FIS Alpine Ski Championships closing ceremonies offer unique Valentine’s Day options

Alex Lee

The last time the FIS Alpine Ski Championships were held in Vail, Colorado, was in 1999, and with Vail teaming up with Beaver Creek for the event this year, there is no better time to attend an opportunity that only comes around so often.

This upcoming weekend will include the closing ceremonies and the last hurrah for the two week event, providing free concerts, giveaways and an international presence you do not want to miss.

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Mikaela Shiffrin, Eagle Vail local, has been an athlete to watch, along with several others in the Championships this year. There are 700 athletes from 70 nations encompassing the most impressive ski racing talent in the world.

Another Eagle Vail local, Jasper Stone, has witnessed the diverse crowd flowing in and out of the Valley and expressed how it is, “bringing exhilaration and excitement for the whole world to see.”

Locals have voiced that the Ski Championships “are like the Super Bowl of skiing.”

Free shuttles and complimentary parking lots located at the base of Beaver Creek Resort make it easy to accommodate as many fans as possible. The racing events are free and open to the public at the Red Tail Stadium.

If you wish to ski or snowboard to the viewing locations, make sure you have a valid Vail or Beaver Creek lift ticket or Epic Pass, but you can also snowshoe, which is approximately a 30-45 minute hike, or you can take the shuttle bus.

“Beaver Creek has made it super simple to get to the races,” said Terri Martin, an Edwards local. “It’s a bus ride up and another bus to the stands, and there isn’t a bad seat once you’re up there.”

After the races, Beaver Creek and Vail keep going with the festivities, bringing life to all aspects of the Valley.

“After the competitions, the night life in Vail comes to life with free concerts, plenty of beer and a celebratory crowd,” Stone said.

Friday evening, starting at 7 p.m., singer, rapper and activist Matisyahu will be playing a free concert for locals and visitors to enjoy in the heart of Vail Village at the “Championships Plaza.”

For those 21 and up, you can then mingle and enjoy a night on the town at the official Vail 2015 Night Club, Samana Lounge, on Bridge Street.

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Other events of the weekend include Après and a bonfire in Avon, a beer camp in Vail, athlete signing, medals ceremonies and another free concert on Saturday night featuring singer-songwriter, Cee Lo Green.

“Everyone’s there to listen to some good music and watch some great skiing,” said Martin. “It’s been fun and Vail’s done a great job with everything.”

Signifying only the fourth Championship ever to be held in the United States, all of which have been in Colorado, it is an honor for the Vail Valley to be hosting such a prestigious event.

According to The Vail Valley Foundation, it is “a great opportunity to rally the nation together in the sport of skiing and engage the next generation to build upon the successes of the past toward greater glory in the future.”

Become a part of the history and the future in the World Championships as Vail and Beaver Creek “pass the torch” to Vail’s sister city, St. Mortiz, Switzerland, as they will be next to host the World Championships in 2017.

Martin did not attend the open ceremonies, but said, “I think I’ll go to the closing ceremonies after hearing how cool the opening ones were.”

Go for the festivities, giveaways, international presence and a weekend that is worth the three hour commute from Fort Collins. There are events that all ages can be involved in, and since most of us students are on such a budget, it makes it nice to know that most of the festivities will be free.

Whether you ski or not, it is an amazing excuse to disappear into the mountains for a weekend to be a part of history, be adventurous and experience all that the Vail Valley has to offer.

Check out vailbeavercreek2015.com or download the official app “Vail 2015” to find out more details on races and events throughout the weekend.

Collegian A&E Writer Alex Lee can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @aclee93.