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T O P I C    R E V I E W
timg Posted - Nov 18 2011 : 09:19:53 AM
As a former race director I know how much money can be made on races. The current trend of charging $40.00 plus for late entries is too high. In this economy, the net effect is to discourage entry in Michigan Cup races. A 20 to 25 dollar entry is more in line and the hosting site can still realize thousands of dollars in net income. Are we in the business to have races or make a lot of money?
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timg Posted - Dec 25 2011 : 9:57:50 PM
I don't know what other races expenses are, but GRNST cleared over $2000 at the last Langlauf with half of the net proceeds going to Hanson Hills. This was with a $350 payment for insurance. I can provide an accounting for that race if you wish.
Curt Peterson Posted - Dec 17 2011 : 5:08:54 PM
Ya post entry should not be so high.... agreed. Especially since for some races there is no refund if the event is canceled due to lack of snow. But I would like to ask you what Michigan Cup races make lots of money? I am helping out with the TC sprints this year and taking a look back we lost money last year with good snow. Regards, Curt P

Oh I know some former race promoters who quit due to losing too much money. Years ago we used to have a nice 25km freestyle race at Forbush Corner but Dave quit after losing money.
JeffOYB Posted - Dec 10 2011 : 1:48:53 PM
Thanks! :)

I wrote that I "opted out" of racing -- well, that's typical overstatement. :) I still love it and support it -- I just do what's funnest and closest, which for me these days is Trail Skiing. Cheapest and most sustainable is a factor, too.

We totally solve the "lack of trails" problem by skiing on the HUGE number and variety of HIKING trails out there. There's gotta be 10X as many just-plain trails as there are groomed ski miles. No need for a special trail or special grooming when you use a tough, thrifty, allrounder ski -- and your skills and variety-fun level go up, too.

This approach also solves the "lack of snow" problem. An allrounder ski is happy on even ONE INCH of snow! And such a ski will last for many years of skiing sketchy conditions with roots, dirt and rocks. We have 2-4 days/year around here of skiing that is safe for sweet, fancy stone-ground bases carbon puffball skis. We have 50+ days that are great for a 50-65mm wide allrounder ski (like the new mid-lengths). It's a no-brainer!

When you do Adventure Skiing then wax and base-grind are just not so important -- all that complexity and expenses goes out the window. On a cold Blue day that's all ya need for max fun -- nothing fancier. Otherwise, nowax will do ya fine. Other factors like skill become more important and rewarding. How often do tele-turn descents factor into skiing with racing skis? With allrounders whenever the snow is deep(ish) you can toss in fun turns. I do like my waxers, though: we have a solid month where Blue is king. ...Or Start Grip Tape! That stuff is GREAT! It's been shown that for a big, full day of being on the trail that nowax stays close to waxable because you don't have to rewax as temps change from early, mid to late. But the Start Tape adapts to those temp-changes fine!

Maybe part of it is in the name. Adventure Skiing or Trail Skiing could conceivably help break the sport out of its stagnant rut.

In short, there might be potential here like adding mtbiking to a biking lineup that previously only had a dwindling roadie style.

We're definitely keeping up our Trail Ski events -- how can we not? They're totally simple, fun and in growing demand! (See 2012 schedule post elsewhere.)

--Jeff Potter
OutYourBackdoor.com
runfasta Posted - Nov 25 2011 : 11:34:30 AM
Jeff, you make plenty of valid points. There are factors that either on their own or combined make it difficult for xc racing or xc skiing in general to grow, i.e, lack of trails, unpredictable weather, the economy, overlap from other sports, the craziness of waxing (read Ian Harvey's West Y report), the learning curve, etc. I could go on and on yet I love so many aspects of skiing that I keep coming back year after year.

I just got involved in mtn biking riding again after a 20 year hiatus, the # of people riding is amazing, there is a tremendous and passionate group of riders, promoters, bike shop owners that exist to promote this activity, look at all the different groups, types of bikes, races that go on and you can see why the sport has grown, where does skiing go from here.

It's not just high fees that keep people away but it sure doesn't help. There are those who don't bat an eye in signing up for a dozen or more races per year, that's after the new skis, boots, poles, suits. We need a grass roots organization that provides used equip., mentoring/coaching, low cost events that would foster growth in the sport that would feed into the larger races, while most large races have citizen events these aren't near the numbers seen in the past, aka WP Stampede of the 80's.

Keep your events happening and maybe it'll lead to something greater...
JeffOYB Posted - Nov 22 2011 : 3:37:27 PM
I hear ya!

It seems like XC racing switched into an "upper crust" specialty lifestyle mode a couple decades ago. Entry fees are the least of it. An overt growth mission doesn't seem to be part of the plan, but sometimes the scene sees growth anyway as fresh air activity booms.

I opted out awhile ago and have been promoting and enjoying no-fee, low carbon-footprint group outings on glorious ungroomed trails just for fun and big challenges.

I really would like to see the two modes come together -- or at least get more "real skiers" to try their hand at Singletrack Ski Action.

The Women's Ski Tour seemed to be a great combo of Growth Event plus Fun, especially early on. They had a sizeable entry fee, as I recall, but they delivered a ton of fun, food and value.

Examples of an approach designed for growth are Rick Plite's bike events. He keeps it simple and cheap with no late fee and has gone from 0 to 1000 in a few years with some of his events. Then again there's the fancy Tailwind CX series with entry-fees plus license-fees and plenty of seriousness -- and they're growing, too.

--Jeff Potter
OutYourBackdoor.com

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