What Limits the Popularity of Racing?
January 17, 2011
This time of year I'm thinking mostly of ski racing. But we can apply this across the range of sports, I bet. Anyway, I'm guessing wildly that it's:
*expense of entry fees, equipment and supplies
*few events -- lots of travel / driving
*complexity, mystery and uncertainty of prep
*endless hours in the wax room
*for the organizer it might be: scarcity of venues; the overhead burden of trail grooming
*not so friendly and convivial -- lots of gel-packs, strictness, fussiness, not so much partying or picnicking, show-up-race-pack-up, chili, beer, awards, go home
*only intense people involved -- only the top tier shows up
The least relevant of these would likely be difficulty of the skill. People love learning skills and comparing their skill level of tricky sports.
How to best reverse all the factors holding back ski racing?
*set up events so that expensive equipment (and supplies) are less of a factor
*free events held hither and yon, anywhere the snow and terrain are good -- turns travel into a nonissue in snowcountry
*lay out low-tech, low-impact singletrack courses the follow the best accessible terrain in an area -- easy to have many such venues
*forget grooming -- do the minimal possible -- maybe pre-run with snowmobile or a few skiers -- save the money, uncertainty and time
*challenging courses on ungroomed trails make fancy skis, grinds, waxing into a non-issue
*ungroomed courses can be optimally skied on a wide variety of common, thrifty touring skis
*challenging singletrack courses put a premium on physical skill over equipment fussing
*free, casual singletrack venues would bring out the bonfires, picnics, parties
*skiers of all ages and skills could use the same course on same day, some racing, some touring
PS: Of course there are hot-spots and even hot-countries, but how to get the whole thing to spread around more...
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