Rossignol halves athlete sponsorships 

Whistler skiers affected by cost-cutting measure

As the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of skis Rossignol has a lot of industry firsts to its credit. Now, in the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, the ski maker has taken the lead by cutting wages for its sponsored skiers by 50 per cent.

Rossignol is owned by Australia's Macquarie Bank and the U.S. consumer group Jarden. In March they announced that they would be cutting 400 jobs, or roughly one-third of its global staff. They have also asked their athletes - ranging from World Cup pros to Nordic skiers to freeskiers - to accept a 50 per cent cut in their salary next season. Performance bonuses for top-10 results won't be affected.

In alpine ski racing that group includes U.S. World Cup champion and Olympic hopeful Lindsey Vonn, French slalom champion Jean-Baptiste Grange, as well as several Canadian athletes - notably Whistler's Mike Janyk, Whistler Mountain Ski Club ahtletes Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon, and fellow Canadians Jan Hudec and J.P. Roy.

Overall, Rossignol racers placed second in the alpine World Cup brand rankings this year behind Atomic. Head, Volkl, Fischer, Dynastar, Stoeckli, Salomon, Nordica, Blizzard and Elan followed.

The cuts are across the board and impact freeskiers, Nordic skiers and snowboarders. Rossignol is also listed as a sponsor of the Canadian ski cross team.


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