GENEVA – Women were the top three prize money earners on Alpine skiing’s World Cup circuit this season, the International Ski Federation said Monday.

Lara Gut-Behrami was the highest prize earner with a total of 485,000 Swiss francs ($523,000) before taxes, including six race wins that typically each pay 45,000 Swiss francs ($48,600).

Petra Vlhova, who edged Gut-Behrami for the women’s overall title on Saturday, got 444,000 Swiss francs ($479,000) after starting in all but two of the 31 women’s events.

Mikaela Shiffrin won the most valuable women’s race – the night slalom at Flachau, Austria, that paid almost 63,000 Swiss francs ($68,000) – in her total of almost 411,000 Swiss francs ($444,000).

Alexis Pinturault was the men’s overall World Cup champion and its highest earner. His 379,000 Swiss francs ($409,000) prize money included wins in five of the 35 events.

The most valuable World Cup race is the fearsome Hahnenkamm men’s downhill at Kitzbühel, Austria, which paid almost 87,500 Swiss francs ($94,500) to the winner Beat Feuz.

A total of 9 million Swiss francs ($9.7 million) was on offer in men’s and women’s events before race cancellations were taken into account.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Pretty decent wage for the top World Cup athletes for doing what they love to do (and not including sponsor $$). Less than some female athletes in other sports (e.g., golf, tennis), more than others (e.g., triathlon, hockey, soccer). Nice to see women doing better than men for a change. I wonder how much some of the lower-ranked skiers are making?

    • I’m curious how much they make in endorsements…we can see these numbers for Tiger, Serena, Federer, Ronaldo, Messi, etc.

      I would guess Mikaela is in the ~1-3M range. No idea for sure though.

    • World Cup competitors’ race earnings:
      https://www.fis-ski.com/DB/alpine-skiing/prize-money-ranking.html
      In Swiss francs – about $1.10. 127 women racers listed; 154 men. Top 10/15 make six figures; next 10/15 to around $50k, then drops off quickly. 30th woman/50th man about $22,000; most won four figures, basically minimum wage U.S. I imagine most/all receive living/traveling stipends and use of gear, but probably only the top-ranked are paid cash for endorsements, which is significant income for professional athletes. An in-depth article on WC racers’ expenses–coaching, training, travel–and who/which organizations covers them, would be very interesting. I also wonder if there’s extensive wagering on the race results. I’m sure plenty of informal bets are laid, but do Europeans bet on WC races the way US bets on the NFL? If a racer tweaked his/her knee during practice, would that info filter out to bookies? I certainly hope not. I so prefer to think of WC competition as honest, innocent, pristine as the alpine snow. I miss it already. Can’t wait for Alice Robinson to really turn it up consistently. She and Liensberger and Shiffrin are gonna duke it out these next few years!
      (This FIS site is fantastic–has detailed statistics, rules, etc. for all FIS sport categories. Searchable; years of information. Great way to waste time.)

      • And Vlhova, and Gisin, and Suter, if Corinne develops GS chops.
        The women’s circuit is so much fun to follow–such camaraderie and joie de vivre. Goggia and Ledecka are special characters. And amazing, ripping skiing. The men are excellent too, of course, but their physiques are so beyond my own, I look awful with five days’ beard growth, and their DH crashes are too frequent and hideous to watch. It’s just more fun to watch the gals, IMO.
        Kajsa Lie is one of my favorites. I so hope she recovers to compete again.

  2. NBC had a real Story here. Mikaela and Lara have every thing at their fingertips. The best tech. Best coaches, best support, and unlimited money. It was truly David Vs. Goliath. Hooisers, where the smallest school ever beat everybody. Karate Kid,Rocky and The Little Train that Could all rolled up in one. It was simply this. All Heart 100% Heart. Mikey Out. Oooohhhh Yeah!!!!!

  3. A quick look back in time. When the IOC relaxed its rules on athletes earning money in the ’80s, skiing became the very first Olympic sport to offer cash prizes. In the spring of 1990, the late Howard Peterson of USSA rallied national ski federations across Europe to pressure FIS to pioneer cash prizes, a decision made at FIS Congress that year. The America’s Opening World Cup in Park City that November was the first FIS event to award prizes, albeit through a voucher system at first.

    It’s fascinating that even today NCAA athletes are still prohibited from earning money.

  4. How do they all survive? Even the top money earners can’t possibly pay their entourage of trainers, coaches and other staff, all the travel and hotels for all of them, tons of equipment – out of their prize earnings. Most of the others earn little or no money from prizes. Mikaela or Petra or anyone on that elite level have endorsements, which I presume is how they really make their money, but most don’t (I think). As to most of the racers, the ones who never or rarely make a podium, I understand that FIS pays them too, but it doesn’t seem possible for that to be enough to do what they have to do. Do their country’s pay or supplement them?

  5. Pauper prize money for the best skiers in the world! More appropriate for an ultimate frisbee league. There is a great deal of money from television and venues. Clearly the athletes aren’t getting their share. Perhaps FIS will declare the competition only open to amateurs again.

    I have advice for the athletes: no athletes, no races! Take a page from Formula One Drivers!

    Why don’t the athletes work with equipment manufacturers to form factory sponsored racing teams? Only jingoism prevents this and the insatiable greed of FIS

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