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Are snow/ice sports the domain of the well-off?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

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Edited by merkur - 7/30/11 at 12:51am
post #2 of 25
Not if you live nearby. When I was in school we'd drive 1 hr, pay $10 for a lift ticket and $10 for ski rentals from 6-10 pm for night skiing. I froze my ass off, but learned how to ski having a great time with my friends.
post #3 of 25
IIRC, Shani Davis, the long-track speedskating breakout and all-around odd dude, is from the South Side of Chi-Town.
post #4 of 25
To some extent, yes. Hockey maybe less so. I suppose as with any sport if you show aptitude you can get support from the relevant governing body. By and large though I would say yes. Of course the closer you live to significant snow the less money you need for snow sports. So broke ass Canucks have an advantage over the broke ass from Alabama.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by merkur View Post
Watching the Winter Olympics got me thinking, are snow/ice sports the domain of the well-off/rich? I mean snowboards, skis and other equipment cost $$$ not to mention the cost of travel to snowy/icy places and accommodation.
Yes. Perhaps some day the snowy areas of the globe will be inhabited, but until then only the rich can afford to buy plane tickets and hire sherpas to go skiing.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
To some extent, yes. Hockey maybe less so.

My best friend has three kids playing hockey this year. It is costing him thousands...
post #7 of 25
Yes, of course. Do you think a poor mfer is ever going to get a chance to try his hand at curling, moguls, or half pipe??? Shit, I'm rich and I have skiied before and I have no idea how to even get a single run in at a snow half pipe. A poor kid wants to know if he will ever be good at luge, and where shall he go to figure this out? Shani Davis is an anomaly, I believe his family specifically encouraged him to try speed skating with the express goal of being successful at it, a la the Williams sisters, a la "hit em where they (other black people) ain't". In other words, he was only a decent track running athlete, so the figured he might as well try skating where there is simply less competition. The saddest thing is that rich people keep inventing lame sports which they know they are good at and where other poor mfers will have a hard time entering. Have you seen the moguls event? WTF is that? It's an easy way for a rich kid to get a medal.
post #8 of 25
I grew up under the poverty level, and no one I ever knew growing up was better than blue collar...yet we all played hockey. You buy hand me downs, wait for sales, save your money you make in the summer, etc.
post #9 of 25
let's put it this way, what's cheaper to play, soccer or hockey? You can play soccer with a ball of laundry tied in rope, as many poor bastards do.

Hockey, sure if your entire community is centered around the sport and you live in Michigan and you can go practice 6 months out of the year on the lake for free, it can be cheap. But for the most part, no.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota rube View Post
My best friend has three kids playing hockey this year. It is costing him thousands...

Maybe he should get better dental insurance...
All kidding aside, I have no idea how much hockey costs. Just seems like at its most simple all you need is frozen water, an old pair of skates and some sticks. I can see it getting expensive with all that safety gear.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post
I grew up under the poverty level, and no one I ever knew growing up was better than blue collar...yet we all played hockey. You buy hand me downs, wait for sales, save your money you make in the summer, etc.

You grew up in the Great White North, though, right?
Even here, in the suburbs of Canada, hockey has become quite expensive. Sure there are lots of opportunities to play at the neighborhood rinks, in shinny games, but if a kid is on a traveling team, it gets very, very expensive.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota rube View Post
You grew up in the Great White North, though, right?
Even here, in the suburbs of Canada, hockey has become quite expensive. Sure there are lots of opportunities to play at the neighborhood rinks, in shinny games, but if a kid is on a traveling team, it gets very, very expensive.

I was on the travelling squad for years. None of us were rich. You have to be ready to carpool, sleep two to a bed in motels, practice at midnight on weekends or 5a before school, as ice time is cheap.

If we're going to say it was cheap because I grew up in semi-rural Canada, well yeah. But we sure as hell didn't get into surfing or scuba diving. Many sports are cost dependent based on location. I'm sure there are crap tons of po' folk in Hawaii that surf all the time.
post #13 of 25
As others have stated, this depends to a great degree on your location. If you are in Canada, access to hockey leagues and ice is fairly easy. Paying for it is another thing entirely. I played hockey using the same strategy that Pio mentioned with hand-me-downs and used stuff from sales. But it was still expensive. Nowadays, it is almost prohibitively so. If you think of a kid in hockey from age 5 to 15, think of how much they will grow. You need new (or new used) equipment every year. If you add in the cost of travel to a few tournaments a year it is expensive. Usually a minimum cost of around $2500-$3000 per year. No way around it.

Curling is cheap. Relatively. Join a league, get a broom and one of the sliding things that goes over your shoe and you are done.

Cross country skiing is reasonably affordable. There is plenty of used equipment around and it costs nothing to go out to the woods somewhere to ski.

Downhill skiing is more expensive, and the cost of it is probably the most dependent on location. If you are in a location where you can get a season's pass and use it all winter long, not that bad. If not, travel and accomodations get expensive. Ski equipment can be had for reasonably cheap, and there is lots of used equipment around.

Now, so far I am just talking about these sports in the context of recreational enjoyment, not serious athletic pursuit. To do that, all sports require coaching which gets expensive. You will likely need to make a provincial or state team for whatever it is you are pursuing. This will costs LOTS of money as there will likely be extensive travelling. Yes there is financing for some portion of the cost, but most is going to be borne by the athlete until you get to the truly elite (ie. national) levels.

Speed skating only requires a pair of skates. But add in the coaching necessary to get good enough to get to the elite levels, and the travel time to succeed in getting to the elite levels and you once again have a very expensive sport.

I suppose the crux of what I am saying is that these sports can be done recreationally in a reasonably frugal manner, but anything more serious than that, in any sport, is going to be expensive. Add in the locational aspect of some winter sports and high level success in these winter sports is very expensive. But so are a lot of non-winter sports. Soccer is often touted as the prototypical cheap sport. Maybe in third world countries, but in North America if you want to be good it will be expensive. My brother-in-law's niece is a very, very good high school soccer player (plays on the provincial team), cost is around $10-12,000 per year.

Success is expensive. Recreation not as much. But it ain't cheap.
post #14 of 25
How many luge/bobsled tracks are there in the US? I've always wondered how someone gets started in one of those sports. Skiing, skating, hockey, etc all are recreational pursuits as well as competitive sports, but luge? Are there recreational lugers?
post #15 of 25
Largely, yes. But not exclusively. Ski bums abound. If all you care about is the sport, you can do it basically being a pauper.
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