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Vail Valley Foundation bidding for three alpine championships

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) _ The Vail Valley could become the epicenter of alpine snow sports during a two-week period in 2009, with championships in three sports drawing an international crowd.

The Vail Valley Foundation, which put together world alpine championships in 1989 and 1999, is bidding to hold the 2009 world alpine championships at Vail and Beaver Creek.

In an unprecedented move, it also is talking to the International Ski Federation about the possibility of playing host to the world championships in freestyle and snowboarding at the same time.

``We need to find out if the FIS can allow one site to bid for three world championships and hold them simultaneously,'' foundation President Ciel Folz said. ``That's being taken under consideration right now by the FIS.''

The world alpine championships have been held only one other time in the United States, at Aspen in 1950. The site for the 2009 championships will be determined in 2004.

``Freestyle and snowboarding really go to a different market than alpine,'' Folz said. ``By combining them together, we could really cross the markets and grow all three of the sports by introducing them to a new population.''

FIS world championships are held every other year.

The U.S. Ski Team is supporting the foundation's proposal to run three world events simultaneously.

``It's what we've got to do in our sport to promote it,'' said Bill Marolt, president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. ``You bring all of our constituent groups together for one big celebration.''
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