The Beaver Creek Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup is one of those events that brings people from around the globe together to watch an international roster of top athletes go head to head to clock the fastest time down the hill.
But when you're at a World Cup ski racing event, skiing isn't the only thing to watch. From checking out the who's who of international racing and the rich and famous who follow them, to the events surrounding the race itself, like ski movie premiers and free musical performances, there's plenty of pomp and circumstance to enjoy at a World Cup.
One of the most endearing ceremonial performances at this year's Birds of Prey were performances by the Colorado Children's Chorale during the opening and closing ceremonies. The group, made up of children ages 7 to 14 representing schools in the Denver metro area and beyond, tours around the world to perform with leading performance arts organizations. The CCC has a long-standing partnership with the Vail Valley Foundation, one of the organizers of Birds of Prey, and has performed at the World Cup race for the past two years.
The group's repertoire traditionally ranges from opera and musical theater to standard choral compositions, but the World Cup at Beaver Creek calls for something a little outside of the group's usual songbook.
Because each day's award ceremony depends on the winning skier's nationality, the kids had no idea which National Anthem they would be singing at the ceremony until the race concluded. Although that unknown and anticipation can be nerve-racking for the singers, it also makes for an exciting day.
"The kids had a great time! They have been working on the national anthems since June," said Emily Crile, the associate director of the children's chorale. "They learned the anthems from six countries to prepare for this day."
In between performances, the kids loved watching the competition and anxiously waiting to see who would come in first. "Watching the competition is always thrilling," said Crile. "We are all amazed that the top skier wins by only hundredths of a second... This is the second time that we sang the Swiss anthem for one of the medal ceremonies."
Read more: Swiss Dominate Downhill at Beaver Creek
"This is a really fun way to connect both my passion for skiing and singing," said 12-year-old Logan Day-Ritcher, a Chorale participant. "My favorite part is being able to represent the Colorado Children's Chorale in Colorado, and represent the U.S. in general, in such a fun and exciting way. This is one of my favorite parts of the performing season."
You can find a full recap of the racing at Beaver Creek and Lake Louise on SKImag.com's Racing channel.