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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
*boring courses
*complexity, mystery and uncertainty of prep
*endless hours in the wax room
*difficult skill
*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

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The least relevant of these would likely be difficulty of the skill. People love learning skills and comparing their skill level of tricky sports.

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How to best reverse all the factors holding back ski racing?

Answer:


*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

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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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