This is a reprint of a press release issued by the United States Skibob Federation (USSBF) following the event...
SKIBOBBING ACHIEVES MAJOR SPORT COMPETITIVE STATUS
~~~ Commencement exercises were held for the fastest growing winter snow sport March 22-28, 1971 at Mt. Rose, Reno, Nevada.
~~~ The Third World Skibob Championships with 11 nations represented showed skibobbing had truly graduated into a major competitive activity worthy of Olympic sanction.
~~~ To skeptical skiers, who considered skibobbing a child's activity before they witnessed the giant slalom and downhill events of the world's skibobbing elite, there were such comments as “spectacular, fantastic, and unbelieveable”.
~~~ And indeed, the championship was worthy of such adjectives.
~~~ The downhill event in particular was the greatest challenge ever in world skibob competition. Although the course was short by previous standards—only a mile and a half—it made up for its length by steepness and a 500 ft. headwall so steep, skiers would not venture down it. The one skier who did, an Austrian skibob coach on skis, the morning of the race ended up with a broken leg. But among the skibob competitors, there were no injuries and only four fell on the steep schuss. The Swiss team coach, predicting ten racers would be killed, refused to allow his racers run the downhill.
~~~ At the bottom of this steep wall skibobbers hit speeds of more than 70 m.p.h.
~~~ Top individual honors went to Germany's Josef Estner with a first place in both the giant slalom and downhill and the combined championship as number one in the world.
~~~ However, the Austrians dominated most events and handily retained the team title “World Champions”.
~~~ In its debut in world competition the U.S. Skibob team had an amazing showing despite European dominance of the sport. A surprising second place in the Senior Men's Class was captured by Gene Zenger, Salt Lake City, Utah, and the U.S. National Skibob Champion. Zenger narrowly missed first place in the Senior Men's downhill and came in fourth in the giant slalom to win second in the combined results.
~~~ Americans also showed well in the Elite Class by placing two racers in the teens in the combined results ahead of several more experienced European skibobbers. Gerald MacDonald of New York City and Fred Petersen of West St. Paul, Minneapolis finished 16 and 17 in the combined standings. Steven Tautz, Littleton, Colorado, finished 11th in the Junior Men's Class.
~~~ Proof this four day championship was the commencement for a highly competitive snow sport was expressed by Georg Gfaeller, president of the Federation International de Skibob, headquartered in Munich, Germany. At the opening ceremony on March 22 Gfaeller said, “Skibobbing has now achieved the status and recognition as a result of this World Championship to demand that it be accepted as an Olympic discipline.”
~~~ One professional ski patrolman at Mt. Rose, who had seen recreational skibobbers for a couple of years, immediately purchased a skibob following the Elite downhill race stating he had to get with this sport now that he had seen the “superstars” in action.
~~~ The women racers from Europe demonstrated the men were not that much better. The Women's Champ Gertrude Geberth of Austria had a better time in the giant slalom than the third best man racer's time.
~~~ FISB President Gfaeller commented that the Austrians had always complained about how easy every race course was in previous championships. “But they did not say that about the Mt. Rose downhill course.”
~~~ The Third World Skibob Championship was also the beginning for many people of a lifetime of recreational fun on the slopes with a skibob. Nevada Governor Mike O'Callahan's wife was introduced to skibobbing during the event and is now a very enthusiastic skibobber. Dozens of others were also introduced to the safe, easy to learn sport during the races and are now avid skibob enthusiasts.
~~~ This points out the true potential of skibobbing. With a basic one or two hour lesson, the sport is “instant fun”. And the risk of breaking a leg is very slight. Now nobody need stay at home because they don't ski or feel too old to try skiing. Skibobbing is the answer. For practically anyone can be skibobbing down slopes in one day that would take months or years to master with skis.
~~~ And if you have a competitive nature, you can enter races with just a few days experience and perhaps set your sights on being on the U.S. Skibob Olympic team hopefully for the 1976 Winter Games in Denver, Colorado.
~~~ Be prepared, America! Skibobbing has graduated with honors, and it has its sights set on you becoming an active participant if you are one who enjoys good, safe outdoor fun.
Third World Skibob Championship - Combined Results
1. Franz Schwab (Austria), 2. Franz Frischbauer(Austria), 3. Axi Kurz (Austria)
1. Annemarie Hascher (Germany), 2. Maria Gschwendtner (Austria), 3. Angret Ertler (Austria)
1. Gertrude Geberth (Austria), 2. Waltraud Jost (Austria), 3. Grete Hois (Austria)
1. Josef Estner (Germany), 2. Sylvester Schauberger (Austria), 3. Josef Planitzer (Austria)
1. Willi Jost (Austria), 2. Gene Zenger (U.S.A.), 3. Anton Gollubitsch (Austria)
The U.S. Skibob Team, left to right: Fred Petersen, Paul Johnson, Steve Tautz, Mike Kvasnick, Barney Conrads, John O'Neil, Gerald McDonald, Bill Van Valkenburg, Alf Tieze, Art Korngiebel, Gene Zenger