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More WorldCup racing in the US?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 21

This is a good idea.

 

Also, how come New Zealand or Australia don't host any World Cups?  It hardly seems like the whole "world" when it's only 2 continents.

post #3 of 21

Japan?  Some of the best skiing on the planet.  You'd think they would be producing more world class competitive skiers. 

post #4 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

This is a good idea.

 

Also, how come New Zealand or Australia don't host any World Cups?  It hardly seems like the whole "world" when it's only 2 continents.



They had it at Thredbo in 1989 and at Mt. Hutt in 1990.   (They also had it at Las Llenas in Argentina in 1985 and 1986).    

 

Problem is they have to do it in September  and it is therefore hugely disjoint from the rest of the regular season.     Can you imagine having to do a training peak in September and then again be peaking mid-December in Val D'Isere?     GUH.

 

EDIT: Self correction.   "September" above should read "August".

post #5 of 21


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post


 



They had it at Thredbo in 1989 and at Mt. Hutt in 1990.   (They also had it at Las Llenas in Argentina in 1985 and 1986).    

 

Problem is they have to do it in September  and it is therefore hugely disjoint from the rest of the regular season.     Can you imagine having to do a training peak in September and then again be peaking mid-December in Val D'Isere?     GUH.

 

EDIT: Self correction.   "September" above should read "August".


Those world cuppers seem to be training the greater part of all year anyway...and spend most of their summers in the southern hemisphere, so what difference would it make?  Also would make it fair for Southern Skiers to have a chance on the World Cup as well.  They could gain some points while at their peak, and have a fighting chance.  Right now they aren't even represented on the World Cup.

post #6 of 21

I've heard word that Okemo over in VT is trying to get a Nor-Am bid in order to get more attention, and possibly get a WC SG/GS at some point. The thing is though, is that the WC tends to leave North America in mid December, and most resorts don't have good enough cover to host a WC event.

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsteel5 View Post

how come New Zealand or Australia don't host any World Cups?  It hardly seems like the whole "world" when it's only 2 continents.


Why do you keep quoting me with no comment?

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post

I've heard word that Okemo over in VT is trying to get a Nor-Am bid in order to get more attention, and possibly get a WC SG/GS at some point. The thing is though, is that the WC tends to leave North America in mid December, and most resorts don't have good enough cover to host a WC event.



I thought it had to be all manmade snow anyway?

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

I thought it had to be all manmade snow anyway?


Yes, but the conditions to make snow that early can be iffy. Sometimes it can be 30F degrees out in October/November, then warm up to 40s in December. Also, heavy rain storms that can hit in December can do a number on snow cover. Most mountains have optimum cover in mid-January, and start to degrade at the end of February, but that can be drastically different depending on the season. We have had years out here with full coverage from December to March before, and "spring" conditions showing up in April.

post #10 of 21

Also, I'd like to note that you'll probably have a more difficult time adjusting to stiffer boots than longer skis, especially going from say, a flex 60 to a 130.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post


 


Those world cuppers seem to be training the greater part of all year anyway...and spend most of their summers in the southern hemisphere, so what difference would it make?  Also would make it fair for Southern Skiers to have a chance on the World Cup as well.  They could gain some points while at their peak, and have a fighting chance.  Right now they aren't even represented on the World Cup.

comprex nailed it in his post - training is one thing, training to perform is another.  Top level athletes plan their peaks to optimize for the entire season.  Just because they train, doesn't mean they want to compete.  They can only peak a couple of times a year, at best.

If they were forced to compete during their "off season" it would introduce the whole new dynamics of skiers who are not competitive in the big picture, but train to peak only in the isolated events.  


 

post #12 of 21

Yeah you're right, it's not truly representitive of the whole world like the World Series is.

post #13 of 21

Do you think the World Cup has competitors from more countries than the World Series? Not teams, competitors. I wonder. Probably yes, but it's not exactly a slam dunk, to mix sports metaphors.


By my quick count, skiers from 12 countries scored serious points on the World Cup last year. This year's World Series had players from six countries only, though one could easily see a World Series also including Cuban, Taiwanese, Japanese, Mexican, Curacaon and perhaps even Australian or Dutch players, none of which were represented this year.


Edited by prickly - 11/22/10 at 7:13am
post #14 of 21

My point is that all of the teams that compete for the WORLD SERIES are from ONE COUNTRY....do you see the irony there? It's just a name OK? Do you want to dispute the relevence of the Miss Universe title too because there's no representitive from Alpha Centauri? It's just a name! And if you want to count nationalities you should count the nationalities of all the participants not just the point scorers, after all it's the struggle not the triumph that counts ...right?

post #15 of 21

Lots to chew on here.

 

The first thing is that the FIS governing board is mostly European, as are most of the nations fielding large teams at the races.  The majority often rules, and in this case the European nations like to keep things close to home.  Even if the United States and Canada (or Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, et al) began to dominate in every event, the circuit would still skew toward being centered in Europe, given the bully pulpit the FIS offers.

 

Second on the list is the FIS' desire to have venues that involve a lot of travel distance be host to races in multiple disciplines.  For example, Aspen is homologated to hold World Cup races in DH, SG, GS and SL (for both women and men), Beaver Creek is homologated similarly (men only, for now), as are Vail, Alyeska, Whiteface, Whistler, Nakiska, Lake Louise and Mammoth.  Other resorts can host tech-only events at the World Cup level: Park City, Deer Valley, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Steamboat, Heavenly, Whitefish/Big Mountain, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.  The FIS likes to have multi-discipline events at these stops (e.g. DH/SG/GS/SC at Beaver Creek, SG/GS/SL at Aspen and so on) to maximize cost efficiency and make the all-important TV coverage simpler to pull off.

 

In the east, Whiteface, Sugarloaf and Le Massif are the only venues that share similar homologation, but all suffer from the fact that the FIS likes to hold its North American events in the early season.  As mentioned earlier, building a race-ready snowpack requires consistent weather conditions, which are hard to come by in the east before mid-December - when the World Cup has already moved back to Europe.

 

I think the best way for New England and eastern Canada to land some World Cup races would be as part of a joint US-Canadian push to land the World Cup finals and the races leading to them.  2015 would be a perfect year for this, given Vail/Beaver Creek's hosting of the World Championships: get the World Cup racers over to North America before World Champs and keep 'em here afterward.

 

As for Japan and South Korea, they do see some World Cup races every third year or so.  Sadly, that's about it.  And the southern hemisphere venues suffer from the problems of peak training, as mentioned before.  The World Cup races held down south in the 1980s and 1990s were a success, to some extent (most teams are training in South America and Australasia during the summer), but the costs of hosting the races was seen as prohibitive, and the winners were often a completely different bunch than dominated during the regular season.

 

But hey - Russia will be hosting World Cups in the next couple of years in the build up to the Sochii Olympics in 2014.  Get ready for the courses of Krasnaya Polyana - yee haw!

post #16 of 21

I just checked for Whitefish (Big Mountain), because we've had lots of SG and DH NorAms here and the way I read the FIS site, we had homologations for all events thru Oct of this year.  Not sure how to refine it for "world cup" if that's elsewhere. 

 

Basically, we're not having them anymorehissyfit.gif because they weren't making money. 

post #17 of 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I just checked for Whitefish (Big Mountain), because we've had lots of SG and DH NorAms here and the way I read the FIS site, we had homologations for all events thru Oct of this year.  Not sure how to refine it for "world cup" if that's elsewhere. 

 

Basically, we're not having them anymorehissyfit.gif because they weren't making money. 


Too bad that Whitefish let the FIS homologation lapse.  And yes, money does enter into the equation, but not always in the same way you would think.

 

Sure, some of it has to do with getting crowds to the resort to watch the races.  And with anything less than World Cup, that's a tough sell (I'm sure that most armchair ski racing fans - i.e. the folks who get their fix from the NBC "coverage" of Aspen and BC, and CBS' pro skicross tour coverage - don't know that the NorAm series exists).

 

But the other thing is the effect that a full-length, FIS-homologated DH or SG does to the skier flow on a mountain.  The course at Whitefish cuts a path down the middle of the frontside of the mountain, if I recall correctly (I raced a couple of FIS DHs there back in the early 1990s), and that creates a bit of a flow pattern issue for the resort.  This can create negative publicity for the resort in the form of paying customers who feel that they're not getting their money's worth out of the expensive lift ticket.

 

That was a huge contributor to Snowbasin's allowing the homologation to lapse on the Wildflower and Grizzly DH/SG tracks used in the 2002 Winter Olympics: the perception of lost terrain (though in all fairness, the Snowbasin tracks didn't cut off much of the skiable terrain, save for some of the John Paul and No Name areas).  There were other factors, too, such as the maintenance of A netting and TV towers, as well as the finish area taking up valuable marketing space.

 

At the remaining FIS-homologated tracks, resort management has deemed the reward and goodwill to justify the cost in terms of skier traffic and maintenance.  Some are simple to understand (e.g. Beaver Creek's Birds of Prey track, which stands on the periphery of one of their mountains - unlike the still-homologated Centennial track, which runs front-and-center down BC's main face), others are labors of love (e.g. Whiteface's Cloudspin track, which takes up almost half of the skiable terrain on the uppermost reaches of the mountain).

post #18 of 21

Admittedly there was the issue to tourists who didn't like losing acreage to the race.  (Hey, maybe look at what's going on when you book your stay!)  However as this article states, the death knell was money, even though the Smith family, through FVSF was helping out with that.  It's a sore point around here.

post #19 of 21

Well who's going to go either to Aspen or Beaver Creek this weekend to watch? 

What are the attendance figures for US versus European races? I'd imagine we don't get a whole lot.

How often do we get 10,000 people for instance watching? Has this ever happened besides Olympics?

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Well who's going to go either to Aspen or Beaver Creek this weekend to watch? 

What are the attendance figures for US versus European races? I'd imagine we don't get a whole lot.

How often do we get 10,000 people for instance watching? Has this ever happened besides Olympics?



If you end up in Aspen then you'll miss the World Cup boat.  wink.gif

 

That said, it's tough to get huge crowds to come out over Thanksgiving weekend: unless you're already in town for the holiday (and given that T'giving is more of a family gathering time than anything else), it's a tough sell to say "sorry, relatives, but I'm going to Aspen for the weekend to stand around on the side of a ski hill and watch some races."  While that appeals to me, it's not everybody's cuppa.

 

And then there's the choice of venues.  Aspen, Beaver Creek and Lake Louise are far from major airports and population centers.  So if they want a large number of spectators, they need to offer incentives for people to travel to their resorts and stay there without any guarantee of skiing available elsewhere on the mountain (Lake Louise is usually better for this, in terms of available terrain).  Again, that's a tough sell.

 

The North American locations most likely to get big crowds (being close to major airports and populations centers) don't hold early World Cup races: Snowbasin, Park City, Deer Valley, Nakiska, Tremblant, even Stowe, are all within an hour of a decent-sized city that has air connections from all over.  Yet none of these places host races any more (Park City quit hosting after the 2003-04 World Cup season, the last of this group to hold a WC event).

 

However, there is a reality to face: World Cup alpine ski racing is not a huge draw in the U.S. (and, largely, in Canada) outside of Olympic years.  So these "10,000 strong" crowds will always be a tough sell when organizers face stiff competition from NFL and NCAA football, NHL hockey, and NBA and NCAA basketball.  C'est la vie.

post #21 of 21

Stowe's pushing it! The alternatives I guess are even worse. Sugarloaf? Way out there. 

Whiteface is 2 hours from Burlington and Albany, but also only 2 hours from Montreal.

I just don't see people flying to these places unless they need to.

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