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 skiing becoming an old man's sport?

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thebiggreenvan Posted - Dec 29 2010 : 01:18:16 AM
Re the Holiday Klassic:

What with 3/4 of the skiers over 40, I wonder if ski racing will be a sport in a few decades (global warming aside)? and only 5 or so of the under forties skiing even remotely fast?

Me thinks it has something to do with why the Birkie is only recently regaining the numbers it had in the 80s.

Someone has to come up with some new ideas, guys and gals...and I dont think that the ski industry is going to do it, they act like nothing is wrong.

-t grumpy BGV

6   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
JeffOYB Posted - Jan 19 2011 : 11:56:48 AM
About snowshoeing -- I think its big benefit is that it lets you install and enjoy really narrow trails in otherwise impossible to access areas. Skiing needs handling room. Shoeing doesn't. That's where its fun is, for me. A good shoe trail, to me, looks a lot like an animal trail! It gives an intimate take on deep snow country. Fun!


About old farts and skiing: I say "More power to the elderly!" :) Sure, there's no future in it, but what the heck. We can try to get youth interested in life, if they choose electrons instead there's nothing more we can do. But life is life. Getting oldsters out into the woods having fun is a great thing, too! :) I think the potential is based around ski-parties and ski-picnics. Also: keeping most events close to home is key. Everywhere in snow-country has a place closeby that would be great for a snow party. Have outings with loops and paces for everyone -- incl for snowshoers, and crampon-runners, and tree-glade tele-heads, and even Pugsley mtbikers! -- and then a bonfires apres-ski. Boomboxes, guitars, whatever it takes to keep the fun alive in the woods. Who cares if the hair is grey!

--Jeff Potter
Bob Yankus Posted - Dec 31 2010 : 09:22:42 AM
Regarding the Wabos Loppet, yes, it still is on. It also has had it's share of issues to over come,
such as increased train cost, train scheduling, lower turnouts, ect.

From the Great White North (Canada).
A few thoughts on attracting skiers and promoting events at nordic centers.

Stokely Creek Lodge also has the same dilemma attracting and keeping skiers coming back year
after year. Living near the lodge now, I decided to try and help.

My wife, a passionate snowshoer, started building her own trails around and near the lodge while I was
skiing. I thought, there must be others in my same situation, non-skiing spouses. By building a few trails,
maybe we could make it easier for other couples to enjoy two sports at the same location together. From her
two little trails, the system has been expanded to nearly 25 km. of dedicated snowshoe trails. I believe they are
the finest in North America. We built the trails, how do we get more people to come?

We wanted to put on a small event, with a chili lunch at the King Mt. Hut, for our friends in the local hiking clubs,
25 or so people. After telling a couple ski shops in town my plan, I was asked to promote to the general public.
Our simple plan became a 2 day event and it attracted nearly 250 people with minimal promotion the first year.

The event is now called SNOWSHOE FEST. This is what I learned.

Sponsors: Get and invite the owners of local business involved. They can be your best salesman. Restaurants,
health food stores, fitness centers, schools, sports teams, ski shops, ect. all have customers and friends that can participate.
We give the owner/managers free passes and have a few of them sell tickets. They are all listed on promotional material.

Food: Provide lots of great food, everyone comes back to events with good food.

Prizes: Our first event had 10 sponsors and about 30 items in the draw. This year over 35 sponsors and over $3000.00 in prizes.
I could of doubled that, but want the event to grow each year.

Something for everyone: Provide trails for everyones abilities. Shorter and flatter ones for the older crowd.
Longer and hiller for the athletes. Trails should always have a rewarding view along the way or end and be fun.

By promoting a snowshoe event at ski area, we are able to attract non-skiers and have a chance to hook them on a new sport.
This year we will have a special adventure course, ski to a trail-side cabin and switch to snowshoes.
Then off to some mountains tops and ice falls. Mixing the two has lots of benefits.

Hope a few of the ideas help with attracting skiers back south.

If anyone remembers how I groomed and maintained my ski trails in southern mich.
Yes, the snowshoe trails get the same treatment at Stokely.
I brush-saw, line trim, hand trim and shovel the trails on and around King Mtn. to perfection. All 25 km.
The trails have the same type of flow I used when building the Highland Rec. Mtn. Bike trails, always Fun.

And yes -----Go Dan Go
thebiggreenvan Posted - Dec 29 2010 : 11:14:54 AM
remember the old wabos loppet? a train ride followed by a 30 km ski back to the Soo? That was fun; is it still on?

JeffOYB Posted - Dec 29 2010 : 10:20:42 AM
PS: Hey, Don, whattaya think of my idea of having a Big Day Michigan Ski Touring Series, where folks meet several times a season to ski several majestic trail systems. These would be no-fee non-events. Meet early in the morning then ski a big 15-30 mile hiking trail, like the Manistee NCT or Pigeon/Shinglemill HCP or the Jordan Valley or Potto or Stinchfield or the Chandlers. --Cool destinations that don't get much attention otherwise (and which aren't on the race map). Use touring skis (or whatever), bring your own food and have an adventure with a buncha other folks. These days could be promoted and pumped up for the challenge but other than requiring skill and gumption have no barrier to entry. (I post about such things at the OYB site.)

--Jeff Potter
JeffOYB Posted - Dec 29 2010 : 10:12:01 AM
The Frosty also gets more EXPOSURE for ski racing.

There might be various barriers for some folks but ya gotta start with knowing about it, with seeing it, and a local event helps get the word out.

I think there needs to be a big feeder system of tourers, dayskiers, picknickers plus a visible/known sport outlet for those who want to race.

Then the events themselves need to have a dual aspect like the Vasa used to have, where 1/3 were racers and a big bulk were neighborhood people who just wanted to get out for a big party on the trail. Get the tourers into the races again. I think it really helps to have big, fun food stops (in longer events) -- and a chili feast afterward.

Back when the Vasa had lots of tourists, the food-stops were smorgasbords. I also recall when the food-stops started becoming more spartan. That would be a big turn-off to fun-folk. The hard-core carried their own potions or had helpers handing up special things. There was less demand for stopping, chatting, snacking, rewaxing, warming up around a bonfire. Perhaps a vicious cycle was involved of less fun at the food stops going with fewer tourists which resulted in even fewer tourists.

I note that the Women's Ski Tour on the Vasa trail got more (or comparable) skiers than the Vasa race -- and they only had one gender there! The fancy and fun food stops along the way did the trick.

Well, the Iceman is huge so skiing COULD draw laterally from other sports.

I'm still thinking the overhead entry-barrier needs to be brought WAY down.

--Jeff Potter
mmuha Posted - Dec 29 2010 : 09:42:08 AM
That's one of the reasons for the Frosty Freestyle race - get more kids and family's involved in a large metropolitan area.

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