Some Things Never Change
The inter-Nicene warfare raging in ski racing between FIS and
athletes, coaches, and other crusaders is fraught with irony.
One might call this opinion-based-rules-war “The Battle of
Brouhaha in Bureaukatistan,” whose aristocracy is a coalition
of pundits of the FIS ICR and USSA ACR (where any modifica-
tions to the ICR are numbered as Uxxx.x.x).
In my umpity-umpth reading of Phil and Steve Mahre’s little
book, “No Hill Too Fast,” I made a defining discovery on page
304 about the brothers’ 1982 opinion of FIS.
Here’s the paragraph:
“The rule changes and new events introduced by the FIS
are a puzzlement. The FIS consists of a bunch of older men
— many of them former competitors from days when ski rac-
ing was quite different — who aren’t in very close touch with
today’s racers. Marc Holder, the president, who is Swiss, has
tried sporadically to meet with racers on the World Cup and
discuss their needs. But then the racers can’t agree among
themselves, with the downhillers having desires quite different
from the technical skiers. So the racers don’t present a single
viewpoint that the FIS can work from.”
Apparently, FIS et al. didn’t keep the Mahres from winning a
few races. Nor did their equipment (such as the slaloms — K2
710s with black spring Markers — I got from Steve in ‘84).
Some things never change...but some do. Just, perhaps, as
do technical event courses where stuff happens between the
first and second runs.
Dean “Coach Deanski” Tonkin
Phil and Steve Mahre: proving some things never change.
A College Epidemic
There’s an unfortunate epidemic striking college ski racing right now.
Just to name a few, UMass Amherst, Smith College, and my own
school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have all cut their
varsity ski programs, and the trend is only set to continue. Fortunately,
all the teams I named have been able to continue racing at a club
status, but that presents its own set of difficulties. Namely, it becomes
much more difficult to raise enough money to last longer than a sea-
son at a time.
While we all recognize the expensive nature of the sport, there is
simply no replacement for ski racing. I can say from personal experi-
ence that nothing compares to finishing that last final of the fall semes-
ter, knowing that I don’t have to do anything but ski race for the next
month. I don’t know if I could even get through finals week without that
motivation to help me out, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably a
ski racer yourself and know exactly what I mean.
Let’s join together and keep as many teams at a varsity status as pos-
sible, and especially not let any teams fall off completely. If you can,
donate to any ski team that you know. As we come up to ski season,
it’s more important now than ever. As it is right now, I can’t say for sure
whether or not MIT will still have a team 10 or even five years down
the road, and I know other schools are in the same situation. Simply
go to any team’s website and look for directions on how to donate. If
you can’t find any, email the captains or the coach and they will gladly
help you out. We can stop this from spreading if we just defend the
sport we all love.
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