If the frail Canadian dollar has you reconsidering your next trip, it's having the same limiting effect on many of the national sport organizations responsible for the country's top athletes.
"The dollar's not helping, there's no question of that," said Bruce Robinson, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA), which has many of its 54 national team athletes outside of Canada around 10 months of the year.
This group includes Olympic champions such as moguls skier Justine Dufour-Lapointe, and slopestyle skier Dara Howell.
"When you have a 30 to 40 per cent premium on the dollar and you're spending 25 per cent of your time in the United States in particular, that has a significant impact on our budgets," said Robinson.
One Canadian dollar was worth about 69 cents U.S. as of Jan. 20, hovering near a 12-year low, and down 18 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Organizations hit hard
With two years before the next Winter Olympics, the CFSA views this as a critical period. They'll try to save money in other areas, not their high performance program.
"This is not the time to try to scale back," said Robinson, who has a high performance budget of $4.4 million, one of the country's highest, based on seven medals in Sochi.
Smaller sports like cross-country skiing are hit harder.
"We're in a bit of a tough spot here," said Tom Holland, the sport's Director of High Performance.
Though he has only four full-time World Cup athletes, Holland thinks his high performance budget of $1.4 million might not be enough this year.
Similar to many winter sports, Holland's team spends a lot of time in Europe, where one euro costs $1.59 Cdn.
"My big concern is where is this going to lead us if it stays like this next year because it's a huge impact," he said, suggesting the money could just run out. "You can easily get to a point where you say, 'That's as far as we can go, we gotta go home now.'"
Both Robinson and Holland are also worried about developmental athletes.
"This has a double effect," says Robinson, noting that families are also having to pay about 20 to 30 per cent more out of their own pockets to travel to events.
The development athletes — still working their way up the ranks, trying to establish themselves — can pay up to $30,000 out-of-pocket per season.
"If you're not going up, it's pretty easy to throw the towel in," says Holland of this group. "It doesn't just impact the people going to Europe, it impacts your whole program."
Not totally bleak
Some sports actually benefit from the weak Canadian dollar.
Golf Canada operates a robust amateur program paid for by a portion of the title sponsorship money from their RBC Canadian Open. RBC pays $8 million US for the rights. About $1 million of that makes up the majority of Golf Canada's amateur and developmental budget.
Beach volleyball player Ben Saxton keeps his tour winnings in U.S. dollars.
"It's better to have American money right now," said Saxton, who with teammate Chaim Schalk is well-positioned to qualify for Rio 2016. They live and train in California up to four months out of the year.
Similarly there is evidence that the weak Canadian dollar demands resourcefulness from the hard-pressed sports.
"You can't give up," said Holland. "We're mandated to chase medals and get to the Olympics. This can lead to really tough decisions."
The cost of a low dollar
- Exchange rate for both U.S. Dollar And Euro
- January 19, 2015, CDN Dollar was $0.838 US or 0.722 Euro
- January 19, 2016, CDN Dollar was $0.685 US or 0.629 Euro
- Gas for Olympians raining in Florida
- January 19, 2015, $49.90 CDN. January 19, 2016, $54.49 CDN
- January 19, 2015, gas was $2.07 per gallon in Florida
- January 19, 2016, gas was $1.85 per gallon in Florida
- Gas prices based on a 2015 Mazda CX-9 using regular gasoline in a 20.1 U.S. gallon tank
- Cost for a burrito lunch for Olympians training in Florida
- January 19, 2015, $8.08 CDN. January 19, 2016, $9.88 CDN.
- Burrito cost at Da Kine Diego's Insane Burrito, Satellite Beach, Florida.
- Room and board for one night in Switzerland for cross country ski athletes.
- January 19, 2015, $339.50 CDN. January 19, 2016, $363.25 CDN
- January 19, 2015 exchange rate with Swiss Franc was 1 CHF to 1.358 CDN
- January 19, 2016 exchange rate with Swiss Franc was 1 CHF to 1.453 CDN
- Hotel rate was the International Ski Federation rate at Hotel Kulm, Davos Switzerland.
- Hotel room per night for amateur golfers during training camp in Phoenix.
- January 19, 2015, $177.91 CDN> January 19, 2016, $217.39 CDN
- Information Sources
- Canadian exchange rate sample dates January 19, 2015 and January 19, 2016
- Sources: Bloomberg. Gas price source from U.S. Energy Information Administration.
- Jason Boychuk/CBC