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Downhill national championships

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Why would they hold them now, while half of our best skiers are still in Garmisch for the World Championships? Ridiculous.

post #2 of 3

Good question. Here's my take on it.  A year ago the USSA decided to host the NC for DH at Aspen, while the NC's for the other events were held later in the calendar at Whiteface. They will no longer run a DH at Whiteface, and there have been complaints about the DH taking too much time at Nationals, blah-blah, so they decided to hold the DH at the same time as the last Nor-Am DH. Same deal this year. Saved on travel and expense, etc.


I prefer to see a Nationals held with the entire USST competing, unless they are injured. I really don't like the message that "it's not important" which gets sent when some of the big guns blow it off. Sure, it's a huge thrill when you're a junior and you qualify for your first Nationals, but it's just better when all of the varsity is there. I'm old school. We fund these athletes. They should be there.  Obviously, with the calendar, they couldn't be.


As far as scheduling during Garmisch, one would think they might have moved Aspen it a bit. Still Steven Nyman competed in the DH in Garmisch and he was in Aspen. Travis Ganong was on the start list, but was a DNS. Don't know if he was there. The only other U.S. starter in Garmisch was Bode. He's still competing at the WC's.  Last year, I think the NC DH was held a few days before training started for the WC at Kvitfjell. And going from memory, I think Ganong won. I know that Bode and Ted were not there.


I think part of it speaks to the fact that there are fewer and fewer venues to run DH in the USA. The USSA wants to spread nationals around, both East and West. The only place to run a DH in the East is Sugarloaf, as one example. More venues in the West.


I was pretty shocked to see how small the ladies field was. 29 starters, compared to probably 50 a year ago. In the men's DH, you had a much bigger field, but well over a third had DH points over 90; You even had a couple of first year JII's. not a very experienced group.


It's sadly not getting the focus that it once was. Once a kid decides to give up racing full time to ski in college, the speed skiing really stops, or at least the DH does. Some of the best skiers in the country are skiing almost nothing but SL and GS in the RMISA and EISA {NCAA}.  I'm in the East, and I'm pretty impressed with the tech skiers in the Eastern Cup FIS series, the Eastern NorAms, and the EISA. I only the juniors, with rare exception skiing speed. There are a few guys skiing full time who are skiing speed at a high level, and not in the USST system, but very few. I think there were two Americans in the seed at the NC DH in that category: Chris Frank and Joey Swenson.   I think it's too bad. But as I said, I'm old school.

post #3 of 3

In past years, it has been difficult to pull off the NC DH in late March. Economically it makes sense to run the NC DH with the NAC. DH races are very expensive to run. Also, without a DH, many areas can host National's. With a DH, only a few areas can host this event.

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