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Kitzbühel reduced to two SL races - WTF, FIS?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So the bullheaded FIS, in its never-ending denial that they need to move the races to where the snow is, not visa versa, has reduced the World Cup races at Kitz to a pair of slaloms:

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/...Kitzbuehel.php

The plan was to airlift in tons of snow onto the upper portions of The Streif, but warm winds and rain put the kibosh on said move. And even though the 7-day forecast calls for a 4-day stretch of sub-freezing days and nights, the FIS put on the brakes.

So, combined with the rain-out at Val d'Isere today, the men have no remaining speed events before the World Championships at Åre.

Am I the only one here who thinks that the FIS is shooting itself in the foot by spending tens of thousands of Euros on cockamamie snow airlifts to salvage the prestige races at a large monetary loss, rather than move the races to Scandinavia or North America, where the snow is more plentiful and the pistes are ready to roll? The strawman argument of "insufficient sponsor money" doesn't really hold when they're losing more money on the efforts taken to try and hold passable races at the lower-elevation venues in the Alps.

Oh well. My guess is that the bully nations of the FIS - Austria, France, Italy, Germany - will try and protect their home court advantage at the expense of quality (and safe) ski racing until they completely bankrupt the whole shebang.

It's sad - very, very sad.
post #2 of 15
The politics (and, I guess, money) of how races get doled out among countries and resorts is a somewhat mysterious -- and probably fairly interesting -- topic.

I vaguely recall some interview with an FIS higher up in the last year or two, in which he explained that the reason for the length (long) of the WC schedule was that there were additional resorts/countries demanding races, and it was utterly impossible to change any of the traditional races.

So far as I can tell (which may not be that far), there's really just one big bully nation. It's not hard to guess which one it is.
post #3 of 15
Let's see ..... does it start with a big "A" and end with a small "a" ...: ??

Albania

Australia

Andora

Armenia

:
post #4 of 15
You might be right in general, but I think you are wrong in this case. Let me first state that I have no evidence for this, but I don't think the FIS paid for the snow-transport helicopters. I think the local organisation paid for it (probably a calculated loss). Normally they would easily make money out of the race I think. There's always a huge amount of visitors.

Now they could indeed have spended the money on organising a race somewhere else. However: as I said, I don't think the money is from the FIS. All those fans (the real hardcore fans..) that would come to Kitzbuhel probably can't/won't go when it's somewhere else. Plus: the sponsors want to sponsor the Hahnenkamm rennen, not some replacement race. I really don't think it is a realistic option in this case.

The end result totally sucks tho: no downhill and super-g
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Let's see ..... does it start with a big "A" and end with a small "a" ...: ??

Albania

Australia

Andora

Armenia

:
Jan 22, 2007

Dear Yuki:

Wrong on all counts. It's Aa.

CharlieP
post #6 of 15
If they didn't fight to keep Kitzbuhl, I would be upset. Those classic races are what define the sport.

However, I agree FIS needs to seriously look at the way they schedule races and start putting more of the early races in North America and other places with reliable snow. They also need to start a little later and end a little later so that they can have a higher success rate in pulling the races off.
post #7 of 15
I can understand everyone's frustration. I wonder if this would have been Bode's year at Kitz. From the business side, the FIS requires event organizers to provide room & board, plus prize money for each event. That can't be cheap. You are talking at least 60 racers, with each entitled to a coach, a tech, plus team managers, etc. Move or cancel an event and the organizers lose out. Someone else out there will know more of the financial details of sponsoring a WC event.
post #8 of 15
What some people fail to realize is how much tradition, but also money, is associated with certain venues. Kitzbuelh is to skiing what the Indy 500 is to Nascar or what Monza is to Formula 1: the town goes from about 3,000 to 50,000+ on the weekend the WC is in town, wich means that local politicians and the race club will fight tooth and nail to have the race there, even if it means crappy conditions and only two slaloms. The town, mountain and club make more money in 1 weekend than what they get during the whole year, combined.


Skiing is an eurocentric sport, just like football is americentric: the FIS is ruled by the Austrians and their president not only has pride, but he has money assets in several resorts (resorts that were propositioned as replacements for the lost events at the start of the season)... Once again, it's a question of money vs common sense, and since the money is in Europe (Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France) it's unlikely that more races will take place in America. I think that the FIS will even shorten the schedule before having more races in Canada/USA...
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieP View Post
Jan 22, 2007

Dear Yuki:

Wrong on all counts. It's Aa.

CharlieP
Sorry. It's actually the state of Alaska. Today, the US Nationals. Tomorrow, the World! (cup)
post #10 of 15
I'm fully aware that there is a certain strategy and home court advantage when it comes to who is leading and the impact of cancelling a race.

But, there is so much work and fallout in trying to move a race and I think it was tried a few years back. None of the NA hills wanted to host because they had booked their events and activities for the year and the $$$ loss to the mountain was astronomical.

Mostly .... hanging onto the "tradition" of some events ... like moving the "Indy 500" to Arkansas or something.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobHarwood View Post
Sorry. It's actually the state of Alaska. Today, the US Nationals. Tomorrow, the World! (cup)
We can always hope. We just had a FIS downhill cut short after the first 30 men ran because of wind and other nasty weather. A local J1 male won, so I guess it's not all bad...
post #12 of 15
Kitzbühel without a downhill is like the Isle of man TT being held on a oval track, the Indy 500 being run at the local go-cart track (with go carts), the Boston Marathon being shortened to 10 miles, the Queen's cup held in an olympic swimming pool...

But then again, maybe I'm too much of a downhill fan.
post #13 of 15
Gawd Ghost .... you forgot about popcorn ... without butter or salt!
post #14 of 15
boardboy mentions that a team might bring 60 racers to Kitzbuhel. Is each racer entitled to a coach and a tech? How many people would the USA Team have brought to Kitzbuhel for a full race schedule? 200-250? Do indivdual racers also bring their own nutritionist, personal trainer, life coach, and astrologer?
post #15 of 15
You forget the main reasons.

Why are races so early into the season?
It's to remind people to buy new skis!!!!!! (they are even so open to pronounce it on the Austrian tv)

- Why not choose resorts that have snow in Europe (yes they do exist as well) - tradition and money. Housing 500 people ain't easy. St.Anton paid damages to the FIS as they decided not to house races in february (too expensive to hotels) - they would eagerly take up races in December.

For Kitzbuehl the race is in prestige, the money they make directly comes second (think Kitzbuehl has around 50 000 beds in Kitzbuehl itself plus double in the villages around that are booked out during all holidays and Feb and March with few open beds in the other times). Having 30 000 spectators only gives a few additional money (they speak of additional 10 Million € that come in because of the race, but much more because of the free advertisment that goes with a DH race.)

Schladming wants a DH since 20 years and doesn't get one - FIS doesn't want to have even more races in Austria.

Kitzbuehl paid around 2 Mio € for snow transport - this was covered by an insurance the local race comittee had paid for (total loss if no event around 12 Mio €) - This action was heavily criticised for environmental impact.
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