Ceil Folz - 2015
A journey that began as a volunteer for Vail and Beaver Creek’s first World Alpine Ski Championships in 1989 would come full circle on February 2 of 2015 as Ceil Folz accepted the FIS flag on behalf of the Vail Valley, the State of Colorado and the U.S. ski community at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 World Championships in Vail Village.The third of eight children, Folz grew up in Libertyville, Illinois and attended the University of Wisconsin La-Crosse, majoring in Recreation and Sports Management. When her soon to be husband Steve announced that he was moving to Vail, Folz headed west several months later, landing a job with the Town of Vail’s Recreation Department.As the 1989 Championships drew near, Folz volunteered to assist the Ceremonies and Enhancements Committee with the event’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies, in addition to the daily medals presentations. She would join the staff of the Vail Valley Foundation seven months after the Closing Ceremony, coming on board as a project administrator.With a second successful Alpine Championships under her belt, Folz was named the fifth president of the Vail Valley Foundation in September of 1999. In addition to her annual slate of events and programs, she spearheaded the bid and headed up the Organizing Committee for last winter’s incredibly successful 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships.Over the course of the two weeks of competition, 500 athletes from 68 countries took to the racecourses in Vail and Beaver Creek, with ten nations taking home medals. That count included five for the home team, headlined by Mikaela Shiffrin’s slalom gold and Lindsey Vonn’s Super-G bronze.The 2015 Championships set a new standard for U.S. alpine ski racing, garnering a record 230,000 spectators over the course of the two weeks and reaching over 800 million worldwide viewers on television, with 70 hours of live coverage. #Vail2015 trended as a Top Ten Topic on Twitter and over 38,000 people downloaded the 2015 app.Folz is internationally recognized for her life-long work, not only in alpine skiing and mountain biking, but also for her ground breaking work in snowboading, creating the highly acclaimed Honda Session event in Vail. She also helped to return international road cycling to the Vail Valley with the USA Pro Challenge.However, perhaps her most amazing achievement is that all of this has been accomplished while also spearheading a full slate of widespread annual arts, athletics and educational events and programs through the Vail Valley Foundation, truly bringing the world to Colorado and Colorado to the world.