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telewhacker Posted - Jan 17 2010 : 1:05:34 PM
Hey Mike, Great job with the inaugural Frosty. Hopefully we can plan on this for next year as well.
7   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
mmuha Posted - Jan 21 2010 : 07:51:30 AM
Freestyle vs. classic:

That was a tough decision for the Frosty. It came down to this: for which technique were we most likely to have the best snow for a 15K race? Skating.

I'd like to have a second, classic race on Sunday next year, probably on the south side of the road. It would have to be interval start. Or have the race on a different weekend, although that would make it difficult to put on the Michigan Cup schedule.

mmuha Posted - Jan 21 2010 : 07:48:08 AM
Hi thebiggreenvan,

I like the idea of a "family rate" for the race! We might try that next year.

We had quite a number of expenses for the race: t-shirts, awards, lunch, etc. It adds up fast. If fewer than 100 skiers showed up, we would only have broken even. Thank goodness for all the sponsors! They really made the financial difference!

We lucked out in the insurance area. A sponsor covered us for insurance, otherwise it would have cost around $6 PER SKIER just for insurance.

thebiggreenvan Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 8:54:18 PM
Almost all the skiers now in their 50s came into the sport a tourer. Weingartz, Brumbough, Kemp, me (Kane), etc etc, and even the runners and bikers of that generation. We skied little wooded trails, made by ourselves, used wax (the no wax skis back then were terrible) and one day went to a race and did better than we thought we would. Some of us were so dumb we tried to pine tar our first pair of plastic skis. One difference might have been that touring and racing equipment was not so deverged, maybe another difference is that the top racers werent dressed in skinsuits. And the racers didnt skate much then; remember, the toes would break off our boots before SNS came along!!!

Anyway, I think I have said this before on this forum, that the way to build the racing base has more to do with building the touring base. figure for every couple hundred tourers you get one skier to a race. To build touring numbers, you need to maintain free ski trails. simple, but difficult, but that is is ski clubs should do, their primary function to be.

Another thing to do is to trick them into racing. In Rochester we we started a free Wednesday night 'touring' series on a little 2 km loop lighted with candles in plastic milk jugs (they would catch on fire occassionally to great effect!). we called it a tour, well, but we timed it, and, um, we had a mass start, and everybody toured as fast as they could. We caught a few of those tourers at the local weekend races.

Also, how many races have touring classes and how many are pt to pt like the White Pine? (does the WP have the touring class anymore?) Anyway, pt to pt events are more likely to draw tourers.

runfasta Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 8:45:47 PM
Good points all. Over here in W. Michigan with our proximity to lake effect snowfall one would think we would have more skiing centers,however Muskegon Sports complex, Pigeon Creek, Pando and LE Kaufman golf course are the few sites that groom, other areas provide access to trails without grooming.

Pigeon Creek gets it,they proved "if you build it they will come" in that there are no fees for skiing with low rental rates for decent skis of both dicsiplines, however at MSP you first have to buy a State Park sticker then a trail pass then ski rental, for a family of four it can be expensive. Both of these sites are at minimum 30-55 minutes from GR, so you have travel to consider. Pando the closet of the three hasnt kept up with the times, to be honest I havent visited their lodge in awhile to know the rental situation but it is now primarily a tubing/snowboard destination not x-c skiing, just visiting the trails will tell where their priorities are. What we need is for Kent County to open up trails at Millenium Park or another golf course with proper grooming, lights, new rentals etc.

Who will consider racing if one can't find suitable local skiing to train, not everyone can travel north to find great skiing.

One more thought, in providing a competitive & fun culture has the Michigan Cup circuit sacrified the future of the sport for the glory of individual or team results?

Making local leaders aware of our trail needs is one area we can all have a part in otherwise how would they know anyone wants skiing venues trails. Mike has awakened some to an outdoor sport that provides great exercise and thrills while others to the demise if steps aren't taken.

Dan Wisneski
dirtkahuna Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 7:33:27 PM
Nordic skiing has a fairly steep price of entry for families. It costs over $500 to outfit a young skier with decent racing equipment. Plus, with unreliable snow and few groomed trails, parents would rather sign their kids up to indoor sports.

Which is a shame. We all know why Nordic skiing is worthwhile. There has never been a shortage of young mountain bike racers - parents will spend money when the kid begs long and hard enough. We need to find a way to generate interest for the kids. The Frosty is a great start!

We really need to capture the 20 to 30-year old demographic. Most of us 50 year old (and older) skiers got started when we were in our 20's, but young people today can't be bothered with the difficulties our sport has to deal with.

One idea I have to bring more people to the sport is for each Nordic center to have free loaner skis available. Not junk, but decent freestyle skis and boots. Give 'em away for a couple of hours, and throw in a free lesson too.

Another idea is for each of the Michigan Cup teams to have a designated "community" day. We could individually take people out on the trails and give free lessons or pointers.

Yet another idea would be to offer free or reduced-price entries for any Cup skier who brings a novice to an event. We can all do a better job recruiting. There's no reason that the guys on $5000 carbon racing bicycles aren't racing with us in the winter!

If we don't get proactive, this sport will end. And that will be a sad, sad legacy for those of us who have dedicated our lives to Nordic skiing and racing.
thebiggreenvan Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 6:01:35 PM
okay, I may be still awol or reasons that have to do with trying to survive in this state, but I would like to add my two cents to Ken Roth's article.

I too am amazed that there are so few, well almost no, competitive skiers in the 20-40 age group in the LP. You know, in the __entire__ Birkie of the early 80s (when all the present 50 somes were 20 somes) there were only a hand full of 50 year old skiers outskiing us, and they were mostly from Norway.

So I agree, races like the FF are important. But I think we are still not thinking things thru, at least if we want more people skiing in races.

Two things that I think people should consider:

The price per family has to be capped at 2x. That is, a family of 3, 4 or 10 gets in for 2x the normal price. If you can remember back to the Salt River Rennet, that is what we did. The logic was that for a small event (under 1000 people) the price per skier is not proportional to the cost. Basically, the race was more ahead letting 4 people in for two fees than it would be if all four didnt come all. I doubt race economics have changed much.

(For us personally, $100 to go racing is outside our budget; we can go to dinner twice on that, including Kzoo beer.)

The second thing is that, believe it or not, the majority of people that ski down here are classic skiers, and maybe you should play by their rules not ours, which means dont have skate races in the lower counties. You like to think how many people went home thinking they might like to go to another race; I wonder how many people went home thinking that they dont really need another set of skis. My first winter in this state, with my wooden bonna 1800s, I at least felt as if I was doing the same thing as the top skiers.

JeffOYB Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 09:45:16 AM
Yes, thanks for making the Frosty happen, Mike! It was a super show. Lotsa fun seeing so many folks come out for it. The northerners made the drive and the SE skiers came outta the woodwork. And the course was great -- good-gliding snow everywhere -- no ice, no dirt. --JP

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