Announcing: Snow Sports Canada Cup

Can I confess something?

For about 3 years and 11 months, I don’t give a hoot about Cross Country Skiing. Then the Olympics are on, and I’m all about it. As soon as it’s done, though,  I go back to my full ambivalence.  Unfortunately I’m not alone: it’s well known that corporate sponsorship takes a nosedive immediately after any much-touted sporting event, and snow sports are no different.

So, about 18 months ago, Canada’s governing bodies got together and created Snow Sports Canada, an umbrella group that combines the 7 disciplines: Freestyle Skiing, Nordic Combined, Biathlon, Cross Country, Alpine, Ski Jumping, and Snowboarding.

Not content with that progress, they decided to ask themselves: who’s the best at their own sport overall? Hence, the Snow Sports Canada Cup. Announced only yesterday, the team aims to put together a points system to pit Canadian professional skiers against snowboarders, biathlon against ski jumping, and every other possible combination. The events can range from an FIS World Cup event to the hallowed X-Games and Dew Tour.  On the surface, this is to turn corporate heads and attract sponsorship, but the possibilities are so much more.

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Mackenzie Investments, one of Snow Sport Canada's major investors. L-R: Len Valjas, Cross Country Skiing; Dave Duncan, Alpine Ski Cross; Kevin Hill, Snowboard Cross; Jeff Carney, Mackenzie Investments; Atsuko Tanaka, Ski Jumping; Travis Gerritts, Freestyle Aerials; Rosanna Crawford, Biathlon. (CNW Group/Mackenzie Investments)
Mackenzie Investments, one of Snow Sport Canada’s major investors. L-R: Len Valjas, Cross Country Skiing; Dave Duncan, Alpine Ski Cross; Kevin Hill, Snowboard Cross; Jeff Carney, Mackenzie Investments; Atsuko Tanaka, Ski Jumping; Travis Gerritts, Freestyle Aerials; Rosanna Crawford, Biathlon. (CNW Group/Mackenzie Investments)

Logistically, this makes sense: to be able to see all of your favourite athletes (of which there are over 200) and their accomplishments on one page. Not only that, the competitors are (spoiler alert) naturally competitive, but also great friends, so the friendly rivalry can push them to try that little bit harder – possibly more so than the cash prize at the end of the season for the top finishing male and female.  “We’re all out there to win in our respective sports,” says snowboarder Mercedes Nicoll, herself a 3-time Olympian, “but to add another level of competition against fellow snow sports athletes takes it to the next level… And a cash prize at the end of the year makes it that much more exciting!”

This style of points system has been seen in other sports – think the FedEx Cup in golf – but, as far as the organizers know, it’s the first of its kind worldwide in winter sports. This could possibly set the benchmark for other counties to follow suit. Personally, I can’t wait to see a Fantasy League… but let’s wait to see how it shapes up. “The Cup” launches in October, and we at Mountain Life will be sure to check in with this exciting new endeavour.

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