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FIS GS Changes - online account of FIS-Athelete meeting - Page 5

post #121 of 140

For those of you who don't have access to online Ski Racing magazine, let me copy a letter that David Dodge just send to the FIS. Dave is an engineer and  a respected member of the ski industry and the ski racing community. 

 

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

 

The following letter has been sent to FIS officials and others suggesting that the scientific logic behind the changing of ski regulations for safety reasons is flawed. It was sent by David Dodge and contains considerable research. Ski Racing urges all concerned to read it.
 

To:

FIS President – Gian Franco Kasper
SRS President – Michael Schineis
FIS Alpine Executive Board - Bernhard Russi(SUI), Janez Flere(FIS), Niklas Carlsson(SWE), Herwig Demschar(USA), Reno Fleiss(CRO), Janka Gantnerova(SVK), Janne Leskinnen(FIN), Svein Mundal(NOR), Hans Pum(AUT), Ken Read(CAN), Fabien Saguez(FRA), Reinhard Schmalzl(ITA), Walter Vogel(GER), Toni Vogrinec(SLO)

FIS Legal and Safety Committee - Jose Luis Marco (ARG), Christopher Moore(CAN), Tsvetan Atanasov(BUL), Frits Avis(NED), Sortiris Babatzimopoulos(GRE), Marco Cozzi(ITA), Marco De Robles(SPA), Dean Gosper(AUS), David Howden(NZL), Klara Kaszo(HUN), Jerker Lofgren(SWE), Fransois-Kavier Manteaus(FRA), N.N(ISR), Alex Natt(USA), Naralia Ovchinnikova(RUS), Corinne Schmidhauser(SUI), Franz Steinle(GER), Robert Wallner(AUT), Sean Wilken(GBR), Katarina Zajc (SLO)

CC: Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center - Tone Bere, Tonje Wale Florenes, Trone Krosshaug, Lars Nordsletten, Roald Bahr; University of Salzburg - Erich Muller

The intention of this letter is to bring to the attention of the FIS that a large body of scientific evidence is at odds with the conclusions underlying the 2012-13 equipment regulations and that the studies used to develop the new 2012-13 equipment regulations do not constitute scientific proof.

The new skis were “scientifically proven to enhance athlete safety and reduce risk of injury,” F.I.S. said in a statement. “The meeting participants jointly agreed that the goal of the entire equipment review process is to only implement new rules that are scientifically proven to enhance athlete safety and reduce risk of injury” says an August 24th 2011 FIS press release. The studies referenced as “proof” were well conducted, the conclusions are disputable but not unreasonable and they are an important addition to the scientific body of evidence. However, the science as it exists now is not settled and the studies the FIS used to draw their conclusions certainly do not amount to proof.

I feel it is very probable that the unintended consequences of the FIS decisions will cause more injuries than will be prevented. I feel the FIS should reconsider their actions and take a slower more careful approach to equipment change that does not unnecessarily put at risk the health and safety of thousands of athletes.

The new skis might be safer, but I believe it much more likely they will be more dangerous. It can not be proven one way or the other, but the FIS decision forces thousands of athletes to accept this unknown risk to their health and safety in order to participate in their beloved sport. The ski industry will spend ten’s of millions of dollars developing and producing the new skis. If the FIS’s bet that the skis will be safer is wrong the liability is huge. Can the FIS survive if the new equipment decisions turn out to be wrong? The FIS can not say they were not warned.

I believe that increasing the length and increasing the sidecut radius for competition GS skis from the current 185cm minimum length and 27m minimum sidecut radius to 195cm minimum length and 35m minimum sidecut radius will have the following effects:

Non-linear control response – unstable leg geometry.
Higher probability of Phantom Foot ACL injury.

Non-linear control response

The Salzburg study shows that loads on the skier are reduced on longer, larger sidecut skis compared to the current 185cm, 27m sidecut skis. Their tests assume the load reduction is due to the ski differences but I believe it is more likely due to the fact that the comparison was made between a ski that was very familiar to the testers and several that were unfamiliar. I argue that the testers would have generated lower loads on any ski they were not familiar with and the ski design differences did not play a significant roll in reducing the measured loads. Athletes will find ways to use 100% of their strength no matter the equipment. This is what athletes do.

The geometric relationship between sidecut radius, edge angle and turning radius is well known to all ski designers. The theory shows that a 35m ski will have the same turning radius as a 27m ski if the ski is tipped on edge approximately 7 degrees more in a typical WC GS turn. The edge angle must be increased relative to the skiers COM (center of mass). In other words to ski the same line at the same speed the skier‘s COM must be in the same place, but the ski must be edged 7 degrees more. Thus more knee angulation. Athletes will discover that more knee angulation will allow them to ski the same line at the same speed as they are accustomed to skiing on their 27m sidecut skis vs. 35m sidecut skis. More knee angulation will cause an unstable leg geometry leading to uncontrollable, non-linear, generation of loads.

A typical WC GS skier on current skis will angulate in such a way that a line from the inside edge of their outside ski through the center of their knee will fall slightly outside their COM. This leg geometry is stable as a sudden increase in load will cause the edge angle to be reduced and the load to be reduced during the abrupt transition giving the athlete time to react appropriately.

The line from the ski edge through the knee of a skier using 7 degrees more knee angulation will fall well inside of the COM. This leg geometry is unstable as a sudden increase in load will cause an increase in the edge angle as the knee collapses inward leading to additional loading, leading to additional knee angulation, more loading, and so on until the skier can react. By the time the skier reacts this load generation can cause serious injury and/or loss of control. This is a non-linear reaction to natural control input and is to be avoided at all costs. Aggravating this problem is the likelihood that more knee angulation will make it more difficult for the inside ski to track parallel with the outside ski since adding more knee angulation on the inside leg is very difficult. This may encourage the skier to transfer weight from the inside ski to outside ski thus increasing the load on the now more vulnerable outside knee.

A supporting fact is that many of the best WC skiers choose skis with larger sidecut radii than the allowed minimum 27m and 23m for men and women respectively. For example Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn use 29m and 27m sidecut radii, respectively. It is reasonable to assume that Ted and Lindsey prefer these skis because they encourage postures that are stable, strong and safe. A less accomplished or weaker skier would need more sidecut to achieve the same postures. Too much sidecut for the skier’s ability and strength causes the line of force to fall too far outside the COM. Too little sidecut for the skier’s ability and strength cause the line of force to fall too far inside the COM. Both are undesirable, especially the latter.

The well known geometric relationship between sidecut radius, edge angle and turning radius shows that a 35m ski will fit the FIS description of a ski that is “too aggressive”. Of course it would take some training time on these 35m skis for the athletes to learn that they can ski faster using more knee angulation so it is unlikely to show up in short term tests.

Skiers should be allowed and encouraged to choose skis with sidecut radii that promote the most stable, strongest and safest postures. Coaching guides should be developed to help athletes achieve better postures through a better understanding of the relationship between ski design variables and skier postures.

The geometric relationships described above are well known and understood. The implications can not be responsibly dismissed or ignored.

Higher probability of Phantom Foot ACL injury

The Slip-Catch injury mechanism is identified in the Oslo3 study as the predominant cause of knee injuries on World Cup athletes. It is in my opinion a combination of the well known Phantom Foot and BIAD mechanisms. A review of the video and pictures included with the Oslo studies show a loss of edge grip on the downhill (outside) ski followed by a transfer of weight to the inside (uphill) ski. Prior to the loss of grip the skier’s center of mass (COM) was balanced between the skier’s feet. The sudden loss of grip on the outside ski caused an out-of-balance situation with the center of pressure suddenly moving uphill and forward causing the skier to start falling downhill and backwards. This backward rotation combined with the downhill rotation produces a precessional rotation on the third vertical axis that rotates the skiers mass away from the hill. Of course all these rotations are undesirable and the skier responds by retracting his uphill ski to reduce the forces throwing him out of balance. This allows the downhill ski to reengage. In order to arrest the unwanted rotations the skier naturally pressures the tail of the ski to correct the backwards and downhill rotation, but this creates an uphill rotation acting against the precessional downhill rotation of the skier’s COM (Center of Mass) causing the skier’s upper body to twist downhill, producing an internal-valgus rotation of the knee joint.

The skier is now in a position universally recognized as the final stage before a Phantom Foot ACL rupture except that his leg is relatively straight. Please note the ski sidecut had nothing to do with this scenario. All that is needed is a specific set of out of balance rotations and a lever extending backwards from the foot.

If the ski has less grip in the tail the skier will continue to fall backwards; the ski will skid and continue to rotate uphill due to the slope of the snow surface relative to the skier’s COM. If the skier fights these rotations with sufficient vigor he will most probably rupture the ACL on the downhill knee in a classic Phantom Foot posture. If he gives up the recovery attempt, pulls his body into a safer posture and lets the fall progress naturally he will almost certainly avoid an ACL injury. No WC racer is likely to do this without extensive training on how to avoid the Phantom Foot trap. Ettlinger et al5 have shown that such training can dramatically reduce the likelihood of Phantom Foot ACL injuries.

If the ski has aggressive grip in the tail the skier may be able to reverse the backward and downhill fall, re-center his for-aft balance, quickly enough that he is able to reengage the uphill ski in a way that arrests the downhill rotation without resorting to twisting his upper body in a way that applies the injury producing valgus-internal rotation of the downhill knee.

Supporting the above analysis is a large (34 year, 6,780,940 skier day) epidemiological injury study by Ettlinger et al4 showing that the knee injury rate has increased steadily from 1972 until approximately 1992-1993 unabated by all the equipment developments during that time period. Since 1992-1993 the trend has reversed. Shorter, shaped skis became popular in the 1992 -1993 time frame. Superior edge grip at the tail, stronger self steering effect and the shorter length are the differentiating features of these skis compared to the older skis they replaced. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that one or more of these features lead to the reduced knee injury rate.

It is clear that a less aggressive ski will reduce the forces that appear to contribute directly to the injury in the Slip-Catch scenario. However a less aggressive ski limits the skier’s ability to arrest the rotations that lead to Phantom Foot type injuries.

Equipment related solutions to the above scenarios are not very well understood, but my opinion that a longer ski with less sidecut will increase Phantom Foot injuries is reasonable. The implications can not be responsibly dismissed or ignored without further investigations.

Conclusion

I believe the FIS is recklessly endangering thousands of athletes participating in their sanctioned events by irresponsibly ignoring or dismissing large bodies of scientific evidence, the opinions of many experts and the gut instincts of the vast majority of coaches and athletes. I believe that the FIS is forcing the industry to spend ten’s of millions of dollars to develop and manufacture skis that may turn out to be too dangerous to use.

There are legal and moral consequences to the new equipment rules. The rushed imposition of the new rules should be carefully reconsidered.

Sincerely,

David J. Dodge, BSME

1. Bere, Mechanism of ACL Injury in Skiers: Letter to the Editor, The American Journal of Sports Medicine
2. FIS ISS 2006-2011 SAFETY IN ALPINE SKI RACING
3. Bere, Mechanisms of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in World Cup Alpine Skiing, The American Journal of Sports Medicine
4. Ettlinger CF, Johnson RJ, Shealy JE, The Prevention of Knee and Lower Leg Injuries Among Elite Alpine Skiers and Competitors.
5. Ettlinger CF, Johnson RJ, Shealy JE. A method to help reduce the risk of serious knee sprains incurred in alpine skiing. Am J Sports Med.
1995;23:531-537.

Appendix:

A discussion of biased assumptions.The quotes below represent some of the assumptions that are the foundation on which FIS built its “proof” that the new equipment rules will reduce injuries.

“In this out-of-balance position, it is reasonable to believe that carving skis may catch the edge more easily than older skis”.1
“Problems with current equipment in terms of safety according to expert opinions:
Equipment is too aggressive
Equipment is too direct in force transmission
Equipment has too strong self steering behavior
Equipment is difficult to control
Equipment is difficult to get from the edge
Equipment allows too high edge angles”.2  
“This loading pattern is related to the carving ski’s self-steering effect”.3
“With aggressively carving skis and aggressive snow conditions, large forces are generated when the inside edge catches the snow surface”. 3

A set of less biased assumptions could be:

Without edge grip control is impossible – more control is good.
Without a self-steering effect control is impossible – more control is better.
Athletes will use the tail of the ski whether the ski has a large radius or a short radius - without a tail balance is impossible.
The athlete will find ways to use 100% of their strength to prevent a fall – this is what athletes do.
A predictable ski is a safe ski – the skier has control of all forces.
 
A more reasonable set of conclusions might be:

Safer skis should discourage skiers from taking body positions known to lead to injury.

Safer skis should have linear responses to control inputs

Aggressive skis = Skis that are too sensitive and/or have non-linear responses to control inputs.
 

post #122 of 140

Hi skiracer55, thanks so much for posting that article.

 

Forgive me for asking, but for those of us who are not power-readers, could you post the cliffs?  (I skimmed it, but didn't read the whole thing).

 

 

Do you think this letter will carry any weight?

post #123 of 140

Thanks SkiRacer, very interesting reading. Let's hope it will at least make FIS rethink the proposed changes.

post #124 of 140

I need to digest it myself, but I will give you the Cliff's notes shortly. Do I think this letter will carry any weight...hard to say, the FIS has basically stonewalled the issue so far.  However:

 

- As opposed to Ted Ligety's extremely well thought out postings, which were not specifically directed to the FIS, Dave Dodge's thoughts are in a letter to the FIS, all members identified by name. If they refuse to respond, IMHO, they're going to look even lamer than they already do. 

 

- Second, while Johan Elias, of Head, said he didn't think the recommended changes would make GS any safer, and a number of people have called into question the U of Salzburg's questionable "scientific proof", Dodge is the first one to state in empirical terms what Ligety referred to, which is that the proposed changes are actually likely to make GS more dangerous. I think he made a straightforward, conscientious, and much needed statement to the FIS when he said "There are legal and moral consequences to the new equipment rules. The rushed imposition of the new rules should be carefully reconsidered."  Legal and moral consequences.  In other words, FIS, if you go ahead with this stuff, and the racers go along with it, and what results is an even bigger trail of broken bodies, some of us are going to hold you, the FIS, responsible.  The FIS, collectively, is a bunch of old farts, non-hackers, and four star clowns, but a bunch of them are also lawyers, and they're going to have to take that statement seriously. 

Hard to say how, exactly, this will all play out.  But I'm encouraged. The racers were basically standing alone up until now, and I think Dodge has done them and the sport of ski racing a great, great service.  Thank you, David Doge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

Hi skiracer55, thanks so much for posting that article.

 

Forgive me for asking, but for those of us who are not power-readers, could you post the cliffs?  (I skimmed it, but didn't read the whole thing).

 

 

Do you think this letter will carry any weight?



 

post #125 of 140


I think they have to respond, see my response to VitaminSki.  I have my own stuff going on, including telling Audi that I picked a Subaru for my 2012 ski car versus Audi largely on the basis of Audi's non-reaction to the FIS's untenable position...in America, Audi, we vote often and vigorously, and we also vote with our wallets...

 

mad.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by madMads View Post

Thanks SkiRacer, very interesting reading. Let's hope it will at least make FIS rethink the proposed changes.



 

post #126 of 140

The one thing I don't understand is Dave's entire argument seems to be based around the "The theory shows that a 35m ski will have the same turning radius as a 27m ski if the ski is tipped on edge approximately 7 degrees more in a typical WC GS turn. The edge angle must be increased relative to the skiers COM (center of mass). In other words to ski the same line at the same speed the skier‘s COM must be in the same place, but the ski must be edged 7 degrees more. Thus more knee angulation."

 

why can't the edge angle be achieved with hip angulation? He is basing everything around the knee being less stable due to this increase in knee angle, but it's not the only way to get a ski on edge.

 

Could someone simply take a look at the rate of knee injuries prior to 'modern skis' vs post 'modern skis'... both sides are taking their gut instinct and, frankly, making their observations fit their preconceived notion of what outcome they expect. None of this is 'science'.

post #127 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

 

why can't the edge angle be achieved with hip angulation?



More hip angulation does not keep the COM in the same place relative to the ski.     His starting assumption is COM in the same place.

post #128 of 140

but why does the COM have to remain in the exact same spot? It doesn't. There is absolutely no reason for the COM to stay in the exact same position... unless you want to talk about an unstable knee position. He has an obvious conclusion he wants, so SURPRISE, the parameters he chose fit that. They do not have to. You can create the new edge angle (or a slightly different one, with a slightly different COM position) with the same knee angulation and get the same turn radius, he just doesn't want to use that equation.

 

... or maybe I'm wrong, but I'm seeing opinion>theory>conclusion without any real science.

post #129 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

but why does the COM have to remain in the exact same spot? It doesn't. There is absolutely no reason for the COM to stay in the exact same position...



I'm not 100% certain he sees that.       He may be working with a mental model that puts the athlete's shoulder at the gate so that the along-snow side of the enclosed area is, in fact, fixed.

 

I would have respected the analysis more if he'd pointed out that greater hip angulation requires greater rate of angulation change and, at some athlete-dependent agility limit, there will be compensation at the knee just to speed things up.

post #130 of 140

I checked his calculations and mechanics and he's exactly right. The edge angle MUST be increased relative to the COM due to basic physics. You can derive an equation that will determine where the COM MUST BE, no more and no less, (unless you want to fall or something) in a turn. This is solely a function of the velocity and the turn radius. You MUST make up the difference between the ski turn radii with knee angulation. Hip angulation is great, but its not biomechanically possible to use it to create a greater ski angle than would normally be generated based on the basic dynamics.

post #131 of 140

He's still coming to a conclusion of what he thinks will happen (higher knee angulation + slip/catch) will cause more injuries vs current gear. This does make sense... but so (as he freely admits) does the idea that longer skis with longer TR's will reduce loads on the skier.

 

Quote:

"The studies referenced as “proof” were well conducted, the conclusions are disputable but not unreasonable and they are an important addition to the scientific body of evidence. However, the science as it exists now is not settled and the studies the FIS used to draw their conclusions certainly do not amount to proof."

 

where is his proof?

 

post #132 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjp5 View Post

I checked his calculations and mechanics and he's exactly right. The edge angle MUST be increased relative to the COM due to basic physics. You can derive an equation that will determine where the COM MUST BE, no more and no less, (unless you want to fall or something) in a turn. This is solely a function of the velocity and the turn radius. You MUST make up the difference between the ski turn radii with knee angulation. Hip angulation is great, but its not biomechanically possible to use it to create a greater ski angle than would normally be generated based on the basic dynamics.


I've watched enough ski racing to know that Didier Cuche and Ted Ligety use different methods of getting their skis around a GS gate, physics be damned. Their knees are not in identical locations at any point in time. Sounds nice to say "... due to basic physics", but your physics are a bit too basic if you aren't recognizing different physiques and ski techniques will put the athlete in different body positions no matter what the gear is.

 

post #133 of 140

First, the WC guys are already getting huge angles with the current skis. Yep, there's inherently no reason why more hip angulation wouldn't work, I think, and this is just my interpretation, that the hip is already so close to the snow that the only way to get 7 degrees more is to do it with the knee.  There are no real stats from the old days. That's part of the problem with this whole discussion.  There was some anecdotal evidence about knee injuries in the old days increasing at one point because...but I forget what the "because" was.  If I dig it up, I'll pass it along. 

 

Yep, it sounds like gut instinct, but, just as a non-scientist, Dodge's reasoning makes more sense to me. Note that what he's saying is that we don't have enough evidence, yet, to make such a drastic change in GS ski regs, more study is needed.  I think he's right. Regardless of which side is right (and maybe neither is...maybe there's another answer), it's such a drastic change for the World Cuppers that my take is that they'll be making all kinds of unnatural moves to go fast...which is likely to cause more injuries. Again, it's my take that the FIS isn't, as Bode notes, fully engaged in this controversy because they feel they've made the right decision and it's behind them. I'm assuming that the way they'll "validate" their findings (which they haven't, so far) is to see what happens on next year's WC. Regardless of who is right, wrong, or indifferent in the details of the discussion, what if, as Dodge suspects, and so do I, a lot more knee injuries in GS next year? If that happens, I'd say that the athletes can pretty much assume that they've been used as crash test dummies to show that the FIS was wrong. 

 

Then what? You have to remember, the FIS not only doesn't have a great track record of coming up with the empirical data to support their regs, they've changed them a bunch of times! Based on what, nobody exactly knows.  The FIS sidecut regs for GS used to be 21M...then the FIS changed it to 25...then, the next year, they changed it to 27. Which time were they right, if any? All of which was pretty laughable, because the racers were already on 28M skis. Remember, the original position the FIS took for the new regs was 195 cm, 40 meters...which is a greater sidecut than most SG skis for guys on the WC! And to my knowledge, they never said what they were going to do about course sets...was GS about to become a mini-Super G?  If you're interested in safety, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Last summer, when the racers and manufacturers bitched about the new GS regs, the FIS went "Okay...so we'll compromise on 35M." Huh? They were either right the first time, right the second time, or both numbers were wrong...but that event pretty much told me that the FIS was just making it up as it went along, which resulted, my view, in that lame PowerPoint presentation at Soelden.

 

Yes, there appears to be a knee injury problem in GS...and also in downhill.  My coach knows some of the US coaches and academics involved in the discussion, and apparently SL and Super G aren't currently as prone to knee injuries.  So what did the FIS do to DH regs?  One thing, apparently, is they allowed DH boards to be narrower, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, given the minimum width regs the FIS imposed on SL skis a few years back. Additionally, one of the additional regs, from what I gather, is reducing the standheight, yet again. There was a response from the manufacturers last summer, and I'll dig it up, where they essentially said that changing the plates to meet the new FIS regs would be less safe because there would be a greater chance of the binding or plate pulling out of the ski. 

 

So, you know, we'll see. But I hate to see a bunch of young guys on the WC pay with their knees and their futures for what Dodge essentially called a hastily and poorly made decision. There are additional considerations, obviously, beyond the WC.  As of a couple of months ago, the FIS didn't have a plan for how this was all supposed to filter down, especially to junior racing. I saw a stat somewhere that said that the potential "retooling costs" for junior racing in the US alone could be 10 to 15 million dollars next year. That alone is likely to shut down a lot of future ski racing careers, especially in this economy.  If I were a parent whose kids grew up on the current sidecuts and lengths, I'd be very unlikely to invest another cent in their ski racing careers...especially if I wasn't convinced that these changes would make life on the slopes any safer for my kids.  So we'll see how this plays out, but my prediction, which I made in this thread some time ago, is that the gloves are now off, and it's going to get ugly before it gets better...

 

frown.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post

The one thing I don't understand is Dave's entire argument seems to be based around the "The theory shows that a 35m ski will have the same turning radius as a 27m ski if the ski is tipped on edge approximately 7 degrees more in a typical WC GS turn. The edge angle must be increased relative to the skiers COM (center of mass). In other words to ski the same line at the same speed the skier‘s COM must be in the same place, but the ski must be edged 7 degrees more. Thus more knee angulation."

 

why can't the edge angle be achieved with hip angulation? He is basing everything around the knee being less stable due to this increase in knee angle, but it's not the only way to get a ski on edge.

 

Could someone simply take a look at the rate of knee injuries prior to 'modern skis' vs post 'modern skis'... both sides are taking their gut instinct and, frankly, making their observations fit their preconceived notion of what outcome they expect. None of this is 'science'.



 

post #134 of 140

Newest wrinkle in the GS ski saga:  Ted Ligety finds he is faster on his new HEAD skis: "This week I have been testing the second generation of Head 35m skis, in Hinterreit, and (…drumroll…) I am faster! Significantly faster! HA! Ironic!? (Perhaps even more ironic is the word on the hill is the company behind the rule changes; Atomic, is struggling to make he new skis work)."  

 
He goes on to say: "As to how the new skis felt; they for sure do not turn as easy, they lock onto the edge hard, are slightly smoother through small bumps, take more muscling and twisting of the ski (manual pressure as opposed to body position), recoveries are slower, there is less energy out of the turn and are far more tiring to ski on. It will be interesting to see where the injury numbers go, especially since there haven’t been any in GS this year."
 
All this taken from his blog entry called 35 meters of irony: http://www.tedligety.com/
 
 
Next year's race at Solden is looking more and more interesting.
post #135 of 140

What he says is that they're faster for him, with a whole lot more work involved.  As long as I don't have to ski on them, I'm less concerned. The FIS is probably going to get it's way.  However, remember that the issue is safety, not whether or not the gear is faster, and note the following from a letter I sent to Ski Racing:
 

"David Dodge, creator of the Dodge carbon fiber boot and ski racing cognoscenti, sends a letter (subsequently published in Ski Racing) to the FIS and SRS President Michael Schineis, questioning the FIS's stance on the new GS ski regulations. Dodge, who describes two situations in which the new equipment might lead to an increase in injuries, states "I believe the FIS is recklessly endangering thousands of athletes participating in their sanctioned events by irresponsibly ignoring or dismissing large bodies of scientific evidence, the opinions of many experts and the gut instincts of the vast majority of coaches and athletes."

 

There...that seems pretty straightforward. What sayest thou, FIS? The FIS, predictably, takes the Fifth. Let's see...the FIS fined Didier Cuche for some unkind comments he made via social media...can we fine the FIS for refusing to tweet, or twitter, or otherwise toot a response to David Dodge?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking4years View Post

Newest wrinkle in the GS ski saga:  Ted Ligety finds he is faster on his new HEAD skis: "This week I have been testing the second generation of Head 35m skis, in Hinterreit, and (…drumroll…) I am faster! Significantly faster! HA! Ironic!? (Perhaps even more ironic is the word on the hill is the company behind the rule changes; Atomic, is struggling to make he new skis work)."  

 
He goes on to say: "As to how the new skis felt; they for sure do not turn as easy, they lock onto the edge hard, are slightly smoother through small bumps, take more muscling and twisting of the ski (manual pressure as opposed to body position), recoveries are slower, there is less energy out of the turn and are far more tiring to ski on. It will be interesting to see where the injury numbers go, especially since there haven’t been any in GS this year."
 
All this taken from his blog entry called 35 meters of irony: http://www.tedligety.com/
 
 
Next year's race at Solden is looking more and more interesting.


 

post #136 of 140
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

What do you guys think about my comment that maybe what is really driving the FIS is the desire for more traditional course sets in the old venues so times can be compared to past great skiers.

Is a new set of straight skis with modern boots any better than the old school stuff from the era just before straight skis?

Historical continuity could be one consideration.

I sure hope it isn't something like auto racing where top speeds are really limited to what the insurance companies will permit.

In motorsports, whenever the cars start to get seriously over 200 mph the rules are changed to slow them down or lose insurance.


This one actually has some merit based in some bit of logic. Cycling has limitations on geometry, and the NHL has the whole to do over goalie pad sizing all for the sake of some mild sense of historic continuity. Seems the real safety issues are with hill prep and course set, but that's not where the $$$ is.  It IS funny how western hemisphere centric this thread is. The ski world is big and we're but one part, but not the largest in terms of $$$. But we are a  really fun part, that's for sure! smile.gif

 

post #137 of 140

There's a thread on skiers.pro.com re Insufficient FIS Equipment Studies, which was the topic of David Dodge's letter to the FIS.  In the comments section on this site, Dodge said "What will the FIS do if all the the above good points (and may other published points) turn out to be true? Or maybe a better question is what will done to the FIS if they turn out to be wrong?"

 

My comment was "I hate to be cynical, but my guess is, if the FIS is wrong, and we all suspect they are, nobody’s going to do anything to the FIS. They’re either above the law or they are the law, take your pick. They made up all this nonsense about how the new regs were going to make GS safer, if it doesn’t turn out that way, they’ll just make up another story, and probably change the regulations again. I had this discussion with a tech rep recently, who knows the workings of the WC very well, and what he essentially said was 'The FIS is nothing but politics. The FIS doesn’t give a tinker’s damn about the racers.'

 

So even if someone, an individual or an organization, were to square off on the FIS if injuries in GS do go up, I doubt it would matter. The last time someone suing the FIS for negligence came up was back when Uli Maier got killed. What did the FIS do? Made all racers sign a waiver absolving the FIS of all responsibility for anything that went wrong. That waiver is still around. I just foreran a weekend’s worth of FIS GSs, and even though I had already signed race program and area waivers, I had to sign an additional FIS waiver. I don’t think the FIS is untouchable, but they’ve  sure got a lot of barriers set up to protect them. Add to this the fact that everyone thinks the FIS is incompetent but (1) No one is truly unified against the FIS…not the racers, not the manufacturers, and certainly not the national teams and (2) Nobody is willing to do anything to change the status quo, like boycotting a race or the entire WC. The FIS has apparently got everyone so thoroughly brainwashed and intimidated that I don’t see any challenge to the FIS’s authority coming any time soon…"

 

That's my  current thinking.  The FIS doesn't answer to anyone.  Or, to put it more accurately, the FIS doesn't have to answer to anyone, like a board of directors in a corporation.  The FIS may choose to favor someone, as was apparently the case in favoring Amer (Atomic/Salomon) re the change in the GS regs under the guise of racer safety.   The FIS didn't, to my knowledge, respond to Dodge's letter in Ski Racing.  And why should they? Nobody's forcing them to come up with a response, so they just take the Fifth.

 

I think Ted did himself and the other racers a big, big disservice in revealing how his testing of Head's 35M GS skis was going. What he described may all be true, but given everything he said about how this was going to ruin the sport, this post of Ted's reveals that the manufacturers and the racers have largely thrown in the towel.  Yep, it is ironic that Atomic, who evidently pushed this initiative through, is apparently struggling with the 35M GS ski.  Which I guess just goes to show you need to be careful what you wish for. 

 

So we will see what we will see.  If GS injuries on the WC do not go down, shame on the entire ski racing community, and not just the FIS, for ignoring what Dodge asked for, which was more study because the empirical data to prove the FIS's hypothesis just wasn't there.  The WC will be what it will be, and the FIS will continue to rule the WC.  I just hope the rest of ski racing...including but not limited to junior and Masters racing in this country...doesn't get trashed in the process.

frown.gif

 

post #138 of 140

I think it was very honest of Ligety to reveal what he has discovered about his speed on the new skis, especially given the leadership role he has taken in fighting the changes.  But silence on the matter might have left him open to the accusation that he was only revealing the information that helped his previous arguments.   He still believes these changes are the wrong way to go.  

 

 

 

Quote:
Skiracer55:
I think Ted did himself and the other racers a big, big disservice in revealing how his testing of Head's 35M GS skis was going. What he described may all be true, but given everything he said about how this was going to ruin the sport, this post of Ted's reveals that the manufacturers and the racers have largely thrown in the towel.

Ted was showing integrity in a difficult situation as I believe he has through this whole situation.  It appeared to me an outsider that the racers had "largely thrown in the towel" before Ted made his blog posting.  Skiers Pro had nothing new to say or add for months after its initial statements; they simply retweeted old articles quoting Ted and Bode.  (Maybe Aksel and Cuche too I can't remember.)  US team coaches made public statement asking people to prepare for the changes and offering to get skis down the pipeline to younger skiers, because the changes were going to happen even if people didn't want them.  In that climate Ted is simply sharing honest information.

post #139 of 140

They can cry all they want, bottom line is there will always be scabs, plenty of hungry kids out there ready to fill the spots of the current super stars.   They dont want to ski on the new gear, there will be boat loads of kids who will say I'll do it on a 2x4 with sheet rock screws for bindings if thats what it takes to make me a pro-skier.

 

What they need to do is start a new ski federation.

 

As far as FIS, why take the easy way out, put the pressure on the binding manufacturers, thats what makes the difference, not the skis, no matter what they do tp the geometry of the skis, racers will adapt and find the speed....its like motor-sports, they keep adding restrictors and decreasing engine sizes yet the cars are producing more power than ever and qualifying speeds are way up.   I personally think that skiers should be allowed to ski on any ski they want, even if it means running an SL in GS and vice versa.

post #140 of 140

Yep, that's a good point, and I hadn't seen it that way. Ted's done all the heavy lifting in terms of squaring off against the FIS, and voices like David Dodge's have helped support his position.  Doesn't look like the FIS is paying any attention, however.  Remember that the core issue is that the new GS skis are safer...well, we'll see, won't we?  But regardless of what happens, the FIS isn't likely to be held accountable...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurking4years View Post

I think it was very honest of Ligety to reveal what he has discovered about his speed on the new skis, especially given the leadership role he has taken in fighting the changes.  But silence on the matter might have left him open to the accusation that he was only revealing the information that helped his previous arguments.   He still believes these changes are the wrong way to go.  

 

 

 

Ted was showing integrity in a difficult situation as I believe he has through this whole situation.  It appeared to me an outsider that the racers had "largely thrown in the towel" before Ted made his blog posting.  Skiers Pro had nothing new to say or add for months after its initial statements; they simply retweeted old articles quoting Ted and Bode.  (Maybe Aksel and Cuche too I can't remember.)  US team coaches made public statement asking people to prepare for the changes and offering to get skis down the pipeline to younger skiers, because the changes were going to happen even if people didn't want them.  In that climate Ted is simply sharing honest information.



 

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