Garmisch: World's top skiers come to town for FIS Alpine World Championships
Stars and Stripes February 2, 2011
For two weeks, the attention of the winter sports world will be on Garmisch, Germany, where some of the world’s best athletes will compete in the biennial FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller, gold medalists from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, are among 19 athletes who will represent the U.S. at what is considered the Super Bowl of skiing, which begins Tuesday and continues through Feb. 20.
Hundreds of Americans stationed in Europe will have an up-close look at this sporting extravaganza thanks to their Department of Defense ID card, which entitles them to stay a stone’s throw away from the action at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.
The Armed Force’s Recreation Center resort is booked for the beginning of the tournament, but prospective visitors can call (+49) (0) 8821-9440 to check for openings due to cancellations. (Rooms are available Feb. 13-15.)
The view from the resort looks out at the Kandahar trail, which will be the main race course.
“You’re actually in walking distance to the races. It’s everybody’s dream to be that close,” said Brad Hays, a resort spokesman.
If you prefer, “You can watch it from the hot tub,” he added.
The resort also will offer visitors a chance to meet U.S. Ski Team members, who are scheduled to be there between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday to sign autographs and meet military families. The tournament’s opening ceremony begins at 6.
This is the first time Germany is hosting the world championships since 1978, and Garmisch, a skiing hot spot both for amateurs and professional competitors, is buzzing with excitement. Posters and flags line the town’s streets, many of which will be closed during the competition. Again, Edelweiss Lodge is in a good location: While offering that easy access to the competition area, it is also close enough to the downtown party scene for those who want to join in the activities.In recent years, skiing among Americans has been growing in popularity. With the rise of Vonn, the Associated Press’ 2010 Athlete of the Year, and mainstay Miller, American fans have two of the sport’s most charismatic stars to cheer for. Vonn, a three-time FIS Alpine World Cup overall champion, is defending the double gold she captured in downhill and super-G from 2009. This year, she is leading the World Cup standings for downhill, super-G and super combined.“I have a lot of confidence in downhill and super-G right now and am extremely excited for the world championships,” Vonn said in a news release announcing her participation in the competition.“Garmisch is a really good hill for me and I’ve had a lot of success there. But the world championships are unique, you have to be the best on race day — there aren’t second chances.”Miller, a four-time world champion and two-time World Cup overall champion, enters the event coming off some recent injuries. But he appears ready.“Success in these events comes down to having experience in big race situations and being able to successfully manage the amount of risk you need to take in order to win,” he said in the same release.Vonn’s main rival this year will be German star Maria Riesch, who was raised in Garmisch.“She’s a local and the top girl,” Hays said. “You’ve got them battling it out. I don’t know what to expect.“I’ve been to other ski races here and it’s been awesome. We’re excited about it and to see what it is like.”email@example.com