EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › WC downhill course VS Olympic downhill course
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

WC downhill course VS Olympic downhill course

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Would anyone know, if there is a difference in WC downhill course and Olympic downhill course; The way Olympic course is set up; is it slower that WC course?

post #2 of 20

the world cup courses have been established for decades. their heirarchy based on speed and difficulty is well known by athletes and fans. an olympic course might only that once be used for world cup level athletes. the established world cup courses are on the best skiing mountains in Europe, whereas some Olympic courses are a compromise location which was picked for organizational reasons and with consideration of the needs of other sports than alpine ski racing. The Hahnenkahm is a WC course and is the fastest, in answer to your question. The fastest course is on the fastest mountain, so the location determines speed, not the setting of the course by a guideline for speed. there are guys here who know this information with more detail than I do, guys involved with racing currently.

post #3 of 20

Well said..........
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

the world cup courses have been established for decades. their heirarchy based on speed and difficulty is well known by athletes and fans. an olympic course might only that once be used for world cup level athletes. the established world cup courses are on the best skiing mountains in Europe, whereas some Olympic courses are a compromise location which was picked for organizational reasons and with consideration of the needs of other sports than alpine ski racing. The Hahnenkahm is a WC course and is the fastest, in answer to your question. The fastest course is on the fastest mountain, so the location determines speed, not the setting of the course by a guideline for speed. there are guys here who know this information with more detail than I do, guys involved with racing currently.

post #4 of 20

At one time I believe that Olympic DH courses were compromised by considering the abilities of traditionally non ski country competitors and of course the lay of the land. If I try to read the FIS book of "Precisions" rulebook I believe in the end there is still a little of interpretation and discretion in the end, general rules of verticals notwithstanding.

post #5 of 20

In the end, generally, the WCup courses are overall more challenging than Olympic courses, by far.

post #6 of 20

After the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, where Leonard Stock was clocked at 92 mph, a change was made which involved adding a few turns to many courses in an effort to slow the racers down a bit. Generally, Olympic courses may not be as difficult or challenging as the premier WC courses, but they are certainly just as fast!

Not every course was changed, but several were. On those that were, speeds have dropped maybe an average of about 10mph.

 

Then you can look at some Olympic courses such as Albertville in '92, where it was so turny, the racers skied on SG skis.....

post #7 of 20

Intersting didn't know any of this regarding Olympic vs WC downhill . Learn something everyday at Epic.

post #8 of 20

If the host is a regular stop on the WC tour, do they use the same course as for WC?

post #9 of 20

around here our race department is in charge of setting courses for several racing organizations that hold races here, Far West Ski Association is one such race association. The WC courses must be set at each mountain by the WC officials every year; whether those officials are employees or officials of the local mountain or come in from outside I don't know.  I think that if an Olympic race is being held at a mountain, they will provide their own (Olympic) officials to set the course, but I don't know this first hand. It involves ruling bodies of ski racing, of which there are several. others here know; mine is a local impression of racing.

post #10 of 20

I assume the courses at Whistler, Sestriere, Lillehammer, Val d'Isere were used in both World Cup and Olympics. Probably some others too. I'm gonna check.

post #11 of 20

Wasn't the Birds of Prey course at BC (now one of the tougher WC courses) originally intended to be used for the Olympics that the voters of Colorado voted down?

post #12 of 20

I'm also thinking that the last few cycles through there's always been a pre-Olympic downhill, eg a World Cup race a year ahead of the games/on same course. For example, in 2001 there was a World Cup downhill scheduled at Snowbasin, though it was canceled for weather reasons.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks Guys, this all looks very interesting.

post #14 of 20

One thing for sure. MUCH easier to win Olympics or World Championships than a Cup race. The fields are far weaker.

post #15 of 20

No so sure about the general consensus here about Olympic vs WC courses.   I seem, to recall the best in the world getting pretty challenged during the Olympics with many DNF's.   Similar but different the Olympic BMX course is much more difficult than the highest level pro BMX courses from the interviews I saw.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post

No so sure about the general consensus here about Olympic vs WC courses.   I seem, to recall the best in the world getting pretty challenged during the Olympics with many DNF's.   Similar but different the Olympic BMX course is much more difficult than the highest level pro BMX courses from the interviews I saw.

Well, there are DNFs in every race. What I said about the ease in Olympics as opposed to World Cup is just that the fields are weaker. The Austrians, for example, can field six or seven or how ever many skiers in a World Cup, all in the top 20 of the rankings. Come Olympics time, they have to shave their team down to four skiers to make way for powerhouses like Algeria and Belgium. Not exactly fair, and weakens the field.

 

What may be true in Olympics and World Championships, though, is that skiers ski harder for the podium, risking a bit more, as there's no advantage in finishing fourth or fifth or whatever. In the World Cup, a fourth place finish is worth, what, 50 points? That's a lot. You finish fourth in every race and you'll probably win the World Cup overall (the biggest prize in skiing, far bigger than Olympic gold).
 

post #17 of 20

Im pretty sure one of the people posting on this has a real good inside tract and knows exactly how it all works.read the responses again and we can play guess the response!!

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

Wasn't the Birds of Prey course at BC (now one of the tougher WC courses) originally intended to be used for the Olympics that the voters of Colorado voted down?


The course you're thinking of is the old Centennial course on the main mountain at BC, which was used in the 1989 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships.

 

From my own study and knowledge of Olympic courses over the years, previous posters are correct that, in many cases, the ski venues are chosen for convenience/location over actual suitability.  Increasingly, the IOC tries to award games to cities that have excellent infrastructure for tourism and transportation - thus the rise of hosts like Calgary, Nagano, Salt Lake City, Albertville, Torino and Vancouver.  In the case of many non-EU host cities, there are very few Olympic skiing venues that saw previous regular World Cup and/or World Championship use (e.g. more than just the pre-Olympic tune-up event).  Only Whistler, Sestriere and Val d'Isere, amongst the recent host cities, are regular World Cup hosts.  But many of the venues were, at best, minor FIS venues before the Games (e.g. Kvitfjell, Patscherkofel), or are new courses constructed and/or homologated for the Games (e.g. Nakiska, Snowbasin, Bjelašnica, Krasnaya Polyana).

 

As to the challenge factor, it's hit-or-miss depending on the facility chosen by the Olympic Organizing Committee (OOC) for the host city.  In the case of Calgary in 1988, the Nakiska Ski Area was built for the Games, not having existed before that point (cost, distance and environmental concerns prevented Lake Louise from getting the skiing events), and the resulting course was moderately challenging compared to traditional World Cup venues, and far more challenging than the 1984 venue of Bjelašnica.  Nakiska was chosen primarily for its convenience factor, as the venue is typically lean in terms of natural snowfall (thus requiring the construction of a then state-of-the-art computerized snowmaking system) and overflowing in terms of wind (remember the number of wind-related delays of the downhills at the 1988 Games).  The courses for the 2014 Games are being custom built, as well.

 

The 2002 speed venues at Snowbasin were designed just for the Games, but the philosophy guiding the FIS by this time was that the course should be a "worthy challenge."  As such, Bernhard Russi designed a very challenging course in the Grizzly DH (men's course), with a lot of speed, off-camber turns, big jumps and compressions to keep racers constantly on their toes.  Most of the better racers who ran the course felt it to be one of the most challenging they'd run, ranking it an equal to Birds of Prey and very close to the Hahnenkamm in terms of technical challenge.  And seeing how racers from less ski-savvy squads handled (or, in most cases, didn't handle) the Grizzly course was humbling.

 

In terms of speed, most of the Olympic courses are on par with World Cup speeds.  The one area where the Olympic courses usually pale in comparison to their World Cup siblings is in terms of steepness, especially on the men's side (thus why it's said that the 1984 course in Bjelašnica was tailor-made for Bill Johnson, whose gliding ability made up for often so-so technical skills).  However, this last bit, as I mentioned before, is becoming less and less the case with each successive Games, and the side-effect of this can be seen in the results: far more perennial World Cup winners are winning Olympic medals in the speed events.

post #19 of 20

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

Wasn't the Birds of Prey course at BC (now one of the tougher WC courses) originally intended to be used for the Olympics that the voters of Colorado voted down?

 

The way I remember it, the site for the Olympic DH that was voted down was on Mt. Sniktau, just a mile or so East of Loveland Ski area, to the South of I-70.  

post #20 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTNSKIS View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post

Wasn't the Birds of Prey course at BC (now one of the tougher WC courses) originally intended to be used for the Olympics that the voters of Colorado voted down?

 

The way I remember it, the site for the Olympic DH that was voted down was on Mt. Sniktau, just a mile or so East of Loveland Ski area, to the South of I-70.  


Actually, you're both correct in a sense:

 

The original bid had the speed skiing events on Mt. Sniktau (you can see the original bid program here), but that location was deemed too environmentally sensitive for construction.  It was then that the then-nascent Beaver Creek development was substituted as a suitable host for the DH events, with Centennial and a second piste being used.  When Coloradans voted down the Games in 1972, this served to slow - but not stop - the development of Beaver Creek.

 

And that wasn't the only venue substitution: the nordic events (XC and jumping), as well as the bobsled/luge tracks, were originally proposed for a site near Evergreen.  Again, when development costs and environmental concerns were raised, these venues were shifted to Steamboat, which already had jumping facilities and could build a bob/luge track at Howelson.  Obviously, nothing transpired from the shift.

 

So what was originally a very compact bid in terms of layout (the farthest one would travel to a venue would be Loveland/Sniktau) became spread out over hundreds of miles, which not only would be financially costly (the original cost estimate was somewhere in the $40 million range, but it ballooned to $152 million or more with all the changes) but also would have required the construction of a large, interstate-class highway to Steamboat.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › WC downhill course VS Olympic downhill course