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Hate the new NASTAR rankings

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Rather disappointed this year that NASTAR has decided to change the way they calculate your State and National averages along with now giving those rankings the priority in determining invitations to the Nationals at Snowmass this year.  I have qualified for the Nationals for several years running, always in the Silver division and I make no bones about that being the right division for me.  I do get a gold medal now and then, like a bogey golfer expects to get some pars now and again, but averaging out my handicaps over the my usual 7 - 10 weeks of racing, I'm a silver division racer.  However, with NASTAR's new approach, they are taking just your best three days of racing and that's your average and that's where you are going to race, so as a guy who squeaks over the threshold and gets a gold once in a while, instead of being close enough to the top to get an invite to the Silver division, I'm dead last in the Gold division and won't be heading to Nationals this year.  To pick up on the golf analogy again, it feels a little like the USGA saying 'you got three pars on those 18 holes, so you are a scratch golfer, never mind that you shot an 87.'

 

I do understand that any handicap system can be jobbed, so any handicap system would have some flaws, I just wish that they had kept the old way of determining your State and National rankings as they made the switch to giving those rankings 'first dibs' to Nationals.

post #2 of 25

       You should still enter the Finals, generally everybody that enters qualifies one way or another.
 

post #3 of 25

I don't understand the system either way...  

 

All skiers are going to be somewhere on a development continuum between beginner and professional. Yet there are arbitrary markers for platinum/gold/silver/bronze. Over time, given enough coaching and development (and barring any barriers like injury or age), every skier will transition from the top of one pile to the bottom of the next. And eventually, every skier will hit a plateau of skill, strength, and knowledge beyond which they cannot progress. 

 

So in the end is there any point in winning against a bucket of skiers below platinum? Isn't it really about setting your own personal best, and racing against those who you see as your mentors or friend group, rather than everyone in an arbitrary bucket? Isn't the celebration in seeing an overall improvement in your skiing, rather than going to a national event to win the battle for less-than-top tier? 

 

I would usually take first in our ski club's "advanced" category but couldn't beat the top times in the "expert" group. None of the Expert guys whose time was below the top 3 but better than mine got a medal. So why did I get a round of applause and a pat on the back? On the flipside, I had a friend who won a bronze medal in a beginner race. She was the third out of three skiers, and was overjoyed. I couldn't understand the point at all. 

 

Not looking to crap on your thread, but I'm genuinely confused as to how there can be a victor when one competes within an arbitrary range, knowing there are higher tiers. 

post #4 of 25

     mmmmm, read this a few times kind of see what your getting at but not sure it makes sense. With your line of reasoning are you saying unless you won the Super Bowl the foot ball you played doesn't count, no college or HS champs? I can see where some wins are at a higher level, but winning is winning and if 2 guys show up its a race.

post #5 of 25

College, high school, and pro are logical categories - entry is restricted based on age and (theoretically) maximum possible training hours to date. At something like Nastar, these categories would be represented by age group. 

 

A closer equivalent in football would be if participants were divided into an A league, B league, C league and D league, where even the worst player on the C league is better than the best player on the D league. But I find it a bit more odd than that because it's an individual (rather than team) sport... 

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

A closer equivalent in football would be if participants were divided into an A league, B league, C league and D league, where even the worst player on the C league is better than the best player on the D league. But I find it a bit more odd than that because it's an individual (rather than team) sport... 

Actually that is the way football is divided in both college and high school: College is divided - Division 1, div.2,  etc. and High School has its own breakdowns as well so that a school with 6000 students does not play one with 200.

post #7 of 25

You said it yourself:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

 

And eventually, every skier will hit a plateau of skill, strength, and knowledge beyond which they cannot progress.

 

 

And, if there's enough commonality on each plateau, why not have them race to determine the winner for each plateau?

 

If anyone consistently wins their plateau, chances are they'll wind up in the OP's position, effectively being told by NASTAR that  they need to move up a ranking.   

 

To me that sure looks like a pretty good system to energize racers beyond what they can comfortably win.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

You said it yourself:

 

 

 

And, if there's enough commonality on each plateau, why not have them race to determine the winner for each plateau?

 

If anyone consistently wins their plateau, chances are they'll wind up in the OP's position, effectively being told by NASTAR that  they need to move up a ranking.   

 

To me that sure looks like a pretty good system to energize racers beyond what they can comfortably win.

 

...I guess... then shouldn't the worst skiers at the gold level get as much cheering/praise as the top skier at the silver level?

post #9 of 25

I think most of the adults go to Nastar championships for their own amusement, because they enjoy the whole "event" aspects of it, and to be in a competitive race. I don't think many of the winners confuse beating the 20 people who showed up to race in the Silver division with winning an Olympic medal. And I don't think most of them went to the event for the adoration of the masses. But the winners did compete against those people and did the best on those 2 days.

 

I know that my husband played golf at a locally competitive level, the club had different flights and the people who were the best 10-15 handicap golfers had to beat the others with similar skills. We always gave the winners a nice hand because they had actually won their matches even if they probably could not have beaten the scratch golfers who lost in higher flights. The scratch golfers who won the championship flight were not going to be on the PGA Tour or win the US Amateur, but we gave them a nice hand anyway. Competition has a value in and of itself and the fact that not everyone is the absolute best need not diminish their ability to compete.

 

If someone wants to have all the competitors in the platinum (or gold or silver) step forward for a hand, I'll be happy to applaud too.

post #10 of 25

I gotta agree with Metaphor, but understand where everyone else is coming from.   If my best is an 8 handicap, I am an also ran in the Plat division, but if it is 11 or 12, then I am one of the top guys in Gold.  I saw this same issue prior to the change in National qualifying criteria.  When I saw the changes, my first thought was along the lines of JPL- that almost everyone qualifies for Nationals one way or the other.  

 

Vsirin and others make a good point about it being nice to compete, regardless of skill level, but in sympathy with the OP, the Nastar system is flawed- by only taking your top 3 times to determine your division, they are really penalizing guys who run a lot of races/days.  i.e.  Guy 1 races 5 times and Guy 2 races 50 times- the top 3 times are going to be much closer to "average" times for guy 1 than guy 2.  This is especially true when you factor in that not all pace setters are consistent and that some courses may slow down or speed up during the day.  

 

At least with golf, they look at your 10 best out of your last 20 and don`t usually put people into a division by handicap and then have them play even with each other (except the top division which may be done at scratch).  Imagine if your club match play tournament too the top 4 guys in each "division" based on their 3 best scores all year and had them play scratch.

 

I.e.

 

74 qualifies

75 qualifies

76 qualifies

77 qualifies

------------------

78 does not qualify

79 does not qualify

80 does not qualify

------------------

81 qualifies for B flight

82

83

84

----------

85 does not qualify

86

-----------

87 qualifies for C flight

88

89

90

 

 

If you look at Epic Mix Racing, they are still awarding metals, but it appears that you qualify for the Lindsey Vonn race series (when, where and what that is, I am not sure) based on your top 10 results regardless of medal color- so this actually rewards guys who race a lot without any arbitrary cut offs (other than separate divisions based on age and sex).     


Edited by MEfree30 - 2/16/13 at 7:38am
post #11 of 25

Thinking about this some more, I really think qualifying for Nationals should be based on how often you race, not your results.  

 

i.e.10 points for each resort you race at

     3 points for each day you race

     2 points for each pace setter you race against

     1 point for each race you run

 

You can then give everyone a handicap based on results and have them compete against each other using their handicap at Nationals.  

post #12 of 25

If you take NASTAR too seriously it will drive you nuts.

Race hard, get good and go the Nationals in the Platinum division.

What you will find is a bunch of Masters and Semi-Pro racers who have raced the bare minimum of NASTAR runs to qualify.

You will also find courses that are much more like Masters courses than the typical NASTAR blue run easier than Beer League course.

You will also find sandbaggers that are capable of skiing way above their ranking.

If you are serious about the NASTAR Nationals start racing Masters and get some good coaching.

That's the game.

The NASTAR system of pacesetting trials, etc simply cannot work as intended without standardized courses.

Years ago, NASTAR did have standardized courses but as it grew that requirement went away.

Enjoy it for what it is...a chance to race your buddies for beers on a course that won't hurt you too bad.

This is a very specialized discipline that allows no chance to recover from mistakes.

Racing it will make you a much better skier.

But, it is 4 degrees here and my speed suit doesn't look nearly as inviting as my XC skis today with crowds everywhere on President's weekend.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

 

What you will find is a bunch of Masters and Semi-Pro racers who have raced the bare minimum of NASTAR runs to qualify.

 

The NASTAR system of pacesetting trials, etc simply cannot work as intended without standardized courses.

 

These are two reasons why I like my points qualification system above-

 

1. Reward those who race a lot

2. By encouraging people to race different courses, you can "handicap" the course sort of like the course rating/slope system in golf- now that the computer has been invented, you don`t need the courses to be standardized to have a fair handicap system.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

 

...I guess... then shouldn't the worst skiers at the gold level get as much cheering/praise as the top skier at the silver level?

 

Why should they?   The idea is to motivate skiers to move to the next step, while at the same time rewarding those that have done good work.    

 

The meta goal is to keep skiers happy and with a sense of progress, and, ideally, with a conscious sense of what real skills they brought to the table to improve.     'Doing it over and over and over again' does not to me count as a real long-term skill.     In a high-level way, this scoring system appears to me better suited to  racers who will consciously work on improvement through specific, targeted practice, and I call that a good thing.  

 

"Worst skiers at gold level" should IMO be rephrased to say "Skiers who move into the gold tier from silver".    Then my answer would be 'Yes'.

post #15 of 25

Second Place = First Loser

This is racing, you know!

post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

If you take NASTAR too seriously it will drive you nuts.

Race hard, get good and go the Nationals in the Platinum division.

Would definitely agree that it can drive you nuts! biggrin.gif And I would love to get better and be able to compete at the Platinum division, but like a lot of guys in my local beer league, I'm happy just to get 5 or 6 of the 7 races that we hold each season.  Hard to find the time to really train and develop any racing skills.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

These are two reasons why I like my points qualification system above-

 

1. Reward those who race a lot

2. By encouraging people to race different courses, you can "handicap" the course sort of like the course rating/slope system in golf- now that the computer has been invented, you don`t need the courses to be standardized to have a fair handicap system.

 

I agree that those that those who race a lot should get some priority over those that don't and the new system of using the National and State rankings first does that to a certain extent as you have to race at least three days in order to get a ranking and NASTAR is also using the number of days raced as the tie-breaker.  So, I like the fact that they are using the National and State rankings as the first criteria for determining qualifiers for Nationals and then going to the Resort rankings.  I would just prefer that they would use your entire season's results, NOT just the top three handicaps out of your season.  I think a truer picture would develop for the proper placement of each skier if all of his/her scores were considered.  Yes, it would mean that someone could sandbag by tanking some runs on several different days in order to qualify in a lower bracket.  It would be more like golf in that your handicap would go up and down as your season progressed depending on your races.

 

I love your notion of handicapping the course like the rating/slope used in golf.  You would think with GPS technology today, you could easily map out any course and have some way of determining the vertical drop, gate offset, etc, and coming up with some form of rating/ranking to tie it back to expected timings.  What an interesting concept.

 

 

Quote:
When I saw the changes, my first thought was along the lines of JPL- that almost everyone qualifies for Nationals one way or the other.


My experience is just the opposite - most people in my race league don't qualify for Nationals.  To be fair, most of them could care less about Nationals and their NASTAR ranking - they are only interested in the points they've earned for their team.  Which, I admit does make me wonder, to get the 1000 or so racers who come to Nationals each year, just how many invites does NASTAR actually send out?  I'm not saying it's some HUGE honor to get an invitation, but I would disagree that it's automatic.

 

I had one really good race this year and  a lot of mediocre ones, so much so that even under last year's system, I think I would be hard pressed to qualify in the silver division.  Unlike the Master and semi-pro racers that dakine mentions, I had never done anything more than an occasional run through the NASTAR courses until my son and I joined the local beer league.  I'd like to consider myself a very good skier, but that doesn't necessarily make me a good racer.  Over the years both my son and I have qualified, but only last year did we both do so in the same year.  It was a lot of fun to go do the trip together last year and it's disappointing not to have that possibility this season.  At the end of the day, we both need to be just a bit faster, I guess (and on our short courses, even a 1/2 a second makes a big difference!).

post #17 of 25

It is all about optomizing revenues and profits.  Beyond that I have no idea what is best.  I haven't logged a run in over two years.  I wasn't that great.  Yet, I still get emails asking me/begging me to register for nationals every year.  I would if i could afford it.  They provide a fun venue for non serious racers to experience the rush as well as semi serious racers to compete at the national level.  They cater to everyone or at least try to.  They will obviously lose some from each of the extremes by doing that.

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

2. By encouraging people to race different courses, you can "handicap" the course sort of like the course rating/slope system in golf- now that the computer has been invented, you don`t need the courses to be standardized to have a fair handicap system.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dakine View Post

 

You will also find courses that are much more like Masters courses than the typical NASTAR blue run easier than Beer League course.

You will also find sandbaggers that are capable of skiing way above their ranking.

...

The NASTAR system of pacesetting trials, etc simply cannot work as intended without standardized courses.

Years ago, NASTAR did have standardized courses but as it grew that requirement went away.

Enjoy it for what it is...a chance to race your buddies for beers on a course that won't hurt you too bad.

 

Been mulling over the notion of the handicapping and this concept of a 'standardized' course.  When I hear 'handicap' in the sports world, I think of it's use in golf and in other sports, like horse racing, where it's used to level the playing field.  But in NASTAR, your 'handicap' number isn't really a handicap in that sense.  It's just a percentage used to chart who gets which medal, as in you were 20% slower than the PAR time, so, for your age group, you were in the top 30% of skiers, so you get a gold medal.  In many club competitions in golf, we play with handicaps which in theory gives players of lesser abilities the opportunity to compete with better golfers or even professional golfers.  The fact that each golf course has it's own strengths and weaknesses, such as hazards, length, etc. is adjusted by the slope and course rating which, in turn, modifies the handicap up or down.  Golf's system is still subject to sandbaggers.  There used to be (not sure if it's still around or not) a "World Amatuer Championship" which was a handicapped tournament (DuPont sponsored it for a few years) and it was routinely won by guys who show up and shoot three rounds of even par with an 18 handicap.  I look at the "Race of Champions" that happens on Sunday of the National's weekend as akin to this type of thinking as it uses a 'net' time for each racer and the racer with the fastest net time takes home the prize.  Would be interesting to see if NASTAR would do  two Championships: one in it's current format where you could qualify with only one race to your credit and you just raced in your own medal division, and one where you had to race a minimum number of races in order to establish a "true" handicap, and everyone races against each other regardless of where you are ability-wise and it's based on net times.  The biggest problem is just coming up with some way of establishing both a sound system of handicapping one's race results that would discourage (did not say prevent) sandbagging, and it would be necessary to come up with some methodology to either standardize courses or rate courses, which would be the tricky part, I think, as the courses change constantly, unlike golf courses where the only variable not accounted is weather conditions.  The other difficulty with this approach is it does tend to favor a really erratic racer, just as it does a really erratic golfer.  As someone who can go out and shoot a 78 one day and a 92 the next, I know that my 16 handicap looks pretty suspicious when I shoot that 78 and it makes for a net score that's hard for a 2 - 4 handicap player to beat.  I'm far more consistent on the race course than the golf course, so maybe that's a bad analogy - have to let more experienced racers comment on that one.

post #19 of 25

I still find it odd to be able to say "you're the BEST of the bottom 50% of skiers"... or "you're the BEST of the bracket of skiers who are within 31-40% of the top time, within your age group/gender". Now, if you're placing in the top 5 at your mountain, or at the top 5 for your league, awesome! But when the league is just so monolithic, I don't know... 

 

I guess I prefer "county fair" size contests to national ones, since in a country as large as the US the odds just aren't good that you're going to place competitively. 

 

It's an interesting philosophical paradigm; I'll bring it up during the coach 2 course and try to take note of other coaches' thoughts. 

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

I still find it odd to be able to say "you're the BEST of the bottom 50% of skiers"... or "you're the BEST of the bracket of skiers who are within 31-40% of the top time, within your age group/gender". Now, if you're placing in the top 5 at your mountain, or at the top 5 for your league, awesome! But when the league is just so monolithic, I don't know... 

 

I guess I prefer "county fair" size contests to national ones, since in a country as large as the US the odds just aren't good that you're going to place competitively. 

 

It's an interesting philosophical paradigm; I'll bring it up during the coach 2 course and try to take note of other coaches' thoughts. 

To me, for those note competitive in the top group, it should be about improving against yourself or improving your overall rank- i.e. going from a 25 to 18 Nastar handicap...but as the OP said, this may end up putting you in a higher division where you don`t qualify for Nationals.

 

I haven`t tried to analyze it statistically, but my intuition tells me that overall skiers race times vary less run to run and day to day than golfers scores vary hole to hole and round to round.  With this in mind, a golfer who has had a 25 handicap for years can have that great day and shoot in the 80s and be proud of winning a handicap tournament.  This might be true for a similar skier, but I think a bit less likely (unless they have made a real improvement in their skiing that is likely to stick or the pace setter had a bad day).

post #21 of 25

I appreciate everyone's sentiments but I hope you don't lose sight of the ultimate goal - to have fun.  Other than 2007 when I broke my ribs I haven't missed a Nationals since 2004.  I've also competed at the last four Eastern Opens.  I go to have fun and I've never been disappointed.

 

In 2004 and 2005 you raced in either Recreational and Expert and in those years I finished 8th of 11 and 9th of 22 respectively.  I really went out there for the snowboard event and was unopposed.  Skiing was a way to "double my pleasure, double my fun" but I had no delusions.  In 2006 I finished well back in the pack 9th of 22 in Gold and as indicated earlier skipped 2007.  2008 was a breakthrough year when I won both boarding and Gold Division skiing.  The accomplishment even made Ski Racing Magazine.  Even so, it was the Gold Division - an arbitrary cutoff level.  Moving the parameters a few points and I would have been back in the pack in Platinum.  Qualifying for Platinum became my goal.  (A few of you have drawn analogies from golf.  In years past I had won the A flight at my club championship a couple of times but volunteered for the Overall Club Championship the next year even though I hadn't qualified.  I finished well back but continued to work on my game.  I eventually won the Club Championship in back to back years.)   

 

In 2009 I qualified for Platinum and was in 6th place of 17 after Friday but hit a gate and broke my foot on Saturday.  The next year I raced on a freshly torn ACL and finished 10th of 12.  2011 saw some progress - 5th of 14 in Platinum and last year finally put me on the podium in Platinum - 2nd of 8.

 

I still consider myself a snowboarder first and foremost but I enjoy ski racing and have worked hard at it.  I'm not an ex college racer or Masters veteran.  I did my first ever Masters race a few weeks ago.  I'm just a hard headed knuckle dragger late to the game (at age 50 took up snowboarding and resumed skiing after a 34 year absence from the sport).  I'll race in whatever division I qualify for but always strive for the top division.  Enjoy yourself no matter where you place and always strive to improve.  The happiest person on the podium at last year's Nationals was my grandson Ryan taking third in the 1-4 year old Bronze Division.  And yes, that is Picabo Street.

 

 

 

Strive to do your best but keep the focus on having fun.  Hope to see all of you in Snowmass.  My flight is booked.
 

post #22 of 25

I may suck at racing, but this thread caught my eye.  smile.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tag View Post

...in NASTAR, your 'handicap' number isn't really a handicap in that sense.  It's just a percentage used to chart who gets which medal, as in you were 20% slower than the PAR time, so, for your age group, you were in the top 30% of skiers, so you get a gold medal...

 

In theory the NASTAR 'handicapping' is against the national pacesetter, which is estimated by timing you against your local pacesetter and your local pacesetter against the national one.  If you're 10% slower than your local pacesetter and he's 10% slower than the national pacesetter, then in theory you're better than someone who is as fast as a pacesetter that is 20% slower than the national guy (or gal).  They set the medal thresholds based on (expected) percentages of skiers who will be below a certain handicap relative to the national pacesetter in each age bracket.  If the pacesetters are rated properly and you average it out over a bunch of races, it should work out to be similar to a golf handicap.

 

'Rating' a course by seeing how fast a (presumably experienced and fairly stable) pacesetter runs it a few times makes more sense to me than trying to standardize the courses or rate them arbitrarily based things like gate spacing and the current conditions.  You can get problems of consistency between pacesetters, but I can't imagine this is worse over the course of many races than what you'd get trying to 'handicap' courses.

 

(Although now I'm curious about how they come up with the par scores on golf courses.)

 

Quote:
I still find it odd to be able to say "you're the BEST of the bottom 50% of skiers"... or "you're the BEST of the bracket of skiers who are within 31-40% of the top time, within your age group/gender"...
 
I guess I prefer "county fair" size contests to national ones, since in a country as large as the US the odds just aren't good that you're going to place competitively.

 

It's not like whoever wins the NASTAR national championship is going to beat even a low-ranking skier on the WC or have a chance at the Olympics.  By the same logic it's kind of silly to say "you're the BEST skier in the US that isn't good enough to actually compete with professionals".

 

Bracketing the contestants on skill to provide reasonable competition for everyone isn't a totally crazy thing to do.  It gives people more attainable goals to shoot for.  I mean... why do they have local/regional/national championships in sports that also have a world championship?  (Other than logistical reasons like needing to narrow down the field.)  Collegiate and youth sports do this all the time, even within age brackets.  Is it meaningless to win a competition if it's not against the very best people you could possibly be going up against in the entire world?  And on the flip side, is it meaningful to win if you're against vastly inferior competition and the outcome was never in doubt?

 

I understand why NASTAR did this, because it makes it somewhat harder to sandbag if they take the average of your best few results rather than averaging all of them.  But it does create some weird situations like the one the OP finds himself in.  According to NASTAR he's capable of running a 'gold' time and so he should be competing against the other people winning 'gold', but he's not good enough to have a shot against the people who always get gold and are flirting with platinum.  Having more tiers of contestants would help, but realistically they can only have so many. 

 

Maybe basing it on your median or 75th-percentile handicap would be better than taking the top 3, since if you race many times your odds of having a few outliers that are WAY better than your average race goes up significantly.

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias99 View Post

It's not like whoever wins the NASTAR national championship is going to beat even a low-ranking skier on the WC or have a chance at the Olympics.  By the same logic it's kind of silly to say "you're the BEST skier in the US that isn't good enough to actually compete with professionals".

 

I do see where you're going. But I think we have to define our competition's framework, which is all the performers within NASTAR. Olympics/WC performances don't matter since they happen outside of the competition's framework. And within the confines of NASTAR, the platinum winners have the best performances. However, once you start looking at gold/silver/bronze, they're still in the same contest and are therefore not placing in the top tier. 

 

I think what I'd enjoy more is smaller competitions for regions or groups. For example, I made the fastest time at our Winterpride race at Whistler-Blackcomb. That doesn't mean I'm the fastest racer, and I have no idea how I would rank in NASTAR. But I did feel a sense of achievement, unmarred by losing to skiers in higher tiers. And if there were a WC skier in that competition, I would still have been happy knowing my time was within XX seconds of a WC skier. 

 

But maybe that's how people see NASTAR categories too. And regardless of all the mental gymnastics I'm going through here, I do think it's way better to have a NASTAR than nothing. I wish we had NASTAR at one of our Vancouver mountains. 

post #24 of 25
Quote:
For example, I made the fastest time at our Winterpride race at Whistler-Blackcomb. ...I did feel a sense of achievement, unmarred by losing to skiers in higher tiers.
 
...But maybe that's how people see NASTAR categories too.

 

I think most people get that something like being the "best silver" at NASTAR nationals doesn't mean they're better than an "average gold" any more than you would think that winning an open race at Whistler means you're better than an average WC skier.  In both cases the winner was the best of the set of competitors they were up against that day.  Obviously it's harder to win against a bigger pool of potential competitors than a smaller one, or in an open contest vs. one with restrictions, or against world-class opposition instead of backwoods locals.  The accolades and respect given is generally commensurate with factors like those.

 

Taking a big pool of competitors at the same event and slicing it into independent brackets on skill/handicap is totally arbitrary and, if you crown a 'winner' in each bracket, admittedly a little silly.  But when you have HUGE skill disparities across the pool of competitors, it gives people who have no chance at winning at the 'real' title something to shoot for.  NASTAR is also looking to generate interest and publicity, and highlighting that you can have fun and be successful racing even at a lower level of skill is good for their marketing.

 

Quote:
I think what I'd enjoy more is smaller competitions for regions or groups.

 

NASTAR also gives you local (same mountain) and state rankings, although they don't run state-level championships.  Many (most?) places with NASTAR also tie it into local leagues of some sort.

post #25 of 25

nice, I think you've summed it all up. 

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