The appearance of World Cup skiers this week in Park City continues an America's Opening tradition that began way back in 1985. As a result, many of the international skiers, and most of the coaches, are strangers no more to Park City. They ski on familiar runs. They sleep in familiar beds. They dine in familiar restaurants.
A particular favorite restaurant for the skiers is Adolph's, located not far from the ski runs and owned and operated by Adolph Imboden, a former Swiss ski racer himself. Adolph looks forward to the annual invasion of the European skiers as much as he looks forward to the first snow."Over the years we have made many friendships," Adolph says. "The European skiers and coaches, they come in here a lot. The Swiss and the U.S. always have their team dinners here. Marc Girardelli and his father eat here every night."
Girardelli, the multiple world-champion who skis for Luxembourg, comes from Austria, and lives in Switzerland, has been a World Cup (and Adolph's) Park City regular since winning the inaugural America's Opening in 1985. "We speak the same language," says Adolph. "He likes to eat steak."
ADD ADOLPH: A European skier who is not a regular at Adolph's, or any other public place in Park City, is Alberto Tomba, the two-Olympic gold medalist who swept both the slalom and giant slalom titles when the World Cup men last visited Park City two years ago.
"I think Tomba brings his own cook and eats in his room a lot," says Imboden. "If he goes out he gets mobbed."
Tomba's annual America's Opening lodgings are at the Park City Yarrow Hotel, where the food and beverage department keeps an extraordinarily large supply of bananas on hand for Tomba and the other ski racers who use the hotel as their headquarters.
FOUR FOR FOUR?: Not to put any added pressure on BYU when it plays its regular season-ending game against UTEP this Saturday, but if the Cougars, who will take a 5-5 record into the game, win it will make history for college football in the state of Utah. It will mark the first time BYU, Utah, Utah State and Weber State all had winning seasons in the same year.
It has never happened before. Since Weber became a four-year school in 1962, at least one of the four, and many times more than that, has finished at .500 or below.
For that matter, it's been a rare year when the Big Three of Utah, Utah State and BYU have all had concurrent winning seasons. Since the end of World War II it has happened three times - in 1946, when Utah State was 7-2-1, Utah 8-3 and BYU 5-4-1; in 1972, when USU was 8-3, Utah 6-5 and BYU 7-4; and in 1978, when USU was 7-4, Utah 8-3 and BYU 9-4.
WORTH REPEATING: Frederick C. Klein of The Wall Street Journal recently editorialized concerning the inequity of paying shoe contract money to coaches instead of collegiate institutions. His opinion:
"In the pros, the shoe-endorsement dollars go to the athletes, but in the colleges they go to the coaches, who can tell their players what to wear. When the payments were small, this was no big deal, but the annual sums high-profile coaches could command moved into six figures a half-dozen years ago. (Duke's Mike) Krzyzewski reportedly has a pact with Nike that pays $1 million up front and $375,000 a year for the next 15 years, while Dean Smith, his counterpart at the University of North Carolina, has a four-year deal with the same company valued at more than $4 million.
"Krzyzewski and Smith are estimable fellows, and have assigned large parts of their windfalls to their schools or to charity. That's admirable, but only if you start with the premise that they deserve even a cent of such money. Better by far that school athletic directors do the bargaining and spread the proceeds among all their teams. We then might see scholarship levels rise again, and a reversal of a distressing trend - that of schools eliminating "minor" sports teams in the name of economy.
"To paraphrase Ev Dirksen, a million here and a million there and you're talking real money."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: University of Utah fifth-year senior Bryan Rowley, who missed last season because of a broken ankle, after Saturday's 34-31 win over BYU: "Now I'm glad I broke my leg. Otherwise I would have missed this. The last time Utah won in Provo, I was one."