Beaver Creek did us proud. Oh, and did I mention (yes, I think I did), my husband met Bode.
Congratulations to Angie and Michelle, the winners of the Mountain Boys Sledworks ornaments. The last giveaway of 2010 is this Friday from Ruckus Media.
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