I saw on Facebook that a buddy of mine drove down to Oakmont for the U.S. Open (as in golf). Appeared that he had a blast. Said it was well worth the trip. Now I remember Kevin as a party hearty kind of guy, so it must have been a pretty good show to keep his interest.
The key is this was a road trip. He drove. It was accessible.
Don’t know if you’ve watched any World Cup technical ski racing recently, slalom or GS, but man, these women sure fly. Check out some of the FIS Behind the Scenes videos on YouTube and see if you don’t come to the same conclusion. Fact of the matter is no sport is progressing as rapidly as alpine ski racing.
“Well folks, this is America’s year.”
Sure, the FIS messes around with the rules too much; but regardless of what is done in the name of safety, the pilots and the equipment builders keep inventing ways to move between the flags faster. And, as much as I appreciate the television coverage that finds its way to my screens, there is no substitute for being on site. Well folks, this is America’s year.
Consider a road trip this winter – and probably not that long a drive either. Because this is an unprecedented season for World Cup ski racing in the U.S., and you really have no excuse not to see at least one day of racing in person.
So let’s break it down here, Vermont’s Big K is within five hours of New York City, inside four from Montreal, and inside three from Boston. Beaver Creek is less than two hours from Denver and Aspen a little over three. Squaw is four from San Francisco, two from Sacramento and one from Reno. That’s 79 million people right there. Surely you’ve got old friends living in or near these places. It’s not a road trip without friends.
The thing is, by firing up the motor car and driving to an event – through some of the best scenery anywhere, mind you – you will not only see some of the most amazing ski racing ever, but you will be supporting our home team. And the home-field advantage couldn’t be more real than it is in ski racing. Tamara McKinney’s World Cup career saw 27.7 percent of her wins come at U.S. venues. Two thirds of Julie Parisien’s wins were on home snow. One hundred percent of Diann Roffe’s World Cup wins were home field. It matters.
Americans have scored 31 top fives in World Cups at Aspen, plus the disallowed downhill victory by AJ Kitt in 1995. We’ve seen 40 top fives at Beaver Creek, 22 at Heavenly Valley, seven at Park City, 18 at Vail and 26 at Waterville Valley in just 31 races. It is true there have been even better results just north of the boarder at Lake Louise, but hey, that’s also close enough.
So the point is if you aren’t racing in these events, you and friends should show up anyway. For one thing, you’re going to be impressed. By definition it doesn’t get any better than World Cup Finals. For another you might actually help push our guys and gals to unprecedented heights. They are young with excellent hearing. They will discern a cheer from the starting house. We don’t get a lot of shots at seasons like this with so many home races. Give yourselves a treat. Take a little adventure into the mountains and witness wonders of prowess.
Let ‘em know you’re there.
Take advantage. Pack the place. Road trip.