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New Race Ski Requirements For Next Year

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I was just looking over the FIS equipment regulations for 03-04. The miniumun slalom ski length will be 165 for men and 155 for women with no restrictions on sidecut.

The reason that they give for lengthening the skis is because of injuries. I have to believe that injuries are caused by the sidecut and lift. I don't see the length of ski being an issue at all. If no restrictions will be placed on sidecut we can expect to see some very radical new designs next year which will in all likelyhood produce an equal, if not tight tighter turn radius i.e. more tourque on the joints. So what's the point of lengthening the ski? I have two pair os Elan sl skis for this year:154 and 162. I'm clearly quicker on the 162 (which has a greater sidecut than the 154). So in my case, you could say I'm at a greater risk of injury on a longer ski because I'm moving faster.

As a race coach it is hard to tell parents that they need to buy their kids another new pair/pairs of skis next year because of a rule change. Race skis are getting better and better every year and you have to convince the parents that their child will have a difficult time competing if his gear is not up to date. Last year the kids bought 155ish skis. This year the slalom skis are all better than last year, so now they need another pair. Next year will be another mandatory investment.

Having to buy new skis because technology has moved forward is one thing (that's a good thing). But FORCING parents to cough up more cash is rediculous. The risk of injury will be just the same as this year if not worse. I'm expecting some crazy designs next year. So is this rule being invoked JUST to make money on the retail side? Any thoughts?

Mandatory min. length for GS skis will be 185 w/ 21m radius. It seems like a fleecing of young racers to me.
post #2 of 9

I don't think that the kids will be affected by this unless they are in an FIS event. Most of the J's aren't in that league yet.
post #3 of 9
Usually by the time you're at that level you get new each year anyway. There are different specs for younger kids and it's up to the regions to enforce it.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
The reason I brought the topic up is because I had a discussion with one of the parents of a kid I coach a couple of nights ago. The father is a hard working blue-collar guy and the cost of 2 pair of slalom skis and a gs ski is a serious issue for him. I do the best I can to get them pro-forms and any other discounts I can wrangle up, but the cost is still substantial. The kid has his FIS points in the mid-200 range so he is obviously quite talented and NEEDS new gear to improve his standing. He is not being offered any free gear. I'm sure that there are countless other racers in the same financial situation.

One of my racers last year had his points in the 90's and had his choice of whatever he wanted.

I guess I'm just looking for a way to justify the investment of the parents who have a hard time coming up with the cash. The new rule change seems to be a joke. The FIS isn't making slalom any safer by increasing ski length and giving manufacturers free reign with the sidecut, so their argument is not valid...and costly.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info and I'll look into the details of the program ASAP. Any discounts will be appreciated.
post #6 of 9
i'd have to agree with you. It's great that the technology is improving so quickly, but at the junior race level, USSA should allow for the parents to catch up with the technology! Its tough on parents to spend $1200 on skis every season because rules at the top levels keep changing. And to be completley honest its tough on us coaches, to keep buying new gear! I agree with trying to develop a ski that dosen't produce so many injuries, but at the racer level how can that be accomplished? I don't think it can. Racers, no matter what level, are putting enormous stresses on their bodies that freeskiers do not. I think there will always be injuries in the racers relm, by making the skis longer with even more sidecut i'm not sure we are going to prevent more injuries. If they make a ski that is longer(will be stable under higher speeds) with more sidecut(can turn an even smaller radius turn), i think more injuries will occur.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I agree with everything you said.

A racer is always going to find a way to push himself to go faster no matter what equipment he is using. Last I checked, there was nothing safe about bashing frozen pieces of plastic while screaming down a steep sheet of rutted ice. Adding a few centimeters to a ski ain't going to help much.

The FIS/USSA should focus their energy on developing better protective gear instead of making arbitrary equipment regulations. I'm taking the conspiracy theorist approach on this one. With the new rules every ski company gets to squeeze more cash out of the race ski consumer next year. If you race competitively you will be forced to ante up.
post #8 of 9
Originally posted by +mike+:
Last I checked, there was nothing safe about bashing frozen pieces of plastic while screaming down a steep sheet of rutted ice.
I didn't think I was going to miss racing all that much after I graduated but reading that makes me feel all nostalgic. Nothing like taking a frozen gate to the head or knee(gates always find gaps in your armor) to let you know your alive.
post #9 of 9
Ski Monkey
There' always Masters or "Town Leagues".
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