Note: The opinions and thoughts contained within the Editor's Column are the sole property of the author and are not necessarily reflect the opinions of members of the American Cross Country Skiers, organizational sponsors, and/or xcskiworld.com advertisers.
"You Guys Are Great -- Keep Up The Good Work!"
All modesty aside, that's what American Cross Country Skiers (AXCS) hears more or less on a weekly basis about xcskiworld.com. We'd be kidding you if we didn't say that's incredibly important. Heck, we'd be kidding you if we said it wasn't the prime reason this site has as much (or more) energy and relevance today as it did eight years ago when the site was first developed.
Of course, you can't survive in the no-profit world of the Internet for eight years (and counting) and not have strong reader support. But AXCS is very proud of the fact that xcskiworld.com does not rely exclusively on loyal readers coming back day-after-day and/or week-after-week. Alongside rabid XC race fans worldwide, the site continues to be the number one resource in the world for beginners and recreational skiers, providing an enormous base of general information...most of it unavailable anywhere else.
And elite racer or never-ever, no matter what you are interested in, it's all free.
Yep, 365, 24/7. Free. You can bank on numerous updates virtually every week of the year...daily updates during key periods during the northern hemisphere winter. Free. Weekly workouts. Free. Exclusive news and features. Free. Free. Free.
You get the idea.
So how do we do it?
Well, for starters, there are the advertisers and sponsors you see displayed in banner ads at the top and bottom of every page as well as on the sides of most section pages. Revenue from these ads/sponsorships provides the essential funds to contract out design work, translation, and basic infrastructure for the site. Whereas a very simple website can be operated for a hundred dollars a year, an internationally-recognized resource/magazine/news vehicle/promotion machine costs quite a bit more. In short, if we don't have lots of happy advertisers and sponsors...xcskiworld.com simply would not be as good as it is.
The second piece to the puzzle are AXCS members. AXCS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and dedicates a very large amount of organizational resources towards the basic infrastructure of the site. When you run the numbers, it works out that every single member of AXCS has a small portion of their annual membership dues going into the administration and content of xcskiworld.com. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the more members AXCS has, the better xcskiworld.com will be.
Between the balance of advertisers/sponsors and AXCS membership, in the last three years we've been able to redesign xcskiworld.com and greatly improve the weekly content. But we have a ton of exciting future projects waiting in the wings...and no guarantee the money is going to be there to make it happen.
I bet you can guess where we are headed.
So how can you help?
Number One: Support our advertisers and sponsors.
Just by clicking on the ads you see displayed within xcskiworld.com, you send out a marvelous message that support for xcskiworld.com works. But even more important is actually patronizing the resorts, events, companies, and services you see displayed...letting them know (loud and clear) that you value their support of free XC ski news, information, and educational materials. You can also let non-advertisers know that you want to see them on xcskiworld.com. It all starts with a click.
Number Two: Join AXCS
Even if xcskiworld.com was the only reason you joined despite dozens of other membership benefits that come with AXCS $35 annual dues...you would still be getting an outstanding value. Break it down and the site would be costing you less than $1 every ten days. That's one and a half workouts of the week for a buck. An average of three news updates or features for a buck. On top of literally thousands of dollars in annual membership benefits! Any way you figure it, it's a heck of a deal.
Number Three: Talk Up The Site and AXCS Membership To Others
In a small sport like XC skiing, numbers are the most powerful tool we have. Even as the number one XC ski website, there are millions of people XC skiing this year that don't know about the great information waiting for them in these pages. You can help them discover us. More visits, more members, more support for advertisers/sponsors...everything you do adds up to more things we can do for you.