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World Cup Racing

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I am thinking of going to the races at BC this year and am hoping for some insight as to the events and races. I've seen the schedules for the upcoming year but am still wondering on quite a few things such as,
if lift tickets will suffice for watching or do I need a special pass?
What are the oppertunities for photography outside of the fences or in the stands?
Would I even be able to watch from the hill or would I have to watch from the stands?

Thanks in advance
post #2 of 28
Beaver Creek is a great place to watch a WC race. If you are a strong skier is it possible to get very close to the racers on course and many good photo opportunities. Access is primarily via black diamond runs in very early conditions, i.e. rocks, stumps, etc. Some years you can ski up to the fences, other years you might have to hike a bit. I would suggest getting there a day early to watch practice runs so that you can pick out a good location for photos and lighting. The Pumphouse is great location, lots of air, but you may need to get there early. Anywhere downhill of the nets is also a good location.

For weaker skiers the bleachers at the bottom can be reached via easy blue or shuttle from the village. All that is needed for ski access is a lift ticket. I am not sure of the cost of the shuttle, if any. There is a “jumbo-tron” at the bottom so you can see the entire race on TV, with the bottom 20 seconds of the race visible. The atmosphere in the finish area is very international, loud, cow bells clanging, and a tremendous amount of fun. Slope side is less carnival like, you will see the racers for only a few seconds, but the sense of speed and steepness is awesome.

If you can stick around a day or two after the race, they usually open up the course run for the public. Let ‘em run if you dare on a race prepped hill, you will appreciate how incredible these racers really are.

Oh, and as hard as these guys ski they party with as much enthusiasm. If you go out to dinner or the clubs you are likely to see the entire team, as well as the stars. Keep us posted on your plans
post #3 of 28
Anyone know what Bode has decided to do this season?
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Anyone know what Bode has decided to do this season?
???
post #5 of 28
At the end of last season he was making a lot of noise about looking for an alternative to another year on the WC circuit.
post #6 of 28

Bode, the WC and the Olympics

Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Anyone know what Bode has decided to do this season?
Its an Olympic year, he may be a renegade but he won't skip out on the Olmpics, he'll be out there at least one more season, IMHO. He probably has some contractual obligations to fill as well.
post #7 of 28
Anyone know anything?
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Anyone know anything?
I certainly don't know anything, but I spent a few hours this past weekend talking with a young collegiate racer. He's nothing too spectacular in the FIS rankings, but he's one hell of a skier and he does hang out with quite a few near-US-Teamers.

Their handicapping is that Bode is completely tucked in to the FIS/World Cup fold for this coming season. Another overall World Cup title (if he can do it) and some more heavy metal at the Olympics (if he can do it) would cement his credentials as the greatest US male skier since (at least) Phil Mahre.

After that (assuming all that comes to pass), it sounds like Bode *really* wants to try to establish an alternative ski racing circuit. North American racing venues near big cities; nighttime, prime-time, dual-format ski racing, teams along the lines of NBA/NFL/MLB type organizations, sponsorships and big-time television contracts.

Sounds like pie-in-the-sky to me, but who knows? I would never in a jillion years have predicted that the X-Games would have turned into a major TV and sponsor draw.

I guess we'll see.
post #9 of 28
Does Bode have the star power to transform ski racing from cult to popular culture? I think he does, and more power to him if that's his mission.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo
Does Bode have the star power to transform ski racing from cult to popular culture? I think he does, and more power to him if that's his mission.
If he wins multiple gold medals in the Olympics he may be able to. The Olympics is the only time when non skiers watch skiing in big numbers. The sort of excitement that Olympic heros stir, can reach teens looking for something to be into that is cool. Gold medals are pretty cool, especially when the one winning them has the reputation as somewhat of a rebel.
post #11 of 28
It´s standard to have 2-year contracts and Bode must have it too. Besides, there´s nothing like Olympics to increase the market value of a winner.

A few speculations/questions:
would the alternative tour be
- about "something else"
- about more money
- a means to exert some pressure upon Amer and to get a better contract ("I quit unless...")
- about an escape from the tough competition of other worldclass racers into a well-paid cozy show?

Don´t thrash me because I dared say this. They are just questions.
post #12 of 28
My speculation would be along the lines that Bode may have convinced himself that more success in the WC and Olympics is a means to an end. He doesn't seem to be motivated by the usual things and on a personal level sounded like he had nothing left to accomplish at the end of the season. He hates celebrity, doesn't seem particularly motivated by money and can't even keep track of his medals and trophies. So building increased marketability and leveraging it to launch his dream circuit makes some sense.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
It´s standard to have 2-year contracts and Bode must have it too. Besides, there´s nothing like Olympics to increase the market value of a winner.

A few speculations/questions:
would the alternative tour be
- about "something else"
- about more money
- a means to exert some pressure upon Amer and to get a better contract ("I quit unless...")
- about an escape from the tough competition of other worldclass racers into a well-paid cozy show?

Don´t thrash me because I dared say this. They are just questions.
Maybe he wants to do more skiing in his own country.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
It´s standard to have 2-year contracts and Bode must have it too. Besides, there´s nothing like Olympics to increase the market value of a winner.

A few speculations/questions:
would the alternative tour be
- about "something else"
- about more money
- a means to exert some pressure upon Amer and to get a better contract ("I quit unless...")
- about an escape from the tough competition of other worldclass racers into a well-paid cozy show?

Don´t thrash me because I dared say this. They are just questions.
checkracer:

There's nothing wrong at all with asking those questions. I think jstraw and volantdddict have got it right. It sounds like Bode has always wanted to spend more time here in the US but he still wants to ski competitively. If he could somehow parlay his increasing fame into contracts to race here in North America, it seems like that's what he would like to do.

It makes for interesting speculation, particularly for those of us who like to watch high-level ski racing and have very little chance to do so here in the US.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Sounds like pie-in-the-sky to me, but who knows?
To me, too. I don't see any way that it will succeed on much of a level. For one thing, an "alternate tour" in pretty near exactly this format has existed, off and on, for over thirty years. It's never took really taken off. Its heyday was probably right at the start, in the early '70s, when Bob Beattie was behind it and they had Jean Claude Killy, who at the time was a bigger "name" to the general population than Bode Miller is or is ever likely to be.

If he really does want to do something like this, he must go to the Olympics and win multiple medals. Right now -- as a lighthearted piece toward the end of last season in Ski Racing highlighted -- the name "Bode Miller" is a blank to a substantial majority of the population.

I just can't see such an alternate tour being that interesting, unless somehow it could be fit in so that racers could compete in both it and the World Cup -- which seems impossible without FIS cooperation, and thus impossible. I don't see why any good European racer would be interested in it, other than those who can't get start spots on the World Cup and guys who are past their prime and looking for an alternative form of retirement. Would you be that interested in seeing Bode Miller repeatedly beat Erik Schlopy (who actually raced on the pro tour for a while some years back, more-or-less invisibily), some Austrians nobody's every heard of and a couple of creaky veterans?

As far as Bode's motivation, it's always difficult to figure that out. From some of his interviews and musings, I think sometimes he does things just because people tell him not to.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
A few speculations/questions:
would the alternative tour be
- about "something else"
- about more money
- a means to exert some pressure upon Amer and to get a better contract ("I quit unless...")
- about an escape from the tough competition of other worldclass racers into a well-paid cozy show?
I don't see anything remotely thrash-worthy about those questions.

I'd guess it's mostly 1, and maybe partly 4. To be fair, it's not just tough competition, but also tough lifestyle. His bus is pretty nice, I suppose, but after you get over a certain age the attraction of living in a bus for months at a time gets a bit thin.

I don't think it's 2 or 3. Not just from what he says, but because it seems likely he'd make less money, not more. It seems that he'd pretty well vanish from the European consciousness, for one thing. And I don't see him being devious enough for 3. Plus, there's only so much money available from Amer, and if you want to put pressure on them it's a lot easier just to mention RossignolSalomonVolklFischer.
post #17 of 28
As I type this, Bode is at a US Ski Team SL training camp in New Zealand, so I think it's safe to assume that he will be a WC participant and US Ski Team Member in 2005/06.

After this year, I think it's just a guess.

I think any attempt at re-inventing a new North American "pro" racing circuit is simply bad business. Even with Bode's current popularity, US participation in racing is at all time low.
post #18 of 28
how about something along the lines of the tennis or golf tour (or dare i say nascar or F1) forget about national teams and concentrate on individuals. i know nothing about the 4 sports mentioned but can name singh/woods/weir, roddick/federer/williams/aggasi, schumacherx2, petty(s)/earnharts etc
the world cup in the existing format(national team competition) is confusing and FIS has done nothing to make the sport more marketable that is for sure
personally i hope BM does start an independent tour and that it does very well....
post #19 of 28
The idea of company teams replacing national teams is older than some of the posters here.

The new team competition shows how strong the FIS opposition is (and, for logical reasons, has always been).
post #20 of 28
i never said company teams, the athlete would be an individual and pay would come from whatever company outside the industry wants to pony up(GMC/Subaru/Viagra/Tampax/Sony/Nintendo etc) the money paid by ski companies would probably be the smallest amount...look at NASCAR 10-15 years compared to now...or golf, i mean really, why is there a GOLF CHANNEL?? the dumbest "game" known to man with it's own channel wtf?
post #21 of 28
As it is now, a significant amount of sponsorship money goes to the national associations, instead of directly to the athletes. The national associations use that money for things like providing coaching, training and living expenses to development team and other "lesser" racers.

If you kill that system, Bode Miller might make $20 million instead of just 10, and most of the rest of the US Ski Team would have to quit and get jobs. The cost of being a top-level ski racer is something in the neighborhood of $200,000 or more per year. If you don't have a sponsor who'll pay you that much, ski racing would provide you with a negative income.

There is, of course, an example that demonstrates that it is possible to be an independent racer: Koznick wears a US suit, but is otherwise unconnected the US Ski Team, and pays her own expenses. On the other hand, she's the top female slalom racer in a country with a lot of skiers and a lot of sponsors, and I think she's pretty much scraping by on her few sponsors and the whopping $74,000 she made last year in prize money (incidentally, the 11th most of any woman racer ... the most prize money was won by Bode: about $350,000).

Ted Ligety is pretty darn good, but doesn't even have a headgear sponsor (i.e. no non-ski-equipment sponsor). Same for Erik Schlopy.
post #22 of 28
Waxman:
Right, you never did, I only thought you meant something like company teams. Yes, this would be different. Which doesn´t mean it would/could work. I don´t know.

The absence of headgear sponsor may be not that there is absolutely no one interested but also that the racer is still waiting for the best bid. Afaik, at the beginning of last season Hilde Gerg hadn´t had any either, and she´s one of the best and an Olympic champion (and a woman which is sponsor-wise a handicap).
post #23 of 28
i have a friend who has been rnked as high as 5th in the world in WC points for her discipline, her complaint is that "being a skier should be good enough, i shouldn't have to do press conferences/promotion etc." to which i answer Anna Kornikova was what? 64th at her highest ranking...now i am not saying get naked but little self promotion goes a long way...Rossi did some "promo" pictures of alpine canada girls a couple years ago where they all got fake tatoos of the Rossi "R" that were really tame but the campaign was killed as being to risque...
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Anyone know anything?
Socrates would say that knowing nothing is the first step to true knowledge.

Of course, this means that Sgt. Schultz was a great intellect.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by waxman
i have a friend who has been rnked as high as 5th in the world in WC points for her discipline, her complaint is that "being a skier should be good enough, i shouldn't have to do press conferences/promotion etc." to which i answer Anna Kornikova was what? 64th at her highest ranking...now i am not saying get naked but little self promotion goes a long way...Rossi did some "promo" pictures of alpine canada girls a couple years ago where they all got fake tatoos of the Rossi "R" that were really tame but the campaign was killed as being to risque...
Rossignol had a phantastic ad about 5 years ago with a woman´s back full of some sun lotion where a finger was making a curvy path. It got a perfect, decently ambiguous wording in Czech (IMHO better than the English version which I don´t remember anymore). It may be the same time.

The Austrians know how to promote their stars. I remember their ladies that were presented in their SPORTMAGAZIN as bodypainting models, Christianne Mitterwallner on the cover. Beautiful!

The men were presented before St. Anton 2001 in historical outfit including old wooden skis. A bit an Austrian kitsch, most probably not original but not a bad idea.

I have a story about Lady Black and White. Back in 1999 I went to meet Hanni Wenzel at her place in Liechtenstein. She had with her husband (Harti Weirather) and brother Andy the WWP agency and they were in charge of a number of top racers (Hermann Maier was also theirs, at least till 2001, Janica Kostelic as well). There were some fresh photos of a young lady both in ski outfit and in some fancy dress, she was in black when the pics were on the snow and in white when they were taken in some surface coal mine. Awesome B&W pics. I told Hanni how I liked them. "She´s a racer," Hanni told me. "Oh, is she?" Not that I knew her... "Hilde Gerg," and I felt like a complete idiot. She was absolutely different and absolutely gorgeous in the pictures.
That´s what I call promotion!

There´s a continuation to the story. I persuaded Hanni to provide us (the magazine I did the interview for) a few of these photos. It was June and they were prepared for the fall. In September they somehow realized that we could bring them earlier than WWP and I had to promise to wait till some date. We did, I met Hilde in September at Hintertux and the result was an interview with those Lady Black and White photos. It was the only issue of any ski mag here in the last 10 years with a black-and-white cover - and one I like most.

Good promotion is important. As to the duty of the stars to be nice to media people my impression is that the top racers are reliable pros and they know what they are expected to do. (Unless they are Hermann Maier guarded more than the President, or Katja Seizinger who was an absolutely special case.)

Btw, two years ago I told our Sarka Zahrobska she should elaborate some light scandal to get more media space. She looked at me askance, most probably thinking that the guys of her father´s generation were all complete idiots and, fortunately enough, she decided to race well instead. A very wise decision, the WSC medal is definitely better.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by checkracer
Btw, two years ago I told our Sarka Zahrobska she should elaborate some light scandal to get more media space.
Of course, that's what Spider Sabich did, but it didn't really help his career.
post #27 of 28
Poor Wladimir. He would be 60 next year... But I don´t know much about him.

True, some guys sometimes act like idiots. Haven´t I written that in my previous post?
post #28 of 28
I was 15 and I arrived in Aspen for my first ever ski trip...they day Claudine pulled the trigger. That was also the week the Gondola fell at Vail.
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