THE DELEGATE FROM THE U.S.
In your last issue (SI, Dec. 20) I found, among other things, a very good article on skiing by Roland Palmedo. Unfortunately, there is too much truth to his observations about U.S. ski diplomacy on the international level. It is, however, not generally known that the National Ski Association of America (NSA) is a deficit operation with a ridiculously low budget. The NSA is not financially independent, so the seven divisions of the NSA have to contribute to the operation of the NSA. Thus being unable to pay the expenses of its delegates to the FIS World Congress, the NSA had to call on people who could afford to pay their own way even though they may not have been the most qualified representatives.
Our new and current ski administration, with Albert Sigal of California at the head, is trying to put the NSA back on its feet and to secure better support among all skiers. In one of your issues you estimated that there are approximately three million skiers in the U.S., and of them only about 55,000 are affiliated with the NSA.
Recently, at a board of directors meeting of the NSA at Colorado Springs (all directors went there at no expense to the NSA), I was appointed as one of three delegates to represent the National Ski Association of America to the FIS World Congress in Switzerland this year. It will be necessary for me to raise at least half of the cost of such a trip, and I am certain I will. Mr. Palmedo brought out the fact that most past delegates have been unable to speak any other language but their own. Fortunately, I can speak Norwegian fluently, can converse with Swedes, have studied German eight years, plus having been subject to German occupation for five years, but my two years studies of French could not keep me from speaking with gestures rather than sounds. Competitively and administratively I have been connected with skiing for 20 years (I'm now pushing 29) and have skied much in Norway and throughout the U.S.
It is my desire to become completely familiar with past actions of the FIS, and to attend these meetings in Switzerland with the purpose in mind to work for better relations between the nations, for better skiing and facilities in the U.S. and all other countries, for better and more uniform understanding of the amateur code, and to attempt to restore other countries' confidence in the United States as an important skiing nation.
GUSTAV F. RAAUM
FOR LOVE, NOT MONEY
Mr. Roland Palmedo, whose great contributions to skiing have long been recognized throughout North America, states (SI, Dec. 20), "The FIS, unfortunately, holds the paradoxical rule that a professional ski instructor is a competitive amateur."
Why not, Mr. Palmedo?
Ski races have no prize money. All racers ski for the excitement of competing and the honor of winning. If he races, the ski instructor usually loses income. His season is short. The time used for training, traveling and racing is nonproductive. If hurt, the rest of the season is lost. The instructor races because he loves to race.
Teaching skiing is not advantageous to a racer. The average pupil is a beginner or an intermediate; this means slow skiing. No help when he has to pour himself over a tough downhill course at 60 mph.
The FIS title, World's Champion, should be held by the best ski racer in the world. This might not be true if Mr. Palmedo had his theories put into practice.
On this continent, the Harriman Cup at Sun Valley and the Ryan Cup at Mont Tremblant seem to many to have become more important than their respective national championships. Both these races award the cup to the racer with the best time, regardless of classification. Yet, last year both races were won by amateurs.