Many of us, even lifelong skiers and winter fanatics, have never had the chance to watch a professional ski race live. Perhaps that is because many professional ski events are held in remote locations, or because it is not the easiest professional sport to watch as an outsider to the competitive circuit. But maybe it’s because many of us just don’t know enough about the sport.
These are all obstacles that professional ski racing has faced for years and there are now a select few looking to change the game. Well, not necessarily “change the game” as much as give it new life. Here’s what you need to know about the World Pro Ski Tour.
The World Pro Ski Tour is by no means a new idea. The Pro Ski Tour, run by Bath, Maine resident Ed Rogers, saw huge success throughout the U.S. from 1970 to 1990. Events were held across the country as well as in Europe and Japan.
After 17 years, the Tour is making a comeback and Sunday River will be host to the first event of the year, The Pro Ski Challenge on March 9-11. The World Pro Ski Tour is bringing ski racing to the modern market with the mission to “stimulate the ski industry by providing young racers an opportunity to experience financial success in order to pursue their dreams,” says Rogers.
Not only is the World Pro Ski Tour about giving young ski racers a chance to make a living, but it is also significantly more viewer-friendly than other forms of professional racing. “The World Pro Ski Tour features racers competing head-to-head on a shorter course making the event more exciting and easier to follow for spectators who may not be interested in learning the intricacies of World Cup racing,” wrote Jenn Sheridan in a Powder Magazine article earlier this year.
For all who have never witnessed a ski race in person, Team Snow has come up with a short list of tips for making the most of your first pro race experience. The Pro Ski Challenge races kick off Friday, March 10 at 11AM on the Monday Mourning race course, located on Locke Mountain. Finals will be held on Saturday, March 11, and both days will have apres-ski events at the Foggy Goggle and Barker Bars.
Tip 1: More cowbell
There are a few essentials one must always bring when attending a professional ski event. Perhaps the most important…the cowbell. More cowbell is always needed. Cowbells have a long tradition as the unofficial soundtrack to any and all professional ski races. No one is really sure how or why the cowbell became the instrument of choice for ski race spectators but it is rumored that ski racers are drawn to the sound of the cowbell and are now unable to complete a race unless you tirelessly and ceaselessly ring said bovine music-maker in the ear of the spectator directly in front of you.
Tip 2: Dress appropriately
When we say dress appropriately, we really mean ridiculously. It may be challenging to find an outfit more ridiculous than the ones our athletes will be sporting but everyone loves a crazy outfit. What better way is there to enjoy a spectator sport than by doing so while you and all your friends are in chicken costumes, dressed as your favorite Disney character, or yetis. Better yet, a group theme. Dig through the old Halloween boxes and pull out the most flashy and obnoxious garb you can find.
Tip 3: Rest those legs and hit the deck
Watching athletes speed down the mountain at amazing speeds all day can be a tiring activity. The vocal cords may grow weary from all the cheering, the forearms may get tired from the cowbell cacophony, and surely your legs will be sorer than the racers’ from all that standing around. The best way to rest those weary legs while still having a great view of the races, hit the Best of Bethel number one spring deck, The Barker Bar. With views of Barker and Locke Mountains and plenty of sunshine, there is no better way to cheer on your favorite racers than with a beverage in hand on the deck of the Barker Bar.
Whether you are a ski race aficionado or have never even been on skis in your life, you are guaranteed for quite the show. The Pro Ski Challenge has an impressive lineup of athletes and you will be part of history simply by being present.