If you were to look at Top 50 of the FIS World Cup rankings, 99% of skiers you’d find there are true pros.
In a sense that their main occupation in life is just that – to ski.
It is structured and financed very differently from country to country and there are, clearly, different levels of incomes. But broadly they all earn from skiing.
And then there’s remaining 1%.
If you study them closer, you realize with some surprise that they are actually…amateurs. Not in a sense that they are training less seriously, no. But they are actually go earn in order to ski, having a proper job (or two. or several) that pays primarily for race-related travel and training camps.
Most ( but by no means all ) of these fascinating people are based across the ocean – in the US and Canada.
Despite having tens millions of people living in snowy regions and, therefore, huge business potential, neither country has really developed a system that allows the best skiers to turn true professionals.
Maybe – maybe – for the very top ones, Team A, that is numbered in single digits. The rest are doing their best to get by – and to ski. Which requires , as you would imagine, an uncanny amount of energy and focus.
We talked to one of the best of them, The US Olympian and World Cup skier Rosie Frankowski from Alaska. The interview in full shall be published later this week – here’s a few quotes to help your curiosity peak:
….While there are companies who sponsor athletes at this level, the honest truth is that Nordic skiing in the US is a very fringe sport, and really not many people nationwide even know it exists….
….I have to pay my own way for travel, lodging, wax, etc. while racing on the World Cup. As you can imagine that adds up very fast when you spend months in Europe on the road…
…If a person only ski races for a salary or for the fame and fortune that come from winning, I am afraid they are probably never going to understand why I (and countless others) ski race…