MEN'S World Cup 2021-2022

S.H.

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I think you’re right Rudi, and I agree @S.H., BUT…..don’t know if any of this has made it your way…evidently Mr. Eliasch has made it clear to both his people, the brass at USST, and some key movers and shakers on this side of the pond that FIS NEEDS to schedule more events{plural} in North America. Primarily in the U.S.

Market size, etc.

Evidently part and parcel of that is that our higher elevation tends to provide a very good surface, even in off years like this. Very clear to all at Copper. And equally good at SOME venues in the end of the season. Conditions were great when WCF’s were last in Aspen.

What made it’s way to me was sort of like the game “telephone.” Probably changed along the way. So we might see a tech series in say, BC and Aspen. Or Vail. A series at Mammoth, and perhaps Squaw. Maybe a men’s tech series in the East….that was mentioned. It would be a big undertaking, but Killington has been wildly popular.

My wise ass comment was that with the glacial speed of FIS, we might see another race here by 2030. Ahh, no. Eliasch is talking two years. Which does sound crazy. Maybe one new venue even next season. While the best female {or one of the best is still in USA colors}.

i thought this sounded crazy, until I checked with a friend who had actually spoken with him on a group Zoom.

it sounds like he also is questioning the reasoning, in 2021, for at least some of the old traditional venues, which are a pain in the ass for everybody. Also sounds like “we’ve always done it this way, and there” does not necessarily hold water with him.

Mostly 4th or 5th hand info, but I’m at least a tiny bit encouraged. Under the old leadership, I would say never going to happen.

Now we know how political FIS is, how entrenched so many Federations and committees are….BUT as mg friend said, Eliasch did NOT take this on to screw around for practice.

Hopeful, still skeptical.
I mean, I've heard this from many, but, like you, a few hands removed, and ... I guess I'll believe it when I see it.

I don't have much hope.

I hope I'm wrong
 

Average Joe

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I think you’re right Rudi, and I agree @S.H., BUT…..don’t know if any of this has made it your way…evidently Mr. Eliasch has made it clear to both his people, the brass at USST, and some key movers and shakers on this side of the pond that FIS NEEDS to schedule more events{plural} in North America. Primarily in the U.S.


What made it’s way to me was sort of like the game “telephone.” Probably changed along the way. So we might see a tech series in say, BC and Aspen. Or Vail. A series at Mammoth, and perhaps Squaw. Maybe a men’s tech series in the East….that was mentioned. It would be a big undertaking, but Killington has been wildly popular.
re: Killington, I think we've been lucky that three of the four events have had solid surfaces (the 2016 surface was not really up to FIS standards: not enough injection, and it got warm on Saturday,).
Put the Men at Killington early season, in a year like 2016, they would peel that down pretty quickly. But, the spectator factor can't be discounted, and if Killington delivers (in non Covid) 19,500 a day for a women's event, the FIS certainly notices.

Maybe if someday Aspen builds the new Lift 1....an early season tech event will go back there. Big maybe, though.
Given the lack of infrastructure around the base of 1A, even a new lift and a hotel like the proposed Gorsuch House would not bring the base up to a level now commonly found at other venues.
But Aspen has a lot going on in Town that can help tip the scales - as long as SkiCo wants it back. But I think, given the (by comparison) small crowds in Aspen, it must be a cash drain that they might be willing to skip it and focus on the X Games instead....
 

S.H.

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Copper would be perfect for a early season North American tech event. When the speed teams wrap up you have injected snow, a base area prefect for racers and spectators, parking, shuttles, and in late November/ early December a mostly vacant village.
Of course if there's one thing the Euro teams and federations hate is anything that messes with The Schedule, so I won't hold my breath. But isn't it odd that many of the teams want to utilize Copper for training, but you never hear of the FIS proposing any races at that venue? I'm not talking about moving BOP, just adding a tech event.
yeah, but Copper doesn't have a World Cup-worthy hill, I don't think.

Maybe I'm wrong. The quotes out of NorAms are positive, but ... they're also USST people talking up an official training venue.
 

S.H.

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Seems like if Killington can, then any place in Summit county (+Loveland) could if they really wanted to (including potentially infrasructure/snow-making upgades). Keystone, Breck, Copper, A-Basin, or Loveland. Copper and Loveland already do race-training early season.


I don't think that just because Killington can, anywhere in CO can. Killington's snowmaking capacity/ability is just so much better. And, there's more water available there, by a lot. But ... sure, in theory. And ... you can get by with a mediocre hill and suspect snow prep if you have almost 20K people in the finish. Not if you have ... maybe 5K, like there is in Beaver Creek or ... 30 people like in Lake Louise. I've been to all these races a few times, and ... Killington is the best, by a lot, for atmosphere.

There's nowhere at Loveland that you could reasonably hold a World Cup, IMO. Copper ... maybe, but I'm skeptical. They're both good training venues, but a good training venue is not the same thing as a great race hill, IMO.

I think if you're going to have another world cup in CO, you should have a night SL. Keystone already has some lights, so that's why I suggested it, but ... you could bring in temp lights anywhere if you really wanted to. That means the finish shouldn't, IMO be midway up the mountain. That will probably rule out most of these options. I'd say that it'd be cool to have one at Howelsen, but I think the (current) NA swing is too early ...

I'm not sure CO is necessarily the best place for a world cup tech event, but it's almost necessary if we're stuck with the early-season window. If USA can get another later-season window, surely Mammoth or Palisades Tahoe would be in the discussion.

That said, I think if you want a big crowd and fun atmosphere in the USA, a tech event should go to New England, and probably in NH/VT, the further south the better. Make it possible to day-trip relatively easily from Boston/NYC. That's really hard for anywhere but Killington early season.

I don't know. I'm not sure it matters. If it happens, amazing. It'll be great. I'll probably go.
 
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dbostedo

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That means the finish can't be midway up the mountain, IMO. That will probably rule out most of these options.
I have no clue whether or not there's appropriate terrain on the lower mountain at Copper (because I don't know the requirements) though I'd think Alpine or Super Bee areas would work. No reason it has to be halfway up the mountain, even if that's the normal training area.
 

S.H.

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I have no clue whether or not there's appropriate terrain on the lower mountain at Copper (because I don't know the requirements) though I'd think Alpine or Super Bee areas would work. No reason it has to be halfway up the mountain, even if that's the normal training area.
I'm meh about using Copper as an early-season race venue. By rule, you'd have to keep athletes/everyone off the hill for a while before the race. You'd lose a really highly-sought-after training venue.

It'd work, I'm sure.

I just don't see why USSS or FIS would really *want* to do something there, other than that they probably could, and that most federations already know where to stay in the area. I'm not sure there's a lot to be gained from another race weekend in colorado. Crowds aren't that big. I guess it's pretty reliable that you'll get the race off. Athletes would probably like the weather and the surface.

To be clear, I'm saying finishes shouldn't be midway up for night races. For a normal daytime race, it's fine. If homologations aren't in place for the bottom of Super Bee to be used as a tech venue, I'm sure they could get it in place pretty quickly. But ... what is really being gained here?

I also don't think any resort in CO (or really, anywhere) is going to want to create a surface worthy of a men's tech world cup in an area that isn't either (1) typically a training venue or (2) typically ungroomed
 

Average Joe

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yeah, but Copper doesn't have a World Cup-worthy hill, I don't think.

Maybe I'm wrong. The quotes out of NorAms are positive, but ... they're also USST people talking up an official training venue.
I'll say Rosi's would serve up a decent SL.
GS, not sure where they start, but for the Noram men's GS the two run times are around 2:30.
 

S.H.

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I'll say Rosi's would serve up a decent SL.
GS, not sure where they start, but for the Noram men's GS the two run times are around 2:30.
It's a good hill (I was on the hill last week). I don't know that there's good space/access for spectators/media/TV, but there probably is (I won't pretend I have a good sense of what's really needed).

Bigger point is that I'm not sure another world cup in CO early season moves the needle at all. If it's only being seen on TV, does anyone really care if it's in Colorado vs. Switzerland vs. Japan vs. Finland? What's gained by holding it here?
 

Rudi Riet

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I'm meh about using Copper as an early-season race venue. By rule, you'd have to keep athletes/everyone off the hill for a while before the race. You'd lose a really highly-sought-after training venue.

^^^^ This, exactly.

Copper has a contract with the USST to host early season training, and Copper/Powdr make a tidy profit renting their facility to national teams and academies who can fork over the not-insubstantial rental fees.

The Nor-Am events take place in a bit of a lull in the training schedule at Copper: after the national speed squads have had their initial pushes of training and before the resort opens to the public. By now the European men's speed teams have decamped to Lake Louise. The women can get in more speed cycles now that the Nor-Ams are done, though some who also ski GS are en route to Killington.

I'm not sure there's a lot to be gained from another race weekend in colorado. Crowds aren't that big. I guess it's pretty reliable that you'll get the race off. Athletes would probably like the weather and the surface.

I also don't think any resort in CO (or really, anywhere) is going to want to create a surface worthy of a men's tech world cup in an area that isn't either (1) typically a training venue or (2) typically ungroomed

Let me lay this out here: Colorado may have some great venues but in terms of ease of access for on-site viewers they're not exactly attractive. Neither BC nor Aspen ever draw huge crowds of spectators (tho BC's venue not being a simple walk from the base village is a contributing factor). Copper has ease of access from I-70 and is still less than a two hour drive from Denver on a good day, though Rosi's isn't exactly World Cup caliber in terms of a race venue. Keystone, Loveland, A-Basin, and Breckenridge don't have any trail that will be seen as a World Cup level venue. Vail is in a similar situation and has the liability of Vail Pass and the fact that it's more than two hours from Denver on a good traffic day.

I'd love to see Park City reboot the "America's Opening" races, though CB's Run isn't the same since the superpipe was made into a permanent physical feature of the lower third of the run (i.e. on the old Clementine run). Sure, they still run FIS and NCAA events there but it's not as spectator friendly as it was before the pipe was expanded after SLC2002. But CB's is a World Cup caliber GS hill, without a doubt. And Big Stick or Champion at Deer Valley could still do well hosting a slalom or a GS (the latter isn't quite as good as CB's for GS but whatever). Both PCMR and DV are super accessible to spectators and Park City (the town) is only 30 minutes from SLC.

That said: VR has let it be known that the awesome Eagle Training Facility (including CB's and Picabo's Runs) will no longer be the private realm of competition programs. The pending 8-pack detachable chair being planned is part of this, and some of its run will affect the homologation of CB's. The main programs that train at PCMR can see the writing on the wall: that their world-class training facility is on borrowed time.

I'd imagine the FIS and Eliasch would consider the to-be-built GS hill at Utah Olympic Park (UOP) for a World Cup event. Many of the current PCMR-based teams already train slalom at UOP Part of the plan for this venue is to host "national and international caliber competitions," and the venue is part of the SLC2032 Olympic bid. And looking at the proposed GS trail on paper and visualizing it on the mountain, it should be a good venue for men's and women's World Cup (and Olympic) GS competition. The venue isn't as spectator friendly inasmuch as the access road can't handle a big crush of people and there's not a lot there compared to the expansive base facilities of the more established resorts. UOP is, first and foremost, an elite training facility.

The one big plus that all three Park City area venues have: excellent snowmaking with plentiful water (the flooded mine tunnels are a perfect resource). The only snag: lower elevation means less reliable cold weather early in the season.

But I can see Eliasch looking toward Park City and finding a way to get VR or Alterra on board to host a helluva tech race party.
 

dbostedo

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Bigger point is that I'm not sure another world cup in CO early season moves the needle at all. If it's only being seen on TV, does anyone really care if it's in Colorado vs. Switzerland vs. Japan vs. Finland? What's gained by holding it here?
If think more US (or at least North American) events would be an attempt to grow the sport (especially number of fans/ spectators) in the US. More races in CO, or Utah, or CA, or Washington, etc would basically be advertising to try to increase the fans base and bring in more dollars.

Similar, in my mind, to FIFA holding the World Cup in the US in 1994.
 

Average Joe

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Rudi makes good points here. That the FIS limits training on race venue trails for a while leading up to events, the US tech team would lose training days at the East Village at Copper.
If spectators were driving the early season schedule, however, Lake Louise would never make it.

Reliable snowmaking temps, in the absence of a glacier or stored snow, is a big factor in choosing early season venues. Here in the US, it narrows the list to high elevations (CO) or high latitudes, or both. When you add in the desire (need) to increase spectator numbers, the list gets even narrower.

And now, there's injection. FIS wants to see at least 8 inches of injected (i.e. solid ice) minimum, for a two day multi discipline event, to insure a stable race surface. That takes a lot of effort, especially at high, dry altitude (but, here in the east, we have natural injection!).

The prep needed to stage a modern WC event is extensive.
 

S.H.

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If think more US (or at least North American) events would be an attempt to grow the sport (especially number of fans/ spectators) in the US. More races in CO, or Utah, or CA, or Washington, etc would basically be advertising to try to increase the fans base and bring in more dollars.

Similar, in my mind, to FIFA holding the World Cup in the US in 1994.
Yeah, but nobody really goes to the races in CO already. Why would adding more increase crowds?

Try somewhere else (UT, CA, WA, the midwest, New England/the Northeast). But I don't think CO is going to get you crowds of any real note.
 
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dbostedo

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Yeah, but nobody really goes to the races in CO already. Why would adding more increase crowds?
It wouldn't be likely to initially. But...

More NA races = more visibility on TV + more local advertising + more news/sportstalk coverage = more fans = more crowds at races

If all goes well, over several years you would build the sport, and coverage of it, in a positive feedback loop. It would have to happen incrementally and over time. And you'd probably need to find ways to make fans out of younger folks - all those junior ski racers who leave it behind as they leave racing.

I have no idea if that's the plan or if it would work. But it seems like a viable attempt to pull all of the potential money out of the NA market.
 

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More NA races = more visibility on TV + more local advertising + more news/sportstalk coverage = more fans = more crowds at races
If we are talking about WC, it wouldn't change a thing. There's not going to be US style World cup, where there's few US racers competing and calling it World Championships (any similarity with World series and similar jokes is purely intentional), and everything else wouldn't really matter to change this. Sure you can have more NA races, but that means another race or two at best, as there's no way, that any country would have more then 2 or in best case 3 venues on WC tour. Extra race weekend wouldn't bring anything of "more visibility, more local advertising etc", and there's simply no way you would get extra 5 or 6 race weekends.
And without more TV time noone is interested in giving you extra race weekend. You can get more TV time without having local race, but problem is, noone in US is interested in watching alpine ski racing, unless it accidentally happens infront of their home door, and even then, noone cares about it. Even for Killington, yes it's huge crowd for US, but in reality, every WC race anywhere in Europe has more spectators then this, and big races are just completely different level. But when you look race like LL, I honestly have absolutely zero idea why to have race like this. WC race with 2 spectators, who accidentally decided to have snack on those empty benches near finish area, and they ski away as soon as they finish their sandwich.
 
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Maybe if someday Aspen builds the new Lift 1....an early season tech event will go back there. Big maybe, though.
Given the lack of infrastructure around the base of 1A, even a new lift and a hotel like the proposed Gorsuch House would not bring the base up to a level now commonly found at other venues.
But Aspen has a lot going on in Town that can help tip the scales - as long as SkiCo wants it back. But I think, given the (by comparison) small crowds in Aspen, it must be a cash drain that they might be willing to skip it and focus on the X Games instead....
Yes. This. I know there is development at Lift 1 now, I hope someone is keeping this in mind. Aspen is a top ski town and needs to be a regular FIS race stop (and not a parallel SL/GS).
 

Tony S

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skip it and focus on the X Games instead
Well you just pretty much identified the base issue in this recent conversation, which is that to the extent that Americans have energy around and attraction to skiing in any mainstream way it's not to racing. Of course the kids who are racing love racing, but it's a niche within a niche. When you just watch an average kid on the hill he or she is either in the park or skiing like s/he was.
 
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Well you just pretty much identified the base issue in this recent conversation, which is that to the extent that Americans have energy around and attraction to skiing in any mainstream way it's not to racing. Of course the kids who are racing love racing, but it's a niche within a niche. When you just watch an average kid on the hill he or she is either in the park or skiing like s/he was.
The way Aspen retail, restaurants, and hoteling works they need big events all through the winter - ski racing needs to be one of those events. The town wants it. I actually don’t think the town loves the X-Games (and other) crowd but it pays the bills and is probably off-topic.

With Sarah Lewis out of FIS and Lift 1 developments happening, someone at USST needs to push hard for Aspen to be a permanent World Cup stop again.
 
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Rudi Riet

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With Sarah Lewis out of FIS and Lift 1 developments happening, someone at USST needs to push hard for Aspen to be a permanent World Cup stop again.

Aspen has an alpine ski racing heritage, for sure. But I highly doubt that Sarah Lewis had the clout to bring things back to Aspen. Aspen Ski Corp decided to drop the ball and everyone on FIS scheduling staff knows it. ASC also knows that turnout for World Cup events is hit-or-miss (sadly mostly miss) in terms of bringing income to the mountain or to the town. Yes, the national teams and their entourage bring in some income, but spectators aren't numerous and without the fans the optics aren't there.

The big issue: Aspen is an expensive town. That self-selects who will show up to watch the races. Killington has been a lower barrier to entry in past years, though it could be different this year with $5 GA tickets (still a bargain but not quite the same). And the New England ski academies all make the pilgrimage (and undoubtedly are getting a cheaper price from event organizers) which helps boost crowd numbers.

But Aspen is pricey by default: expensive parking, a dearth of cheap eats and drinks, etc. It's a tougher sell for families who aren't awash in disposable income. While AVSC is a big team, it's a haul for other ski racing teams to get to Aspen compared to the relatively compact geography of the northeast.

Not that Aspen won't work, but IMO it would need to be scheduled with another Colorado or Utah venue to make fiscal sense. Or Killington could host two slalom races for the men, or maybe have a SL or GS at Mittersill (provided the snowmaking system is up to snuff for early season). I'm still a fan of Park City and Deer Valley in terms of sheer accessibility (and the old "America's Opening" events had a large crowd draw back in the day) and I think it's the best way to go but... well, that's just me.
 

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The first year Killington had the race, athletes were using the bar area for changing. It’s just this side of shabby. The food area right next to it was open for the public. So it was all very low key.

Part of what makes Killington work as a race venue is the trail, Superstar, ends at the bottom. Access and getting out is very easy. No lifts, not that much walking on snow. You could actually watch from the access road.

Don’t think Superstar would be appropriate for a men’s gs race. It’s not exactly Adelboden. I’d love to see Killington increase the length of that final pitch, but moving dirt, then a lift, never happens.

But realistically, I just don’t see the US supporting lots of races. Mikaela is helping a lot right now, and youth racing and the families are a big part of the crowds. It’s hard enough to get people who ski and sort of watch racing, to go 35min away to watch a race. I’ve got family who’ve never been to Killington wcup, and have worked as gatekeepers in junior racing in the past.
 
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