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Viewing a World Cup ski race

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'll be in Whistler for the World Cup races in February, and I have a couple questions (this will be the first time I've been to these races). How early do I need to get there to get a place at the finish line? Is it the type of event where people come early and don't move, or is there lots of wandering in and out? And how long does a typical event (downhill, Super G and GS) last? I'm trying to work our skiing schedule around the races. Thanks!
post #2 of 18
I doubt the crowds will be super huge there, but I would get there first thing in the morning to find parking, depending on which race you are there to watch. None of the races start before 10:45, and an entire speed race with 50 to 70 competitors lasts around two hours, a two run GS maybe three in all, so plenty of time to get some skiing in before and after the races. The downhill/super G/gs course has a large finish area and the final section is quite long and wide so you should be able to hike up beside it to check out the fastest part of the course and some big air.

If you are going to be there for the women's downhill, a good strategy is to head up the mountain during the training runs and ski along side the course checking out different sections, then watch the race from the finish where there most likely will be a jumbotron so you can see the racers' entire runs. If you've never seen downhill live, you'll be surprised at how little you actually see as the racers are usually only in view for ten seconds or so as they speed by. Have fun, I wish I was going too!
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you!! I figured we wouldn't see much of the race from the finish but it will just be exciting to be there. Luckily we are staying in the Village and will take the bus to Creekside so parking won't be an issue.
post #4 of 18
I took my son to the Beaver Creek race. It is nice to be up close to the athletes. Unfortunately, at Beaver Creek they do not allow you to hike up along the side of the course - you are restricted to watching from the grandstands at the finish. That's OK for downhill, where you are mostly watching the screen anyway, but I would much prefer to get up close for slalom.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Rich, How early did you have to get there to get a spot in the grandstand? Or was there always room?
post #6 of 18
Dont forget your COWBELL!
post #7 of 18
We went on a weekday, and got there an hour before the start. We were probably the third and fourth person in the stands. The stands never did fill up entirely. I would say that there were probably about three spectators for each athlete (not counting the school kids who were bussed in for the event). But that's at Beaver Creek. I cant say how crowded it will be at Whistler.

Take something warm to sit on. We took throw pillows, and were very grateful for them. And remember - more cowbell.
post #8 of 18
Hey Christy, I hope you enjoy your World Cup racing. I was lucky enough to get to watch the World Cup SL and GS held in Thredbo, Australia in '89 when Tomba, Zurbriggen, Girardelli et al were racing. I skied my way slowly down the side of the course during the event and watched the racers at various parts of the course. Spectators were about 5 deep down most of the length of the run so the atmosphere was great. I count this as one of the great inspirational moments of my skiing life. I hope your experience is as enjoyable.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Dont forget your COWBELL!
You know what's funny, my husband is a drummer but he's not a metal drummer from the 80s, so he doesn't own a cowbell. I'm sure there will be plenty of other people with cowbells.

Thanks again everyone!!
post #10 of 18

Wc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richr View Post
I took my son to the Beaver Creek race. It is nice to be up close to the athletes. Unfortunately, at Beaver Creek they do not allow you to hike up along the side of the course - you are restricted to watching from the grandstands at the finish. That's OK for downhill, where you are mostly watching the screen anyway, but I would much prefer to get up close for slalom.
When did they start that? I went a few years back and we snow shoed up through the woods and got a killer vantage :. I wouldn't even bother going if I had to just sit at the bottom
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
Dont forget your COWBELL!
MORE COWBELL!!!
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuhl View Post
When did they start that? I went a few years back and we snow shoed up through the woods and got a killer vantage :. I wouldn't even bother going if I had to just sit at the bottom
I'm not going to argue with you but I *will* offer an alternative view:

I was a volunteer course crew worker for the men's Olympic downhill at Snowbasin in 2002 and I've also watched three other World Cup races. All in the US.

At the Olympic race, I had the advantage of being RIGHT ALONGSIDE the course at a number of key spots. At one other race, I skied down next to the course and watched from many locations. There is something to be said for being close to the action at important turns or jumps, and it's really cool to be right there, but it's also (particularly in downhill) kind of a here-he/she-comes-FOOOM-there-he/she-goes.

At Beaver Creek, I watched the downhill and the GS from the grandstand. I enjoyed the grandstand MUCH more. The jumbotron, the multiple course views, the split times, the screaming fans, the cowbells, the racers waiting at the bottom, the free swag booths, etc. It was exciting and fun.

Personally I prefer the grandstand.

And - seriously - get cowbells. It's a VERY important part of the ski racing scene.

Have fun.

BTW - I showed up at the grandstand at Beaver Creek about ten minutes before race time and had no problem whatever getting a great place to sit. It might be different in Whistler, but at Beaver Creek there was no monster crowd to deal with.
post #13 of 18
A friend and I hiked up on snowshoes at Vail about 10 years ago. We packed a knapsack with a bottle of wine, cheese, crackers, and stupid hats. We also packed the most ungodly loud cowbell. We had great fun drinking the wine, eating the cheese, and ringing that bell whenever we saw any racer. Didn't know who it was, but rang the bell freely anyway. It kept other spectators from coming anywhere near us. It was a fabulous day until Alberto Tomba took his shirt off at the awards ceremony. Aaaaaghhhhh!: He has abundant body hair.

Get cowbells. They add flavor and will keep people from crowding you. And as Christopher Walken says "MORE COWBELL".
post #14 of 18
The men's downhill at Val d'Isere was canceled yesterday. Maybe they'll have a men's downhill at Whistler to make up for it. The Whistler course is widely considered one of the top World Cup downhill courses.
post #15 of 18
www.cowbell.com

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your location and world-view, the plan seems to be to replace the Val d'Isere DH with an additional race at Kvitfjell. That's doesn't seem to be totally definite, though.
post #16 of 18
I went to see my first FIS race last year here in Japan. I was excited for about 2 weeks prior to the race but never found a cow-bell. I grew up glued to the TV watching races, but never had the chance. I was stoked to go.

In the end, just me and my buddy were the only 2 people watching the whole thing. It was just an FIS points qualifyer, mostly university kids.

We carved out a snow couch by a technical section and cheered for every racer while snapping shots. They were probably happy we didn't find cowbells. We felt really out of place, but couldn't resist due to previously-contrived expectations.

I later discovered cowbells at the home-furniture store. Dinner bells.
post #17 of 18
The courses don't lend themselves to good on hill viewing. Geography and run closures, coupled with safety netting and fencing make it difficult. The women's DH can be seen easily from where Highway 86 merges with Pony Trail. For the other events, viewing from the finish is the best option.

Grandstand seating is usually for VIPs. There should be standing room along the finish corral with sight lines to the big screen. I will watch from on hill or inside the athlete control area in the finish.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Another question: Whistler is having bib draws on consecutive nights in the village square. What happens here-skiers show up and draw for their starting spots (I thought this was determined by training time or ranking or something)?

Edit: Behold the power of google-Ted Ligaty's blog answered my question. Sounds fun!

Quote:
In slalom and giant slalom, the top-seeded racers have public bib draws the night before the race. It's a big party atmosphere, usually in a public square.
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