EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Racing and Big Mountain Competitions › You Want the Truth Follow the Money
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

You Want the Truth Follow the Money

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Interesting post by ex-coach from the U.S. Ski team,Greg Needell on the future and present state of U.S. alpine ski racing: http://www.alpineraceconsulting.com/blog/2012/6/9/you-want-the-truth-follow-the-money.html  There's a lot in one column, much of it provocative. 


Edited by lurking4years - 6/11/12 at 11:52am
post #2 of 10

 I think Greg is right on the money. It's appalling that our athletes are so underfunded. I believe the National Team format can work, with adequate funding and organization. I do not believe the FIS, by the way, is going to allow any other format. The Austrians and the Swiss, to a large degree, pretty much run the FIS...look at how the new men's GS equipment regs came to pass. 

 

The U. S. is enjoying a wave of success right now, but as Greg notes, the architects of that success are getting pretty long in the tooth, and while there's promise in some of the skiers coming up behind them, it's just that...promise...and there's no critical mass.  Or incentive for U. S. ski racers to continue without the kind of funding they need to race, let alone win. 

 

Yep, what Greg says is all true...unfortunately, I don't see any kind of fix coming to the U. S. team's athlete funding problems, which are embedded within the larger problems of ski racing, the WC, and what the FIS is doing (or not doing) to further the sport. On the one hand, we live in very heady times for ski racing, with athletes like Marcel Hirscher and Lindsey Vonn making astonishing efforts to beat out very competitive fields. On the other hand...I think ski racing is dying, and I don't know what it's going to take to revive it.  Or, more accurately, I know exactly what it's going to take, starting with canning all the current FIS officers, getting rid of Marolt and all the admin flunkies, and getting money and support to all ski racing athletes...but that would make too much sense, wouldn't it? 

 

frown.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking4years View Post

Interesting post by ex-coach from the U.S. Ski team,Greg Needell on the future and present state of U.S. alpine ski racing: http://www.alpineraceconsulting.com/blog/2012/6/9/you-want-the-truth-follow-the-money.html  There's a lot in one column, much of it provocative. 

post #3 of 10

We deal with these kids on a day to day basis. It truly is sad the lack of support they get not only from the "team" but also from the industry. It is wrong when one of the TOP competitors in their class has to pay for a lift ticket at Mt. Hood to train or worse has to buy his boots on Ebay. 

post #4 of 10

How many XGames and big mountain movie stars have free rides?  There just isn't a whole lot of spectator interest with ski racing here in the US.  You'll find that the sponsors are where the money really flows from if you "follow the money".

 

For many, ski racing is a lot like bowling.. loads of fun to do.  They really want to do well and beat others at it, but not that big of a television draw.  Olympic downhill is the only thing that a lot of Americans will go out of their way to see live (on television).  Other than that there really isn't much bang for the advertising dollar with US ski racing.  It's really too bad, but it is what it is. 

 

US Soccer faced a similar dilemma but seems to be gaining popularity as of late.  There is hope that US interest in racing will return when folks burn out on back country/big mountain and XGames events.  Skicross does a fair job at combining both. 

post #5 of 10

All true.  There isn't a lot of money available for ski racing support, but there is some, especially if you go out and knock on doors, which the USST doesn't seem to be doing. I think the US Team yearly budget is something like 15 million $. I keep thinking back to what Gene Hackman, as the U. S. team coach, said in DH Racer: "We have the mountains, we have the muscle, in this, the richest country in the world, we don't have the money." In his post, Greg points out that even if the USST had a larger budget, there's no guarantee the support would go beyond the A Team, because it might get sucked up by other needs, whatever they are. But let's just pretend for a moment that if the USST budget doubled to 30 million $, we'd at least be able to fully support the A and B teams. That's not really enough, but it's at least a start. Even in this economy, I'm pretty convinced that there's an additional 15 mil out there somewhere...so who's in charge of rasing funds for the USST? I guarantee there's at least one person, and maybe more, given what Greg says, which is that there are 100 plus staffers in the USST bureaucracy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

How many XGames and big mountain movie stars have free rides?  There just isn't a whole lot of spectator interest with ski racing here in the US.  You'll find that the sponsors are where the money really flows from if you "follow the money".

 

For many, ski racing is a lot like bowling.. loads of fun to do.  They really want to do well and beat others at it, but not that big of a television draw.  Olympic downhill is the only thing that a lot of Americans will go out of their way to see live (on television).  Other than that there really isn't much bang for the advertising dollar with US ski racing.  It's really too bad, but it is what it is. 

 

US Soccer faced a similar dilemma but seems to be gaining popularity as of late.  There is hope that US interest in racing will return when folks burn out on back country/big mountain and XGames events.  Skicross does a fair job at combining both. 

post #6 of 10

Sadly, it is true. We as young ski racers have alot to go through financialy.I am a j3 and in between 8th grade and freshmen year and ive had to get a job in order to pay for ski gear. heck, my mountain might not even open next year... How am i supposed to deal with that? I dont live in tahoe and go to another mountain just like that. I ski in BV and my parents probably dont want to get up and give up their jobs just to move to another mountain. THis is the upcoming generation of ski racers and we are struggling to get anywhere in our careers. Pretty Ironic huh?

post #7 of 10

Ya know what kid? You're right.  And stepping back from those questions and comments for just a second, without wanting to sound all preachy, but......good for you for asking those questions.  And good for you for busting your hump to get a job at your age to further your love of skiing and racing.  And good for you for not whining about it.  We need more kids like you in the world.

 

My compliments to you......and your parents.  Keep that hard-working attitude to go with your passion.  It will get you far in life and give you the right perspective as you get older.  Just don't forget to enjoy the journey along the way, despite the bumps you may encounter.

 

Kudos to you. icon14.gif

post #8 of 10

I have a hard time feeling outrage that racers aren't getting a free ride. Just being so blessed, as to get to ski regularly, is beyond the majority of humanity's comprehension, so not getting a free ride to reach the pinnacle of the crest of the wave, does not seem like a crime.

 

What does seem like a crime is anyone making more than $200K as an administrator to an organization that ostensibly exists to support ski racing. Sounds like the organization is irretrievably corrupt, so those who have money to throw at athletes should develop a separate fund for them which isn't run by crooks.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

I have a hard time feeling outrage that racers aren't getting a free ride. Just being so blessed, as to get to ski regularly, is beyond the majority of humanity's comprehension, so not getting a free ride to reach the pinnacle of the crest of the wave, does not seem like a crime.

 

What does seem like a crime is anyone making more than $200K as an administrator to an organization that ostensibly exists to support ski racing. Sounds like the organization is irretrievably corrupt, so those who have money to throw at athletes should develop a separate fund for them which isn't run by crooks.

 

Yes, the USST is pretty corrupt, as is the FIS, which is why the future of ski racing looks pretty dim. Second, it's far from a free ride, to start with. Racers and their supporters have to pay through the nose to race all the way to the USST.  Then Marolt says stuff like "Winning at every level", and "Best in the world", and personally  takes credit for the USST success in the 2010 Olympics...all the while, we aren't supporting the B Team members who compete for the USA. They are also professional athletes, this is their livelihood. Compared to US pro athletes in baseball, football, and basketball, whose training, transportation, and so forth, is completely taken care, and also can ride the bench for salaries of millions of dollars per yer, the USST racers are generally treated incredibly shabbily. Where is this all going? Very simply, right into the ground as soon as Bode, Ted Ligety, Mancuso, and Lindsey Vonn retire.  There's nobody behind them, and it's easy to see why.  You're a kid with athletic talent, here are your choices...skiing?  Or baseball?  We'll continue to have a US team, we just won't get the best athletes...

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiRacer55 View Post

 

Yes, the USST is pretty corrupt, as is the FIS, which is why the future of ski racing looks pretty dim. Second, it's far from a free ride, to start with. Racers and their supporters have to pay through the nose to race all the way to the USST.  Then Marolt says stuff like "Winning at every level", and "Best in the world", and personally  takes credit for the USST success in the 2010 Olympics...all the while, we aren't supporting the B Team members who compete for the USA. They are also professional athletes, this is their livelihood. Compared to US pro athletes in baseball, football, and basketball, whose training, transportation, and so forth, is completely taken care, and also can ride the bench for salaries of millions of dollars per yer, the USST racers are generally treated incredibly shabbily. Where is this all going? Very simply, right into the ground as soon as Bode, Ted Ligety, Mancuso, and Lindsey Vonn retire.  There's nobody behind them, and it's easy to see why.  You're a kid with athletic talent, here are your choices...skiing?  Or baseball?  We'll continue to have a US team, we just won't get the best athletes...

 

Compared to other US  pro athletes, ski racing generates barely any revenue, as it is really only of interest to other skiers. However, football and basketball are games that most athletically inclined kids play, even if they never play in organized competition. This is due to the fact the venues to play them are in the neighborhoods where they live, and not only where there are mountains.

 

If ski racing brought in sufficient revenue their ride would be paid for, but I don't see racing in this country filling stadiums, or bringing in the type of ratings that will pay enough for the treatment that athletes of popular sports do.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Racing and Big Mountain Competitions › You Want the Truth Follow the Money