COVID Corner: Part 1
Special interview November 20, 2020
Starring Debi Koltoniak with special guest President Alex Carrico
Debi: Alex, I know you are incredibly busy preparing for this season. With all the challenges 2020 has brought us I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to join me on my all new show. I really hated to ask for your time, but I have so many people asking me about this year. A lot of me people have reservations and just don’t know what to do.
Alex: I completely understand Debi. We certainly understand that people have reservations about racing this year and throughout the planning process safety has been our top priority.
Debi: Oh Alex, honey, I was actually talking about hotel reservations, flights, dinner reservations and other travel plans. My fans come from a long way away to watch me race Alex.
Alex: Of course they do Debi... I have just been hearing from a lot of people about their concerns related to COVID, so my mind just jumped there first.
Debi: Oh, I completely agree with your there Alex, my peeps have been putting in long hours getting my masks ready. You know making sure I have plenty, coordinating them with my suits, bedazzling, you know that sort of thing.
Alex: Must be nice to be the queen of the Toledo ski club. I have to coordinate and bedazzle on my own. I am glad to hear you are getting your face coverings ready and are focused on safety. Some people are very concerned and cautious. Then we have people on the other end of the spectrum. Regardless of your approach to the pandemic we need to be safe and respect our other racers. Finally, we need to comply with all of Boyne’s requirements.
Debi: So, are we actually going to be able to race this year?
Alex: I wish I knew that answer to that Debi, but we are moving forward with planning and will have a season if it is possible and safe to do so.
Debi: Is registration open?
Alex: Registration will open in early December and we are asking people to register early. We are currently working to determine the minimum number of people we can run our program with. We will then set a date and if we don’t have that number registered then we will be forced to cancel the season.
Debi: What if I register and decide later that I am not comfortable racing or get a big Hollywood Movie role and can’t race?
Alex: We have not traditionally given money back, since we incur a lot of expense before the season even starts, but given the circumstances we have been working on our refund policy. Essentially, a full refund will be given for racers who cancel, for any reason, before the first race. After that refunds will only be granted if MACC’s board of directors cancels all or part of the season. This policy will be finalized shortly and outlined in our COVID Safe Return to Ski Racing document.
Debi: I never thought about that before, but you probably have to order all of my trophy’s before I even pay.
Alex: Yes, awards are a very large expense and we typically order them before the season begins. We also have to pay for insurance, timing software licensing, gates, drills, batteries and other equipment. These things add up and we have been running at a deficit the last few years due to lower participation. As a result, we will have a modest increase in our race fees to $80 for all racers. New racers or returning racers who have lost their bib will have to buy a new one for $20.
Debi: Well $80 for the year is not a big deal for a celebrity like me, but I hope that does not discourage anyone from racing.
Alex: I hope so too, but I am confident we still provide the best value for your ski racing dollar. If you break the fee down over our 12 races it is less than $7 per race.
Debi: When you put it that way, that is a great deal.
Alex: With all of the unknowns going into the 2021 season we have also made the difficult decision not to have individual race awards. We plan to have World Cup awards, but we were not comfortable buying glassware without knowing how many racers we will have or if we will even be able to ski.
Debi: Can MACC weather the year financially if we are unable to hold races?
Alex: We can and we are in a strong position, but we have some big expenses on the horizon to plan for. Our timers are obsolete, meaning if they break we will be unable to find the parts to repair them. We currently have a backup, but if one fails it puts us in a precarious position.
Debi: How much does a new timer cost?
Alex: Currently they are around $5,000 each, so we need to save or raise money wherever we can. Naturally this is difficult to balance with trying to grow the program. Without knowing how much revenue we will have this season we need to really manage our expenses closely. The COVID environment also limits our options for fundraising.
Debi: Well, if you need a celebrity for any of our fundraising events, don’t hesitate to ask.
Alex: Thanks Debi, we’ll keep that in mind.
Debi: As you know Alex, I am pretty well connected and I have heard some rumors that there will be no guest racing this year. Can you comment on this?
Alex: Certainly. This was a very tough decision for us and I want to start by saying that we love guest racing and are fully committed to reinstating this program as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.
Debi: So, guest racing was temporarily suspended due to safety concerns?
Alex: Yes. We are trying to deliver the highest quality adult ski racing program to our members in the safest way possible and guest racing brought up several concerns for us. First, there are a lot of new rules in place related to safety and COVID. The board felt it was too much to expect someone joining us for race or two to familiarize themselves with all these rules and procedures in addition to figuring out the rest of our program. In addition, there are a lot of touch points with guest racers, which increase our exposure to COVID and we are trying to reduce the exposure as much as we possibly can.
Debi: Is there a chance guest racing will come back mid-season?
Alex: Anything is possible. The only thing we know for sure this season is we will have more changes.
Debi: Is there anything else you want to share with our viewers?
Alex: Please keep an eye out for the latest news, read our Safe Return to Ski Racing document and register early if you think you want to race this year.
Debi: Well I appreciate your time today and the wealth of information you have shared. Where can people go for more information.
Alex: The MACC website or our Facebook page (not to be confused with our Facebook group) is the best place to go for more information. Details on registration and other information will also be shared in our newsletter when they become available.
MACC sends out newletters during the race season with updates about coming events. Here are links to recent newsletters.
(Former) President's Corner
MACC president Scott Pyles has raced his entire life, including the US Ski Team, working his way up to MACC.
May 6, 2016. Review of 2016 and thanks to those essential to MACC.
March 12, 2015. Observations of MACC when you can't race.
November 12, 2014. Where were we 52 years ago, and where are we now?
April 21, 2014. Scott's story of how he was introduced to MACC, told at the 2014 Marks Banquet.