The World Pro Ski Tour (WPST) season came to a close with a message of revitalization and re-emergence. Following a business re-organization, new WPST Chairman, Dan Leever, has appointed Jon J. Franklin, former Winter Sports Vice President at IMG Media, as the new Tour Chief Executive Officer, charged with leading a new era for the WPST. Recently, Franklin served as CEO of Glory Sports International, where under his leadership Glory was named the world’s number one Kickboxing promotion in 2017 by Combat Press and as one of the world’s most influential combat sports and martial arts promotions by Fox Sports.
Franklin’s background ensures he’s a natural fit to lead the WPST’s revitalization, having formerly represented top Olympic and World Champion skiers such as Tommy Moe, AJ Kitt, and Bill Johnson and more recently managing sponsorship programs for Olympic Gold medal skiers Bode Miller and Julia Mancuso. Additionally, Franklin, who will begin his tenure this month, has sold and managed multiple title sponsorship activations in ski racing, including for the WPST itself and for the global FIS Ski World Cup.
“We are leading the charge to revitalize the World Pro Ski Tour to provide opportunities for ski racers and to re-energize dual format ski racing globally,” said Franklin.
In March 2017, after much demand and nearly two decades since the last dual pro race was held in the U.S., Ed Rogers, owner of the US Pro Ski Tour through the 1990’s, resurrected the WPST. Iterations of the tour featured a number of iconic racers, including France’s Jean-Claude Killy, America’s Billy Kidd, and the late Vladimir “Spider” Sabich and later on, Olympic Champions Phil and Steve Mahre and perennial pro champions Andre Arnold and Bernard Knauss.
The WPST, established in 1976, is a nationwide tour of events different from standard International Ski Federation (FIS) or Olympic ski events in that alternatively two competitors race side-by-side in a single elimination bracket akin to drag racing meets skiing. The popular dual-slalom format, made famous by legendary U.S. Ski team coach Bob Beattie in the late 1960’s, allows on-site spectators and TV viewers to consume the most exciting and easiest to understand format in alpine ski racing. Racers compete for prize money and a World Pro title.
The Tour’s format has drawn in legions of fans and as of lately top ski racing competitors such as three-time Olympian Nolan Kasper and World Champion Silver Medalist Phil Brown, who have taken the Tour titles in recent seasons. To be noted, recently the FIS has also adopted dual format racing with a version now scheduled for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Since its return in 2017, the WPST has attained a number of sponsorships including Tito’s Vodka, Raymond James, Michelob Ultra and RXBAR, to name a few. Moving forward the Tour will be headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The races are televised on official broadcasting partner CBS Sports Network.
Release courtesy of WPST.