I haven’t been shy about sharing my concerns over the high-risk level of skiing that grabs primetime TV minutes. This year two such examples – the X Games and Winter Olympics – have this idea on my brain more than usual.
But getting non-skiers’ attention is hard, so if we get their attention with something that looks as dangerous as X Games or Olympic Downhill courses seem, is all hope lost?
Maybe, but let me share why my mind is going with this.
Lately I’ve started to see a really interesting pattern emerge in other industries. Here’s about how it’s gone.
In skiing, I think that’s the exact situation we’re in. A sensationalized version of our sport has the headlines. Our problem isn’t the skiing, it’s simply the way it’s portrayed.
Remember, kids. Don't confuse the industry/media coverage/hype of skiing with the actual act of skiing. Putting on two skis is still great.
— Mike Rogge (@skiingrogge) February 19, 2014
I nodded in silent agreement when I saw Mike’s tweet because, to me, what I see on TV isn’t “skiing”.
If I were in charge, this is the message I’d deliver during commercial breaks of ski events during the Olympics.
“FAMOUS SKIER: I know what you’re thinking, these races look pretty dangerous. One wrong move and it’s broken bones, torn ligaments, six months of recovery.
ANOTHER FAMOUS SKIER: So why does anyone in their right mind go skiing?
FAMOUS SKIER WILLING TO BE HONEST: Well, because this isn’t really skiing.
OLDER, NORMAL LOOKING PERSON: To me this is no more skiing than the Indy 500 is driving to work.
ANOTHER VERY NORMAL LOOKING MIDDLEAGED PERSON: Us skiers admire it just like you, but when we think of skiing, we don’t think of speed and skinsuits and triple flips…
A FAMILY: …we think of family, friends, fresh air, amazing views, and the joy of sliding – quite safely – down a sunny slope.
ANOTHER NORMAL LOOKING PERSON: So set aside your fears and join us. It’s never to late to learn.
WARREN MILLER: And remember, if you don’t try skiing this year, you’ll be one year old when you do.”
Maybe this wouldn’t work, but that’s the message I’d send. The hard part – getting people to notice skiing – is done. And messaging like this doesn’t dissuade anyone with lofty ambitions from wanting to be like Bode.
Agreeing with what viewers are likely thinking (to win a slice of trust) and pivoting to get to them to realize what they’ve been watching isn’t “skiing” like we all think of it may be a way to capitalize on the sensational side of our sport while clearing up the skewed impression they have of it.
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