By Kelley McMillan
This coming February 2–15, Vail Valley will welcome the best downhill skiers in the world as it hosts the Alpine World Ski Championships, one of ski racing’s most prestigious events.
Second only to the Olympics, the World Championships will showcase ski racing’s top stars in a series of competitions that spans two weeks.
Off the slopes, the parties, galas, and festivities galore will give the whole region a celebratory vibe.
If your ski vacation coincides, you’re in luck.
Here’s an insider’s guide to making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Where to Watch: For a full-immersion experience, head to the Red Tail stadium mid-mountain on Beaver Creek.
Be prepared for cowbells, the 2015 cheerleading squad, thousands of exuberant fans, and a rocking good time.
If you’d prefer something a bit mellower, head to the top of the Drink of Water lift and ski down Summer Road to one of several on-mountain spectator zones, where downhill racers will zip by you at 80 miles per hour.
Best Dining: Located at the bottom of Beaver Creek, steps away from the Centennial lift, the Chop House is a perennial favorite among sophisticated visitors and hungry ski racers alike for its juicy steaks, lobster, and an exquisite wine list.
Best Place to Spot a Ski-lebrity: After the races, skiers, fans, athletes, and coaches often meet at the Coyote Café.
Located in Beaver Creek’s core, the Coyote serves up hearty nachos, delicious margaritas, and a lively après scene.
Swing by later in the evening, and you might spot your favorite ski racer celebrating on the dance floor.
Best Place to Get Away From It All: On Thursday evenings, head to Allie’s Cabin on Beaver Creek Mountain for the Featured Wine series.
Tucked in a hillside aspen grove and accessed by an open-air sled, the cabin offers a series of dinners that pair featured wines with regional cuisine.
Best Après: Vail and Beaver Creek will be hosting tons of complimentary events throughout the two weeks.
Après Avon, at the base of Beaver Creek.
Each day after the races, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., Avon will come to life, street-fair style, with live music, beer tents, athlete signings, and more.
Don’t Miss: Even if you’re not a ski-racing fan, don’t miss the men’s downhill.
As ski racing’s marque event, the downhill sees racers reach speeds over 80 miles per hour.
Plus, the Birds of Prey course is one of the finest downhill tracks in the world.
The athletes will no doubt put on a spectacular show.
Skiing: Thousands of people are expected in the Vail Valley for the World Championships, but here’s a secret: the slopes will be empty.
Many visitors are coming exclusively to watch the races and enjoy the festivities, so you’ll have the mountain all to yourself.
Head to the Drink of Water Lift for a mix of cruisers, steep pitches, and secret powder stashes.
Parking: Why waste time parking when you could be skiing or watching the races?
Bypass parking at Beaver Creek altogether and head to Arrowhead, a Vail Resorts-owned hill a few miles down the road, where you can park slopeside.
Then ski over to Beaver Creek via a series of trails and lifts that connect the two mountains.
Lift Tickets: Use Vail Resort’s new website, EpicDay Lift Tickets, to purchase daily lift passes and save as much as 25 percent off the window rate.
Buy tickets at least seven days in advance and skip the window line—your pass will be sent to directly to your home.