World Cup racers will go head-to-head
in Munich’s Olympic Park, starting at
the top of the Olympic Mountain and
finishing at Olympic Lake.
Moscow held a big-money invitational in 2009 and will host a
World Cup race in February.
events contributes to strong TV ratings. “If the World Cup is to ever compete with the X
Games and appeal to the next generation, then FIS would be well served to incorporate more
night racing into the schedule,” he says. “Traditional slalom used to be a discipline that all
skiers could relate to and even gain some technical knowledge from, but it has morphed into
something that is too obscure. In that format, most of the athletes look alike, compared to the
dual format that makes the skiers go around the pole, which highlights the individual styles
much better. Any skier could relate to the way Kostelic skied on his way to victory in Munich
— it was a beautiful thing to watch.”
In the dual format, fans can see the whole hill, says Mahre. “Also, even the uneducated eye
can see who’s winning, which brings excitement,” he says. “Being able to bring the sport to
the city is great; it could also build interest for the rest of the tour.”
For racers, however, choosing the right gear has been a bit of a study. In contrast to the
cookie-cutter equipment of typical World Cup races, the City Event at Munich showcased all
manner of tech skis; downhiller Daniela Merighetti even used bent speed poles. The argument is still on the table that the event favors the tech racers.
“It would be ideal,” says Austrian men’s coach, Matthias Berthold, “to have head-to-head
specialists running those races, but in order to do that, a dual world ranking list would be
helpful. The problem for that is, it is impossible to have a list like that just for two races a year,
and how could it be done? I also think that people in big cities are coming to watch those
races because they want to watch the big stars of our sport, for that it is perfect to have the
top 16 of the World Cup starting.”
In his younger days, Berthold spent six seasons racing World Cup, then switched circuits,
where he won “rookie of the year” in his first of six successful pro tours.
Berthold admits that the format favors some athletes more than others. “But head-to-head
racing is a great format, exciting to watch for the spectators and fair to every athlete — rules
for World Cup dual races should be the same as it used to be on the Pro Tour,” he says.
“Right now there are some small details that are different. It is very important that there is a
clear explanation of the rules, plus perfect graphics for TV viewers to understand the rules
and to have a clear overview of the total event.”
So what’s next? Quebec City? New York City? Boston? Sources at USSA say that while the
notion of a City Event in, say, Manhattan sounds great, the actual business plan to create the
event doesn’t yet exist. The World Cup schedule is set for the next three seasons; so while
changes can occur, a North American venue may not be on our immediate horizon. Still, it
might be wise to keep an eye on hotel rooms.