Friday, March 28, 2014

Racing buzz

     Big-time ski racing and big-time ski racers generate buzz in mountain towns. Sun Valley began buzzing this week as top-flight national and international ski racing returned to Sun Valley with the International Federation of Skiing’s Western Region Spring Series that’s been under way on Bald Mountain since Wednesday.

     How big is this? Well, Olympic medalist Andrew Weibrecht, the American who stunned the world with his silver-medal performance in the Super G at Sochi, Russia, is here along with other elite members of the U.S. Ski Team.

     It’s been too long since the orange safety fences wound nearly to the top of Warm Springs run for a Super G race or a downhill. Sun Valley, the nation’s first ski resort, and the city of Sun Valley, the first community in the United States ever to owe its very existence to skiing, have been out of international and national alpine racing events for way too long. As a result, the area’s reputation as a great ski destination has suffered.

     Putting on national and international ski races is expensive and requires efforts beyond the day-in, day-out business of hosting recreational skiers. Even so, the national and international exposure high-level ski and snowboard races bring to the Sun Valley area are worth the effort and expense in that they keep the ski resort on the map of places beloved by the best in the sport and on the list of places recreational skiers want to visit.

     Sun Valley Resort and the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation seem to be quietly moving to try to reclaim a spot on the elite ski racing map, and that’s a very good thing. Ski and snowboard racers are some of the best athletes in the world. They should be an integral part of one of the best skiing mountains in the world.

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