Remember the Women's Ski Tour! -- The Key to XC Popularity
PUMP UP THE VOLUME?
I did the Vasa race weekend not long ago, and, ya know, it seems like it would be neat if people were encouraged to get out onto the Vasa course a bit more to spectate and hang out during the races. I think it's what they do at other big races. There were bonfires at the various feedzones and road-crossings, so maybe that would do. However, I noticed that just a quarter mile past the start area there was an exciting twisty windey downhill section that would've made for great spectating and photography, but no one was out there.
The Vasa is known as a big local event, and it gets big local news coverage in the paper the next day, but it still seems like there could be perhaps better tie-in with the nearby city, especially in terms of nightlife. Maybe for getting more spectators and fun skiers out on race day there could be some food'n'fun tents set up here and there near access points to the course -- a bit like how the Women's Ski Tour did things when it was drawing 1000 women out onto their skis. The racers need feedzones but partiers might respond to fun-tents to hang out around and cheer on the racers here'n'there out on the course.
Another common and fun idea would be to feed in data from around the course as to how the racers are doing along the way. I think this can easily be automated nowadays, what with the chips on the bibs. Maybe there could be cameras out there at sweet downhills and killer uphills feeding into a finish-line big-screen.
I suppose TC is much bigger than Marquette but when I went up there for the Nokie it seemed like the whole town came out for the race. There was also a gungho race presence at a night-club afterward, with a great funk band from Chicago (I still remember, it was Bumpus). It seems like you want to have an impact goal of every hotel and bar/restaurant having "Welcome Racers!" signs and deals out in force. My bro and I went to the big local microbrew and it seemed like we were the only skiers there. I didn't see any microbrew sponsors: Gotta have kegs around racers. Sports can learn from each other: Cyclocross seems to do well with the microbrew tie-in.