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End of the Ski Racing Year

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Some musings about the end of the ski racing year

It’s been over two weeks since we held our last ski race for the year—the Loveland Derby, vintage 42. Over 400 athletes mostly from the Rocky Mountain region, but some from the East Coast and Pacific North West, came for some very good slalom racing. I think I skied it in 1962. The races were spread over four courses, two hills, and two days. This is one of those events where race officials forerun and costumes are encouraged. I was Dumbledore. We had cross dressers, Tinkerbells, Butt Crack Workmen, Sex Avengers, and other costumes with minimal cover. We got close to shin guards and a smile. The courses held up, the weather was great, and it was a ball to put on, but it’s close to a military operation in terms of planning and execution.

Last Saturday we had our end of year awards banquet. Several hundred attended; athletes, parents, coaches, mountain management, and sponsors. We had awards, prizes, auctions, and great food. Each athlete, no matter how they did over the year, was introduced by a positive statement and given an award by their coaches. Sponsors were recognized, and a number of coaches were duct taped to their seats and auctioned off. Mountain management was thanked for their support. I’ve been on the Loveland Racing Club Board for 18 years, and have had two stints as President; currently on my 4th year. I’m doing it again next year, god knows why.

Save for the Derby, this description wouldn’t be too different from any other race club. However, we did one thing that made our year. The LRC submitted a proposal to mountain management that ended up making them money, offset some of our costs, and gave us a superb training hill that did more for our athletes than all the coaches combined. Turns out ski racers have money for training. Lift ticket sales and hill space fees away from the public can generate a fair amount of incremental, newfound revenue. Loveland became quite a haven for the US and other World Cup and regional teams. We got snow making for another hill that is now one of the best training hills in Colorado. Don’t know if any of this is applicable to the threads concerning ski school marketing. We became the control point for this business. We defined the program, scheduled teams, collected lift tickets, sold training lane space, etc. Incidentally, we are booked for next year. Also, Loveland will expand its NorAm racing schedule and host a women’s GS and a men’s slalom at the Basin in November. The fields will be World Cup caliber. In short, the racing club became a valued partner with Loveland management. As long as money can be made, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them drive more racing in the future. Niche marketing is good.

So, a year is over, and I can forget about the race club…I wish. Next years budget must be defined and put in place, current programs need to be evaluated and refined, new marketing materials developed, next years training calendar and race schedule confirmed, a new club board to train, coaches to hire, and I want to try my hand at writing a ski techniques document for our coaches. Will take a trip or two to Hood to try out and order new equipment; we’ve been told not to wait until next fall. Will spend some time banging plastic, seeing old friends, and clearing my head of the other world—I like that world too, but I can’t live in it all the time.

Ski racing is a lot like living in Never-Never Land. “I won’t grow up.” And I guess I haven’t and by now don’t have to. I have one foot in, and one foot out, and it works pretty well.

Our Program Director called me “Want to go to Hintertux and hang out with the Austrians?” Hmm.

post #2 of 10
Must be nice to be "full time".
We had a pretty good year here in Central. We end up with the Lutsen Spring Series. Athletes from all over the US and Canada came this year after Schlopy said in Ski Mag that he made the team because of that race.
I saw Martin Tichy at the Indianhead Mid-Am. He said to say Hi. This is the first time I've seen you post since then.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Why haven't I posted more? Good question, not sure I have a good answer. My interest is primarily ski racing at the USSA Ability and FIS levels. Most of the discussion here is associated with basic ski instruction, instructors, recreational and general skiing and equipment issues. Don't get me wrong, there are some superb people contributing here, especially recently. It's just that the kinds of issues discussed are not my cup of tea, or I don't think I could add anything substantive. I'll create another thread and see who shows up.

Also, thanks for reminding me; I owe Martin an email. I hope he can make his program work long term. Keeping focus and enthusiasm will be the challenge. I also want to take a run or two on Milos' SL's; Michael used them at Loveland.

BTW, do you know Bill Wong?


[ May 03, 2002, 08:15 PM: Message edited by: edgreen ]
post #4 of 10
Sure, I've known Bill for several years. He used to be a top racer in Milwaukee Council when I first met him. His daughter Julia is doing very well. I believe she was on the podium at Whistler this year.
I don't get into the technique stuff too much unless it involves racing but the rest of the site is lots of fun. I usually get a few good laughs every time I check. I've also made some friends whom I've connected with outside the site.
post #5 of 10

Post the race issues, you are the kind of person needed to generate the interest.

You are fortunate to have support from the mountain. Many of us have to fight for crumbs of support.
post #6 of 10
Ed, have any TDs or the mountain management ever objected to such "costumes with minimal cover"? I ask b/c our college race league has a similar tradition for our last race...

However, as the league has become more serious (all NCAA varsity teams, with some skiers have point profiles in the 30s), the challenge has been to devise an outrageous costume that won't slow down the skier. One season some guys found the definitive answer: take a ratty old gs suit that's about to fall apart anyway, and start cutting away until the lower section looks more like a speedo swimsuit.

But the Berkshire East owner got very upset, and added this to his long list of reasons why he doesn't want us back next year. (Which is what he's been threatening for the last several decades, even though he has no other business.) Plus the elderly TD (in his 1980 Lake Placid suit) complained that we were "making a mockery of the sport." (He also disqualified one of my racers, claiming that his bib number was not visible, but I won the protest since the Chief of Race had given specific approval to the bib being worn upside-down, diaper-style, over only his sole article of clothing, i.e., boxers.)

The outcome has been that the fast skiers have ditched the costumes, while the less-competitive skiers get really creative:
- One of my skiers stepped into the gate wearing a jacket and tie, then stripped down to a Superman costume.
- Another one of my guys dressed up in a grass skirt, complete with apple-enhanced breasts, then once through the finish took out one of his apples (the other having DNFed) and had a post-race snack.
- Some women stepped into the gate still wearing their jackets & sidezips (gaining the approval of the costume censors, skied halfway, and took off their jackets & sidezips to reveal bikinies. (I was staffing the mid-station phone, talking to the start and finish: "Hold the next racer." "Is she hiking?" "Uh, no..." "Is she finishing?" "Uh, yes..." "Well, what's she doing?" "Er, you'll see...")
- The best one though was a guy who came down dressed in baggy pants, sunglasses, etc., carrying a huge boom box on his shoulder, blaring "Play that funky music white boy..."!
post #7 of 10
At Lutsen Stan Hayer wore a feathered boa and other such things for his last run. Brad Hogan wore his bib as his top for that run. Others were "creative" as well. What's wrong with a little fun in springtime? :
post #8 of 10
Originally posted by Jonathan S.:
"making a mockery of the sport."

You've GOTTA be kidding. He would have loved getting mooned at the Arapahoe Basin May Day slalom the first year I "raced" in it. But that was probably before his time - mid '60s.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I met Bill at Hood last summer, he brought a group to train in the fall, and came back to train for the J3 JO’s. Yes, Julia has real potential.


Loveland is split into 2 mountains. All races are been staged at Loveland Valley, which is closed by the time of the Derby. No public is on the hill, so em-bare-ass-ment is minimized, so management wouldn’t care. As far as TD’s and other officials are concerned, it’s all in good fun. I’ve never heard a TD really complain. In reality, I think it’s expected. BTW the rabbits are really into it.


If memory serves me correctly, at the May Day slalom the race organizers would open a keg between the first and second runs. Alcohol and a bad first run tended to make people very hot and bothered, which would increase the potential to remove clothes. Of course, the PC police didn’t exist.

post #10 of 10
Originally posted by edgreen:
If memory serves me correctly, at the May Day slalom the race organizers would open a keg between the first and second runs. Alcohol and a bad first run tended to make people very hot and bothered, which would increase the potential to remove clothes. Of course, the PC police didn’t exist.

Your memory is good. Except my memory is that by the time the second run started no one cared any more. Seemed to be customary that the fastest times from the first run were the drunkest (race strategy?) and most prone to displays. And anyone caught taking the second run seriously would get mooned by the crowd.

Spring. Sigh...
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