Nobody knows for sure what's going to happen after next season. This isn't just what I believe, it's also what my local race shop...sells mostly to racers, sells Atomic, Elan, Rossignol, Nordica skis, boots, bindings, has extensive services...also says. Nobody knows, so don't assume anything. There's a number of aspects to this issue:
- Next year, the new regs...195 cm./35M and 188 cm./30 M apply only to WC. The Women's regs are, if anything, even more ludicrous than the Men's. I'm trying to imagine Tessa Worley skiing on a 188 cm./30 M ski, and somehow, I just can't do it. There are those who say this whole edict is going to disappear this summer. Remember, on the surface, the FIS isn't doing this to benefit or inhibit anyone, skier or manufacturer. They're doing it for safety reasons, remember? The WC just ended, and in the May/June timeframe, the summer training will start. The WC skiers will be on the new stuff this summer. Racers get injured in training as well as races. What if there's rash of knee injuries this summer on the new GS equipment? The FIS might be forced to rethink its position.
- The FIS currently has no trickle-down plan for the levels below WC. Next year, I *think* the way it's supposed to work, at least for Nor Am, is to use...last year's skis. I think I'm right just because next season, Atomic is going to supply only 4 FIS GS skis for adults: 195/35, 188/30, 190/27, 183/23. In effect, these are next year's WC specs, and this year's WC specs. Nobody knows what juniors are supposed to do. I can't speak for International Masters, but I'm pretty sure US Masters is going to continue with the currernt party line, which is "FIS WC regs are a suggestion, not a rule...use whatever you want."
- Again, it is not clear how junior racing will be affected by the new WC regs...watch this space.
So after next season, you would think that from the Manufacturers point of view, it would come down to a business decision. That is, the cost of making 195/35 and 188/30 for the WC skiers is just an expense, and a greater expensive is the amount of money someone like Atomic has to pay someone like Hirscher to ski on Atomic products. Below that level, there aren't as many racer freebies and incentives as there used to be. I believe that NCAA Div 1 racers, for example, are increasingly having to pay for skis at race form prices. Simple economics...relatively poor economic times world wide, ski manufacturers having to take on more and more of the costs of subsidizing ski racing...something that the manufacturers pointed out to the FIS some years ago, to no great effect.
So for Masters, beer league, and NASTAR folks, what will be available in 2013-2014? I'vve heard that the race ski makret in this country is a good one for the manufacturers, but mainly for junior racers. Really up to the manufacturers to decide if they want to continue to supply skis in lengths and sidecuts that work for us. The crystal ball says "Answer not clear...ask again later..."