The Forest Service has been involved in helping with the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships from the very start of planning for this event. Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams serves as a member of the Organizing Committee.
What is the Forest Service role at this event? The White River National Forest is the most visited forest in the nation with over 12 million visitors from around the world coming to the Forest every year. Three million of those visitors can be found on the ski slopes of 12 ski resorts permitted on the Forest. As stewards and managers of the land used by the ski resorts and the public we have a responsibility to provide a safe environment where visitors can have the best recreation experience possible on their public land. Our motto used in social media for this event is #itsallyours.
For public engagement, we have three teams per day, plus our Forest Service core team with Snow Rangers and other staff from across the United States assisting the Forest during this important event. One team works on both Vail and Beaver Creek at mid-mountain (Mid-Vail and Spruce Saddle) and is active in public education and outreach, youth engagement while serving as ski hosts. One team each day is based at the event stadium to act as Forest greeters, assisting guests and supporting the Vail Valley Foundation as overall hosts.
Each day, we have a minimum of 18 people on the mountain: six at Vail, six at Spruce Saddle (Beaver Creek) and six at the stadium. In addition, we have a two person media team, three person planning and operations team and two staff for ceremonies.
Behind the scenes we have a presence at the Emergency Operations Center where the External Affairs desk is staffed as liaison with the Joint Information Center to help get accurate and timely information to those attending the event.
Also during the event we have an important role in operations and law enforcement as part of the Public Safety Command. Staff is present as core members of the Unified Command at the Event Command Post. There are also three teams of Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers in the field, patrolling on skis as they serve as public safety ambassadors teaching “if you see something say something.” Their engagement with the public helps people understand the Forest Service stewardship of our public lands.