FIS is canceling the Audi Birds of Prey race series due to a lack of snow. (Eric Schramm)
AVON, CO (Nov. 17, 2016) – After meeting with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Beaver Creek’s event organizing committee, the International Ski Federation (FIS) has determined that due to unseasonably warm weather, the 2016 Audi Birds of Prey FIS World Cup at Beaver Creek, CO will be canceled. The FIS will make an official announcement on Friday, Nov. 18.
A recent shift in weather patterns has brought snow and colder temperatures to Beaver Creek Resort and the Vail Valley. However, winter conditions did not arrive in time to allow race crews to create the demanding, 8,600-foot-long Birds of Prey courses. Beaver Creek Resort is still scheduled for a Wednesday, Nov. 23 opening day, conditions permitting.
“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.”
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 held World Cup ski racing in Beaver Creek since 1988, 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.
“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 the USSA for their hard work and ongoing partnership. We now look forward to hosting our beloved Birds of Prey World Cup ski race in 2017.”
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.
The FIS is expected to make an announcement of the event’s rescheduling the in the coming days.