Ski Resort Life

Vail's Little Secret


With the Worlds coming to town Jan. 30 to Feb. 14, the Vail Valley must be packed tighter than Hermann Maier’s trophy case, right? Wrong. When Vail hosted the 1989 Worlds, people stayed away in droves. They feared the best slopes would be roped off (just 3 percent of the terrain is used for the Worlds) and that all the rooms would be booked.

Oddly enough, in any other year skiers would struggle during the first two weeks of February to find lodging in the Vail Valley. But resort officials say there are still plenty of rooms at the inn for the Worlds. And they are offering the Last Great Ski Deal Of The 20th Century: Special World Alpine Championships packages are available for as low as $495.50 per person, including five nights’ lodging and four days’ skiing (based on four people sharing a two-bedroom condo). Call (800) 404-4678 for details and other packages.

Vail is also putting the accent on partying by increasing the number of non-race events. Plus, about 85 percent of the stadium seats at the bottom of the race courses will be free.

So why would Vail host an event that only seems to scare away paying customers? The World Alpines are telecast to some 50 countries and nearly 500 million people; in the year following the 1989 Championships, international visits to Vail tripled.