Can't disagree with your thought process, but I think the way this is going to play out is that we are all, in fact, going to lose. Here's why:
- The FIS decides to mandate 40 meter sidecuts for GS, compromises on 35 meters. I don't see any improvement. Why did the FIS make this decision? Allegedy for safety reasons. However...see Ted's thoughts on the issue on Ski Racing's website. As he points out, since 27 meter sidecuts have been enacted, there have been only 3 major injuries in WC GS, and it's hard to make a case that any of those was due to the ski's sidecut. "Okay," we all say. "Another FIS rule, there have been tons of them, maybe we'll all get through it." Wrong again. If you think otherwise, go look at the footage of Warner Nickerson on a pair of 40 meter sidecut GS skis.
So why, really, did the FIS come up with this ruling? Easy...they need to protect their phony baloney jobs. What does the FIS do, anyway? Lemme think...they keep up the FIS points lists! Uh huh...an orangutan could do that...what else? Um...they organize the WC schedule! A chimpanzee could do that. Lemme see...Beaver Creek, Val D'Isere, coming up soon is the Lauberhorn and Hahnenkamm, been that way since God was in short pants, courses are all homologated...even though the racers go under a tunnel in the Lauberhorn and get up to 98 mph in the middle...how's that for safety, FIS? So the only way the FIS can justify doing whatever it is they are supposed to be doing is by incessantly micromanaging the course and equipment rules.
So please, let's stop pretending that 35 meter sidecut radiuses make any sense, or that the FIS had any kind of reasonable rationale for coming up with this mandate. The real question is...what happens next? To me, here's the most likely scenario:
- The athletes are petitioning against it, the equipment manufacturers are protesting it...but so far, to my knowledge, sponsors like Audi and Milka aren't saying much. I think they'll wait to see how 2012-2013 goes, then act accordingly. That's a real critical time for everyone involved with ski racing, because guess what happens in Feburary 2014? That's right, the Winter Olympics, first time ever in Sochi, Russia. The Olympics are about the only time that ski racing gets a wide TV viewership, and the sponsorship/ad money that entails. Especially since ski racing is now competing with skier cross, boarder cross, half pipe, aerials, and all of that lame happy jive, I think all you need is for Men's GS to show up as joke event at the Olympics, and you'll see the effective end of high level ski racing as we know it.
Do I think this is the way it will play out. Absolutely. The FIS isn't going to back down. The national organizations aren't saying a word, as usual. The 2011-2012 season is about to start, and the new regs do not apply...so everybody will forget about this issue until about May of next year. Then, more on snow testing, more horrible results...more racer protests...no change from the FIS. You'll know how things are going to pan out at Solden 2013 where one of several things will happen:
- The racers will knuckle under to the FIS, attempt to ski on 35-meter sidecut skis...the race will be a joke, and ski racing will start washing down the drain. That's the most likely outcome, in my estimation.
- The racers will show up with 27 meter sidecut skis and face down the FIS. Most unlikely possibility in my estimation? Why? Because the national organizations, especially the USSA, just bend over, grab their ankles, and say "Yes, boss" to whatever the FIS dictates. Here, let me put a microphone in front of Bill Marolt..."Bill, what do you think of the new FIS equipment regulations?" "Well, they're the FIS, and they make the rules, so if you want to represent the US, you'll ski on 35 meter sidecut GS skis."
- Racers will say "To hell with this," and go do something else, whether it's racing on a separate circuit or skier cross or doing TV commentary. Some "racers" show up at Soelden, and some guy with 60 FIS points wins the race. This is possibility #2, in my mind.
Notice that I don't include, as a possibility, "Everyone kisses and makes up, the racers show up at Soelden on 35 meter sidecut skis, and a fine time is had by all." I don't think any of us is naive enough to fall for that one.
So if I'm right, and Bad Things are in store for WC racing...what does that mean for the rest of us? Masters racers, college racers, juniors, and so forth. Well, Bad Things in my estimation. Somebody mentioned all of us just training and racing SL, because the FIS isn't going to change that. Are you sure? That's today's news, I wouldn't bet you a box of donuts that that's the way it'll turn out in the future. So, no, I don't see good things happening, and I also don't see that all of the interested parties in ski racing ought to attempt to "work" with this FIS any further. The FIS has abdicated its responsibility, pure and simple. My belief is that this issue is going to cost us ski racing...as we know it...in the short term. But in the near to long term, something better is going to arise out of the ashes...
Originally Posted by NE Racer
'my point in bringing this all up is that pitting the world against the FIS is not solution. if the athletes push too hard we all lose, if the suppliers push too hard we all lose, if the federations push too hard we all lose. as i stated earlier we have a sick and broken system, however ski racing is in a very fragile position worldwide. it is going to take some very smart businessmen and politicians to calmly steer the ship onto a better course.'
Jim- I couldn't help but agree with the majority of your thoughts here. Your quote above is accurate, but I believe it leaves one part out. The FIS is pushing too hard, and not taking into consideration their own athletes. The FIS needs to consider the input of those who fund their organization. I've paid my FIS dues over the years. Shouldn't the athletes and coaches have a say, too? I wouldn't advocate for a wholesale boycott or lockout, but there needs to be better communication. What the FIS is doing now is no different than if the athletes announced that they would be back on 21 meter skis as of 2013 as they have reviewed Dodge's database and decided from that information that deeper sidecuts were safer. Communication goes a long way.
I'm also very skeptical about research that isn't fit to be published or shared. Why not contribute to the body of knowledge? There is a school of thought that to perform quality research, and not publish is is a form of academic dishonesty.