Downhill ski racing is the future of downhill winter sports. Get your children and grandchildren into a racing program like the Tahoe League Race Series: http://tlrs.homestead.com/. Catch the wave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv85tBzA6Oc.
I've been hearing that since the mid 70s when Freestyle started taking off. I don't think either discipline is in any real danger of becoming extinct, but both are always evolving, freestyle more dynamically and racing more conservatively.
Here's my main question.. does anyone ever see skier X becoming a race event instead of a freestyle x games event?
This is one odd statement. If I had ever been forced to go into racing I would have quit skiing, and still would. What sort of accommodation do you make for the folks, like me, who are not interested in being competitive? The whole racing thing is a turn off to many of us.
If that's the future, count me out. I just want to mess around, and don't care if I'm better or worse than someone else.
There are so many different ways folks enjoy skiing. Free heelers, racing, freestyle, slopeside, backcountry. I for one am glad. From someone who loves racing, I get a kick out of those who love the trees, terrain parks, bumps, the super steeps. All having fun sliding down hill.
Agree the OP is a head case or a troll, but OTOH, wonder if you two are misjudging the current scene based on where you ski. Back east, and in the midwest, kid and youth USSA racing is thriving. Racing or terrain park freestyle are often the only challenging things you can do with a smaller, lower-pitch resort. So respect your antipathy, Pos, and your take on energy, sib, but pretty much off the mark for the demographic majority of U.S. skiers. (Yep, majority. Who don't ski in far west or Rockies. Look it up.)
Agree the OP is a head case or a troll, but OTOH, wonder if you two are misjudging the current scene based on where you ski. Back east, and in the midwest, kid and youth USSA racing is thriving. Racing or terrain park freestyle are often the only challenging things you can do with a smaller, lower-pitch resort. So respect your antipathy, Pos, and your take on energy, sib, but pretty much off the mark for the demographic majority of U.S. skiers. (Yep, majority. Look it up.)
I was only speaking for myself. I know how much I dislike competition and I know that I would have never skied if that was the way it was sold. I am not a demographic, I'm me.
There are indoor places with seeded bumps and freestyle programs for kids..
I stand corrected. I was using more limited data, both in terms of age and in terms of location. But also wonder if your interpretation is correct. You forget that skiing is a very niche use of discretionary income. Attended a talk by a USSA rep who advised U8-U12 parents that they'd need to decide at U16 whether to move closer to a mountain, how much they were prepared to support their athlete. So not surprisingly, numbers begin to plummet. And those who choose to stay in the game will be influenced by the economics and the snowfall. I notice that numbers fell between 2009 and 2010 (reverberations from financial crisis), then stabilized or actually increased for two years, then fell dramatically in 2013 and 2014. So not some long term trend in racing's attractiveness as much as a reflection of the 2008 meltdown, and then something going on the past two years. (Snowfall patterns regionally? Reduced consumer confidence in the economy after Obama's re-election?)
Bottom line for me: Go do a multiple regression that controls for economy, resort prices, equipment costs, snowfall, consumer confidence, and that covers more than the past 5 years. Then we can talk about whether racing is over, or just sensitive as ever to external variables.
BC and touring have been extremely popular the past decade and still seem to be growing. I suspect that has cannibalized both racing and freestyle disciplines as the things kids really want to spend most of their snow time doing.
Sib, I honestly think you're missing the point. If the numbers you show are actually representative of the entire state of racing, including U10's and Masters and high school teams and so on, then you still have to show that the downward "trend" actually exists, that it's decently predictive of some moment in the future and not just a result of a small slice of years for a small sample of what are basically high school athletes. As an example, think about what we would have said about the economy in 2014 if we had sampled growth rates in real estate between 2002 and 2007. Uh...
Put another way, the cause of the stepped decline is what will tell us whether it has any value for predicting the future. If the cause is some innate loss of interest in the sport, if racing just doesn't have its mojo anymore, then the future looks dim, regardless of external variables.
But if the cause is largely about external variables like discretionary income, or snowfall, or consumer belt-tightening, or the impact of gasoline costs, or you name it, then there may not be an innate problem about racing. It'll be about these outside forces that caused the down-level-down, and we already know they will bounce around. Consumers will untighten their belts, gas will drop a bit when Iraq calms down, snow will have good years and bad years. For that matter, Sochi should produce a bounce since we collected some American medals.
So sorry, and nothing personal, but your last sentence, that clearly racing is abandoning the fray, is just not valid, one way or the other. Ain't clear now, let alone in the future...
The bold article was nearly unreadable. Too narrow a focus for half of it for the outsider.
2nd looks good. Basically cost and no support from ussa to expand things.
Kids have choices now in skiing. There's no where to go with ski racing sadly. Maybe the best will get college consideration. The very best will get a scholarship, however, foreign kids are snapping those up. I do have a feeling that things may actually be picking up a bit in racing.
I was told that basically the Norwegians have cut funding for their programs and many of their top kids are simply getting scholarships from US schools. US schools are financing the Norwegians.