Originally Posted by jbuhl
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.
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.