A recent shift in weather patterns has brought snow and colder temperatures to Beaver Creek Resort and the Vail Valley, and colder temperatures and additional snowfall are expected at the end of November. Beaver Creek Resort is still scheduled for a Wednesday, Nov. 23 opening day. However, winter conditions did not arrive in time to allow race crews to create the demanding, 8,600-foot-long Birds of Prey courses.
The main elements of the EverBank America’s Winter Opening festival, including concerts from Strange Americans on Dec. 1, Bonfire dub and Beers of Prey beer tasting on Dec. 2, and a showing of Red Bull Media House’s new film The Fourth Phase on Dec. 3, are still scheduled to occur at the Vilar Performing Arts center in Beaver Creek.
"Beaver Creek typically has some of the best early-season conditions in the world and a remarkably sophisticated snowmaking system. However, the cold weather did not come in time this year", said Mike Imhof, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation.
"We’re grateful for the incredible efforts put forth by our valued volunteers, and we thank the FIS, Vail Resorts, and United States Ski and Snowboard Association for their hard work and ongoing partnership. We now look forward to hosting our beloved Birds of Prey world cup ski race in 2017". "Although we have now seen a positive change in the weather and forecast, there is not enough time between today and the first training runs to prepare and fine tune a full downhill course and finish area", said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer of Beaver Creek Resort. "We will now shift our focus to take full advantage of the cold, snowy weather to focus 100 percent on preparing terrain for Beaver Creek’s opening day and our holiday guests".This year marks 50 years of FIS Ski World Cup, and Vail was one of the original sites on the tour, hosting a Giant Slalom in March of 1967. The Vail Valley Foundation has been hosting World Cup ski racing in Beaver Creek since 1989, and specifically on the Birds of Prey course since 1997. The Vail Valley Foundation also led the effort to bring the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships to Vail and Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999, and 2015.
"In the business of ski racing, we sometimes are faced with challenges that are simply beyond our control,” said USSA Vice President, Events Calum Clark. “Beaver Creek, Vail Resorts and the Vail Valley Foundation’s exceptional track record of delivering the classic men’s downhill each December is a reflection of their unwavering dedication to putting on a great event for the athletes. The Birds of Prey World Cup is a highlight for our entire organization each season and we look forward to returning to Beaver Creek in 2017".
The International Ski Federation is expected to make an announcement of the event’s rescheduling shortly.