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The costs of competition


Kelvin
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We did some math recently for my kids my son plays hockey, lacrosse and skis. My daughter figure skates competitively plus plays the piano, sings and is into drama. We spend close to $30K per year on stuff for the kids and that doesn't include the jumpers I just ordered my son. It also doesn't include travel costs for everything. Add to that I am thinking about buying a camper for staying at tournaments and it gets expensive fast.

 

The good news is that once they go to college most of that stuff stops and I will have close to a full tuition per year in money that gets freed up.

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Yes Kelvin, It goes WAY past some of the examples. As a dad of a three event skier AND a hockey goalie I spent HUGE sums of money on both. Hockey team and leaugue fees ran 4,000/5,000 year. Add 3-4 travel hockey tournaments a yeat at about 1,000 per trip. Gear for goalies is like buy new jump skis each year. So 6 months on solid water and 6 months on the lake. Now on the water side. Regionals, Nationals, Junior Dev. Tean trials, Us open, Pan-ams local tournament fees...... and handles, gloves, bindings, vests, skis, GAS to train. I have been blessed that I have not had to pay huge amounts for coach fees. Glad that now all I have is college tuition. LOL Hate to think about some of the annual costs. My guess is that some years in excess of 20,000. Yes, parents are nuts!!!!!!!
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Shoot, leave kids out of it, some of us are borderline clinically insane. Take one man, add ski, and a couple of bucks, and then build a house 3 states away from where you grew up that's on a lake. Have no job when you get there. Do it in the worst economy in 70 years. I sunk big money on my house. And it hasn't all worked out, but it has been pretty awesome. Most of my friends and family think I was/am totally nuts. I think they were right.
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So, anyone venture to do the math on their skier?

 

I know some local families who hired an elite skier for the summer. Can't imagine how much that alone was, but I bet in the range of those figures cited in the article. That's the thing about the story... Top competitive kid athletes are constantly in training under expert coaching. Then, there is the travel to and entry fees at the elite competitions. Add a new ski per year, and wow... So, I'm sure some people have invested over $10k/year in their kids. And that doesn't even include lake access and boat costs.

 

But, I wonder what the average skier kid costs are... like the ones who may compete at regionals, but not at nationals. I bet there is a significant drop in costs. Much less high-dollar instruction, less travel, etc. Maybe only a new ski every other year or so. I bet at the top end of "average" that is more like $3k/year ($600 on a ski school or lessons, $500 ($1000/2) in new ski costs annualized, $500 in fees, $400 in travel, $1k in misc... And I didn't include course access/lake access costs, because if the parents are competing, then that cost is not fully on the kid...

 

Take local organized youth baseball... $150 per season (fall & spring) which includes team practice time, access to the fields, coaching, uniform, games, etc. Then, add $100 in other gear (pants, & shoes) per season, because little Johnny is growing. Maybe a new bat $120 per year (although you can get a decent bat as low as $75). A few private lessons $30 ea. and some batting cage time would add $130. If Johnny makes All-stars, there is another $150 for the summer all-star season. So, what is that $800/yr and I probably overstated a few items... Hmmm...

 

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I have no doubt that any of the top skiers on this site can coach their kids to regionals no problem. Cost is then their ski/bindings/gloves/vest and repeat when they out grow them. Add incremental gas cost over the cost of parent's own skiing. Possible course ownership which could easily be on a public lake (sunk cost not relative...would have one anyway...same for boat). A few tourney entry fees locally so a few nights in hotels/food....though parent skiers hotel is also sunk and thus only the food and entry fee are incremental on top. Not that bad.

 

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As far as the equipment goes I don't think a 1 event skier is really that different from a lot of other popular highschool sports but where you really rack up the cash is in the additonal gas expense, my Dad had a course and a boat long before I was interested in the sport and already burned through a lot of gas practicing but I've doubled that every year for the past 7 that I've been in the sport, I think the yearly gas probably cost more than any ski I've ever used. Not saying the gear is cheap but I think the real killer on the additional family member using the water is the gas.
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@razorross3, I don't think it's possible to double the old man's gas usage. He skis 3X as many passes per set as the rest of us! He's also one of the only guys still skiing mornings in MN...a few days ago we had thin ice on our lake...geez.

Having said that, you didn't get going in earnest until you were what, approx 14 y.o.? Now you could ski regionals based on ability and the cost has been skis/vest/gloves/incremental gas increase and incremental tournament entry increase (I'm excluding your collegiate foray into 3-event and associated costs). Pretty cheap to be a kid ripping into regionals and probably nat's in slalom if you keep it up.

I was cheap as well in M2 qualifying nat's skiing the old man's outboard...just get me a ski and some gloves and some water time. It's another case of the law of diminishing returns. You can build a very good skier on the cheap, but as you get out to the end of the bell curve it takes A LOT more time/effort/energy/expense to go from really good to very best. For those with kids shooting for the very best...very expensive. To hit 80% of that, expense drops dramatically.

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@6balls, it is true that you me and Bob could all go out to NG with the old man and he'd have the same pass count as the other three of us combined but the point is that the increase in gas is the biggest extra cost of adding a skier to your family. In my case I never needed the pro coaching since you and the old man ski into 39 off.
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@RazorRoss3, @6balls, who is your old man? What is his user name here? Also, consider yourselves lucky you had what you had growing up. Don't get me wrong, I loved my dad tremendously, and he supported my sports activities vigorously, BUT, I wish I would have been skiing like you guys, cause I would have saved lots of pain, and would be much further in my advancement. BTW, my boy is 7 and my two girls are 9 and 12 and my baby is 2....yes, all are skiing, and will hopefully be on this site 20 years from now when @Horton finally cuts his hair.
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@richarddoane I am one funny uncle! @thager, he's into other stuff, too...black belt and state bench press record holder among other things. Chip off the old block, eh? Good chance someday he both out-benches and out-skis me...until then I will continue my motivational needling (while helping and coaching, too)!
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The kid is a pretty good coach too. He can pick things up sometimes when we ski together that make a huge difference in my skiing. In the end, I don't think any of us on this site would be as good without our ski partners. My wife Susan, my son Mitch, and bro Dave all have contributed significantly to my skiing. Many others have helped along the way as well. Just wish I had more time to ski with more people at more sites! Ah to be retired and independently wealthy -- ya, like that's going to happen!
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I'm with @Drago, the cost of not doing it could be far greater - how much do lawyers and therapists make? We're fortunate that most of our tournaments are pretty local and camping friendly, and keeping tournaments affordable for families is a priority. At the regional level the incremental cost is fairly small, mainly gas and additional entry fees, a second hand ski when they grow, maybe an extra $1K per kid per year on average. And we get to do it as a family! Compare that to ski racing at a regional level (alpine) which runs about $6000 per kid per year with coaching and camps ($4K), 4 pr skis ($1K with selling last year's), and entries/travel ($1K). Then there's the LAX, maybe football, conditioning costs. If you really want to cringe think about how much you have to make pre-tax to pay post-tax dollars for the kids' activities.
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