Okay, I'm King for a Day. Gunther Hujara and all you other non-hackers, sit down and shut up and I'm going to tell you how to make the WC safer and more exciting, too:
- First, the equipment is, as Bode wants, unrestricted. Fine, that means the men can race GS on a 165 SL ski...but nobody's going to do that, because it would be really unsafe and not competitive. The current GS specs are minimum 185 cm. in length, 27 M sidecut. Most of the guys are using a 187 or 188, 27 M sidecut. If it became unrestricted, maybe a few of them would go back to a 25M sidecut ski, but I'm sure it would be a 187 or 188. The racers are now used to what they're on, and they're going to make slow, incremental changes, if any.
Unrestricted also means no more standheight rules, and so forth. I'm with Bode in saying that if you take the gloves off the manufacturers, you're going to have some incredible innovation in all areas of hardgoods, not just skis, and those advances are going to percolate down to the mass market, and sell new skis for the manufacturers. Does "unrestricted" mean "less safe"? I doubt it. There may be periods of a few more injuries, but the FIS acts like they're the only ones who have a bead on ski racing safety. If for no other reason than a blown knee means a lost season, with the race wins and $$$ that entails, athletes aren't looking to get hurt. And manufacturers are looking to win the manufacturer's championship, not to acquire a reputation for building product that takes out their best athletes.
- Let's take a serious look at WC downhill. The last bump at the Hahnenkamm, IMHO, is nothing more than an opportunity for the fans to see some Demolition Derby on skis. Scott McCartney's career ended on that bump, and I think it's going to be some time, if ever, before Dani Albrecht recovers from his horrifying crash on the same bump. I doubt he'll ever be the same skier again. So you wanna continue to have the Hahnemkamm, shave that bump down flat. We're trying to test racers, not kill them.
I'll go one step further and just say to hell with it. Let's get rid of the Lauberhorn, the Hahnenkamm, Val Gardena, and Bormio. Yep, I love the Lauberhorn too, and it is a classic. But no way should a racer being getting 185 feet of air in a blind jump between two rock outcroppings. No way should a racer be skiing through a stone tunnel under a cog railway. No way should a racer be hitting speeds of 95 mph on what's basically a goat path in the middle of the course. And especially no way should a racer be subjected to the last left hand turn and free fall into a dangerous finish area...where a kid from the Austrian team got killed not so many years ago. Not injured, killed, dead.
Beaver Creek is a good venue. Sure, people get busted up there, like Svindal. But, IMHO, it's a whole lot more consistent and well protected a track with plenty of challenge but not as much chance of a really bad accident. Okay, you don't like that, let's get Bernhard Russi to go find some new areas and design some courses that challenge the racer but keep the speeds lower or do whatever it takes to make DH safe and challenging. He's a really smart guy, I'm sure he can figure it out.
- Let's cut out a bunch of races. There are way too many races, and by mid season, a lot of racers are so exhausted by not just the racing but the travel, dryland, training, and so forth, that they're much more subject to injury. Same problem on the ATP tennis circuit, nobody's done anything about it...but the penalties there aren't as extreme as in ski racing. We're going down to half the number of WC races. You don't like it? Go do skier cross.
- No more races at places with low altitudes and unreliable snow, like Garmisch. At last year's World Championships, the race venues varied from pond ice one day to slush cones the next. Very, very dangerous stuff. Colorado has the altitude to deliver consist race arena snow, so do the Euro resorts with high elevations like Val D'Isere and many of the Swiss resorts.
- No more national teams. A few years ago, somebody said that ski racing ought to follow the F1 model of factory teams. It's almost happened in ski racing, but we still have the FIS and the National teams jerking the athletes around per Primoz's last post. Yep, we'll have to change the funding model somewhat, but the manufacturers are already footing a considerable part of the bill, this model is going to give them better revenue and profit possibilities, and so I'll bet the manufacturers are willing to chip in a few more bucks. Same thing for the host areas. They're already footing a big bill. Well, I just made it smaller, because I'm going to say that I'm only going to allow one FIS official on site. That's all I need to have somebody to check that the B netting is sufficient (why wouldn't it be?), that the coaches set the courses per the event rules (why wouldn't they), and that the timing people know what's going on (they're from Tag Heuer, why wouldn't they)? And areas, we're going to straighten out this TV mess and make it attractive for sponsors, you included, to feature your products at a WC venue.
Sound good enough? Any votes for skiracer55 for FIS President?