BEAVER CREEK,COLORADO,USA,08.FEB.15 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Birds of Prey, Alpine combined, downhill, men. Image shows fans and the finish area. Photo: GEPA pictures/ Harald Steiner

The Vail Valley Foundation announced phase one of its plans to expand the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup race week (Dec. 16) this winter by building larger grandstands, expanding its offering of VIP tickets to the general public, and hosting a more robust selection of spectator events outside of the race itself.

“We saw unprecedented energy and excitement around alpine skiing last year (at the World Championships). This year we will ride that momentum to take the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup to a new level,” said Vail Valley Foundation acting CEO Mike Imhof.

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Rendering of new grandstands and VIP areas. Credit: Zehren Associates
Rendering of the new grandstands and VIP areas. (Zehren Associates)

The new level Imhof refers to will create a resort experience similar to that available at a European World Cup race but with a uniquely American spin.

EverBank America is introducing the new “Winter Opening” in an attempt to spice up the afternoons and evenings in Beaver Creek Village with live concerts, prize giveaways, and movie showings following the races.

“In Colorado, in Europe, and all throughout the world we’ve seen a gravitational pull toward multi-faceted events that offer a wide array of entertainment options in a dynamic environment,” Imhof said. “We have an opportunity here, during a flexible time of year in our community, to create an event that offers culture, nightlife, sport and business networking opportunities.”

And there are already plans in the works to expand the event even further in future years.

“Everything that we’re looking to do this year and then evolving next year, is really to build the World Cup ‘America’s Winter Opening’ into a full week of activity … and this is an event that is just an amalgamation of all kinds of wonderful things that we celebrate in our sport and in this mountain lifestyle.”

Hear Imhof’s vision for this year’s event and the future in this excerpt from his exclusive interview with SkiRacing.com: