The Fis Alpine World Ski Championships has been to the United States three times in the last 26 years (1989, 1999 and 2015), and Epicurean Sports (a division of Epicurean Group) and our CEO, Larry Dipasquale, have been on-site to provide food and beverage services to thousands at the race finish line.
This year in Beaver Creek, we served nearly 3,000 guests each day for 11 days straight, all without direct access to roads! We relied heavily on the hardworking and sleepless haul cat drivers to assist us in moving all of the food and equipment up the mountain and back down, each day. These snow warriors worked tirelessly throughout the night all while Beaver Creek Resort remained open for business, with only a finite number of cats.
Five-star service next to one of the world’s most perilous ski courses required the careful coordination of 150 employees working around the clock (125 during the day, 25 at night). Nineteen-hour employee shifts were known to happen more than a few times over the 25 total days Epicurean was in Beaver Creek, including prerace preparations and post race breakdown.
An intricate shell game of four 40-foot refrigerated trailers allowed Epicurean to ship our raw product and cleaned equipment up the mountain each day and send back unused food and dirty equipment at night. A shift of industrious souls would start work each night, transferring loads from refrigerated trailer to box truck to haul cat before going up the hill and into makeshift indoor/outdoor kitchen facilities.
Our menus comprised of daily rotating items such as live-sliced charcuterie displays from our hand-crank Italian slicers. There were frost-your-own cupcake stations, where guests could customize their own desserts and even paint them the color of the country they were rooting for! Each buffet had chefs creating items live for guests, whether classic Austrian sausage links or tried-and-true barbecue brisket. All guests also were able to visit grilling stations where buffalo, beef and boar were served up.
As intended, the guests inside the two massive temporary structures never knew the hustle and bustle and organized chaos that was involved in getting food to the dozens of buffets and custom food stations. This is what adventure catering is all about, providing a memorable and grand customer experience whenever, wherever and no matter how much snow there may be!
Shaun Reed has been with Epicurean since 2005. As the former director of operations and now an event designer, he combined the logistics and sales aspects of catering to manage the company's World Ski Championships effort.