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Thursday July 5, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Gender pay gap? Not in ski racing. The top 18 female alpine racers all earned more than their male counterparts last winter.

It's the second season in a row that the leading women picked up more money than the best of the men, with the US skier Mikaela Shiffrin top of the pile.

The International Ski Federation, which has just published the list of earnings, says it's thanks to equal minimum prize money offered at all its World Cup events.

Individual race organisers are allowed to pay out more than the minimum - and some did - but they are obliged to offer at least 120,000 CHF (£91,000) across the top 30 finishers in each men's and each women's race.

In the 2017-18 season all but one of the top 18 women out-earned the man with the equivalent ranking.

The previous year the top 13 women managed the same feat.

Mikaela Shiffrin was the highest earner, out-performing Austrla's Marcel Hirscher on the wages front for a second year running.
Mikaela ShiffrinMikaela Shiffrin - photo US Ski & Snowboard Team






"I think the fact that I was able to win the most prize money this year out of all athletes - female and male - means that, while there is still a big fight to eliminate gender bias in the workplace, progress is being made," she said.

"Especially when compared to one of the strongest male athletes of this generation (Hirscher), and having had a fairly equal amount of success as Marcel this year."

Shiffrin earned a total of 702,774.88 CHF (£536,000) due in part to her podium results at venues on the ladies' tour that paid out more than the minimum.

They included Courchevel, Lienz, and Flachau.

They were among four venues and seven races that chose to pay out more than the minimum required in prize money.

The top man, Marcel Hirscher picked up 669,681CHF (£511,000) from his World Cup season.

The comparison does not take into account sponsorship and other income outside of race winnings.

The earnings list shows that alpine skiing is way ahead of many other sports in offering parity of prize-money.

BBC Sport reported in 2017 that of 44 professional sports, 20 per cent did not offer equal earnings.

"It is very clear to me that the same job and responsibilities should be valued the same," said Atle Skaardal, the FIS Chief Race Director for the Ladies' World Cup.

"Our competitions on the ladies' tour are equally demanding and draw the same if not more spectators in some cases, so it is essential that ladies' alpine skiing offers equal prize money to what is done so on the men's tour."

Nina Haver-Loeseth of Norway has earned more than the man with the same ranking (15th in 2017-18) on the prize money list for the past three years running, averaging 106,175 CHF (£81,000) each winter.

"Seeing women earn a fair living in ski racing helped me maintain my interest in this sport from when I was a young girl to becoming a professional," she said.

"As a female athlete, it is a very good feeling to know that the prize money is equal to the men.

"It would feel unfair otherwise, and I am proud of where our sport is when it comes to appreciating both men's and women's skiing.

" It's 2018, and it's a bit sad to see that in some other sports the gap between men and women is still way too big when it comes to prize money and earnings."

A year ago we reported that Great Britain's Dave Ryding had shot up the earnings rankings to become the 16th highest-earning male alpine skier, thanks to a silver medal at Kitzbühel and a series of top 10s:

Ryding, who again had several top 10s but did not make the podium last winter, has dropped back to 35th place.

His race earnings for 2017-18 amounted to 26,184CHF (£20,000)

Dave RydingDave Ryding















FIS appears to be taking its commitment to gender equality seriously.

It's currently conducting a survey to gather data about the status of gender balance within FIS and the 130 National Ski Associations.

It says the aim is to get an "accurate snapshot of where we stand in terms of gender balance."

It's still not granted Lindsey Vonn her wish to race against men, however.....

With thanks to FIS for the quotes in this article.

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