The basic concept of the FIS points isn't too far off from the NASTAR concept. The major differences are:
- FIS points are stated on a different "scale" than 1 point = 1 percent difference in time (and the scale varies from season to season and from event to event)
- As mentioned, FIS points are generally based on best two results in the relevant event, with an elaborate overlay of rules to deal with particular situations (e.g. someone who's injured, and doesn't have recent results doesn't get popped back to 990).
- The system for adjusting the points from race to race (the penalty points) has various ins and outs and adjustments and "adders" and "factors" involved in it.
- It's also jiggered a bit so that it fits with the World Cup standings, i.e. the guy (or gal) who wins the World Cup title in a discipline is set to zero points, and has the lowest FIS points, even though the World Cup title isn't given out based on best two results, but on adding up a grand total of points handed out on the basis of what place you finish in each race.
A little detail on race points
"Race points" refers to the points given out for a particular race, before they're adjusted to take into account the quality of the competion, which is done by adding the "penalty points" for the race. The winner always gets 0.00"race points" for the race.
A particular racer's race points are in fact determined by taking the percentage difference between the winning time and his time, but then they're multiplied by a factor (the "F Value"), which the FIS sets for each event each season. For GS this season, the F Value is 8.8.* So, if Rahlves' GS points are 5.44 (as indeed they are), that would really mean (approximately) that he finishes 0.62 percent behind the best GS racer, which would be, say, .74 seconds over two 1-minute runs.
So a NASTAR handcap of 23 would by something vaguely similar to FIS point of 23 * 8.8 = 202.4. Except, as noted below, it really isn't.
A little detail on penalty points
This rapidly gets complicated, and much more so at the FIS level than the USSA level. There are various adjustments designed to keep people from inappropriately lowering their points in various ways.
Also, the race points aren't figured simply by just taking the winner's FIS points and adjusting everyone else's against them. They're based on the points of the lowest 5 competitors who compete and the lowest 5 competitors who finish in the top 10 (which, of course, may or may not be the same 5 people). This leads to some rather odd things, such as wanting a low-point competitor to finish in the top 10 (even if that pushes you back a place) to improve your own FIS (or USSA) points ... though I don't think the typical racer is really aware of that (though coaches seem to be).
A few more notes
Saying you can do something in 23 percent more time than it takes Daron Rahlves to do it begs the question, "do what"?
Consider this: Have Daron Rahlves stand at the top of a modestly sloped bunny hill in ordinary skis that haven't had any particularly special preparation, wearing ordinary ski clothes. You stand next to him. Both you and he slide to the bottom of the hill in a straight line. Okay, yeah, he'll probably beat you by a little bit, but not a heck of a lot.
Now consider this: Do the same thing, but make the slope a steep sheet of ice with rollers and side-hills, and instead of going straight, you're going to make hellacious turns at 45 mph, some of them fallaways or cranking turns just over the crest of a roll. The amount of time by which Rahlves would beat an average skier can't really be stated, as the average skier would have difficulty even completing the course. The amount of time by which Rahlves would beat a very good, experienced racer would be substantial.
NASTAR, obviously, isn't at either of these extremes. The courses on which FIS points are calculated are either at the latter extreme, or at least somewhere towards it.
*The official formula is (Tx / To - 1) * F, where Tx = this guy's time, To = winner's time and F equals the current "F value" for the relevant discipline. Note that Tx / To isn't stated as a percentage but a decimal, so the actual "F Value" for GS isn't 8.8 but 880. In case you're wondering, the F Values for the other events are 1350 for DH, 1030 for SG, 610 for Slalom and 1000 for Super Combined.