Bridging Cultures One Ski At A Time

This piece was written for Sport & Démocratie on the power of sport to serve as a bridge between cultures and people. It's striking in that ski racing, an individual sport that is often pitted as racer vs racer, is in actuality much more of a team endeavor than most of us think. It's thus perhaps an ideal sport to examine how sports can unite people across languages and beyond. 

"Women from North and South Korea will compete together as a unified ice hockey team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, the latest example of sport’s power to unite. It’s a triumph for sports diplomacy, an illustration of how people can learn and better understand each other despite divisions through people-to-people interactions. And while everyone will be watching the team, for many other elite athletes, sports bridges cultures on a daily basis."

To read more, click here.

Other interesting nuggets from my reporting:

It takes you a while to figure out the culture. Italians...everything when they communicate goes through mouth, taste, and eyes and touching. It takes a while to figure that out.
— POWDR Sport's Herweg Demschar on how he learned about Italian culture and communications through the ski world
Is Paris really worth it?
Where are les Champs Élysees, because I know this song...
You say that French food is good, but I tasted the blanquette and the cassoulet and I hated it!
— French ski racer Anne-Sophie Barthet on the questions she's asked about her country
This is like when you go to a race in Europe, this is the kind of atmosphere that you have there . It’s really fun. And even here, the international racers who are here, even after last year, they were floored at how exciting it was and how into it the crowd was. And how they cheered for everybody, right down to the last racer - you don’t always see that.
— Fan and former racer Tim Herbert on what it's like at the Killington FIS World Cup
With our entire team consisting of French and foreigners (Italians, Canadians), we travel the world to search for perfect conditions: on glaciers in Europe during the summer, in the Southern Hemisphere (Argentina / Chile) in the fall to find winter conditions, in North America at the beginning of the season, and then this year in Asia (South Korea) for the Olympic Games!
— French ski racer Romane Miradoli on the worldwide hunt for snow
 U.S.A.'s Resi Stiegler at a press conference ahead of the Killington FIS World Cup, 2017.

U.S.A.'s Resi Stiegler at a press conference ahead of the Killington FIS World Cup, 2017.

 Dawn of Day One at the Killington FIS Women's World Cup, 2017.

Dawn of Day One at the Killington FIS Women's World Cup, 2017.

 Waiting for the race to begin.

Waiting for the race to begin.

 Some 17,000 fans flocked to Killington for Day One of the FIS World Cup, 2017.

Some 17,000 fans flocked to Killington for Day One of the FIS World Cup, 2017.