As an avid downhill skiller myself, this piece caught my eye. I can testify that this has been a really tough season for Alpine skiing. What with global warming, and uncongenial annual weather patterns, and lack of snow, and all that. Fortunately for me, where I live there are resorts that have state of the art snowmaking equipment. This season, thanks to “First World” technology, some of these places were able to literally “pull a winter out of their ass”, as the local ski bums so colorfully say.
And therefore we Alpinists were able to rack up at least a few good runs. Not enough to achieve true Nirvana, but certainly better than nothing. But even then, snow-making only goes so far. Once the temps get up to a certain level, the snow guns fall quiet, and one has to face the reality that this joyous season is truly over.
But enough about me and my problems. This piece is about people who are really struggling now. Both nature, man, and life itself has dealt them a bum hand. I am talking about Ukrainians, of course.
Sports Officials: Let Them Eat Dirt
So, a Sports Scandal is brewing in the Ukraine. Every year around this time are held the Annual Ski Championships, in the mountains of Transcarpathia. This map shows the major ski resorts in this part of the Ukraine:
And I am betting that things are pretty good here in early March, most years. With gorgeous panoramas like this:
But not this season. According to the local Transcarpathian site called Prozak.Info, this year the skiing situation looked more like this, on the Krasia Mountain, Velokoberezyanskaya Region of the Ukraine, site of the 2016 National Skiing Championship.
Okay, so maybe these resorts don’t have snow guns, maybe they never needed them before, and for sure Mother Nature did not cooperate this year. So, the only real choice was to cancel the competition and send the young people home – right?
Quoting the Navigator piece:
“Eye witnesses and participants of the championship asserted, that all of this came about because one of the officials of the Ski Federation OWNS the Krasia Ski Resort and had an interest in money-laundering. In addition to that, high officials in the Sports Ministries also got a chance to stay at Krasia and lived in luxury conditions, they were not in any hurry to go home. Later, some shocking photos appeared in the Internet, confirming that the conditions for a proper ski competition simply did not exist. As a result of skiing on grass and dirt, the athletes ended up damaging the (mountain), not to mention the fact that there were many injuries.”
And the “prozak” piece quoted one of the athletes, who posted this comment on Social Media:
“Мені от цікава позиція тренерів. Тримати язик в задниці? Навіть фотки бояться виставити! Де та професура яка шастає по Європі? Або спеціалісти по збору і розповсюдженню інформації? Чого мовчите? Що,. подобається як над вами знущаються? Та хрен з вами – над дітьми знущаються! Чи ви там так замазані що боїтеся? За що? Вид спорта “за свої”, ви тратите свої гроші і ще скидаєтесь на дядю! Всі мовчать! От так і живем…”.
[yalensis: My Ukrainian not so good. But I think he say:]
“Our coaches had an interesting position: Keep your tongue in your ass. Don’t post photos. These are the guys who cavort all over Europe. These are the experts on the collection and dissemination of information. Why should we be silent? Why should we let them bully us? Fuck you – you’re bullying children. What are you afraid of? [not sure what the rest is saying… but ends with]: So, this is how we live…”
Moral of the Story
If there is no snow, and you don’t have snow-guns, or it is too warm to use them, then please don’t risk injuring your athletes, please just cancel the games. Otherwise, you will be asked the same question posed by the Nationals Coach to David Chappellet (portrayed by actor Robert Redford) in the classic movie Downhill Racer:
“Why are you here?”