Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
Do expect there to be changes in how the courses are being set (specifically in GS) as a result of the new rules and ski being out there? Obviously there can't be a mandate "we are going to start setting like this now..." but over the years as equipment requirements have changed I have noticed changes to how courses were being set. Any ideas on what we might see now?
Course setting is an interesting animal. At the elite level, challenging the field is a required setting component to let the cream rise. Until you see it, slip it, run it in person most have no idea how tough the courses are at the World class level.
At the lowest non-scored levels, the setting should provide a nice 'test' of rhythm, timing and basic snow-ski skills. The appropriate comments for this level should be "that course was fun".
Course setting is a wonderful art. An effective setter has an uncanny knack for speed, rhythm, arc size, playfulness, timing and terrain changes with under foot snow conditions always a determining factor. They are able to set exactly what they want to get the most out of that specified training session. Not dis-similar to proper terrain selection in any ski class, a setter can set to expedite learning - whether to groove 'em, stroke 'em or challenge 'em.
There are good setters and bad. Good courses are taken for granted. Bad courses stick out like a sore thumb. Setting and dancing are similar. Some setters just have 2 left feet with no sense of rhythm.
Setting that allows Arc to Arc GS skiing has all but disappeared from the World Cup level. Although speed continues to be a primary component in GS racing, coaches have adapted, even into the lower levels, to set more challenging turn shapes, where timing and line strategies are more important.
Informally, I would say we had fewer courses last year set with minimum gate counts.
An interesting development in recent years is the use of an optical "range-finder" by course setters to read and maintain similar distance from gate to gate. I'm not a fan, but to each their own.
Slope design and available protection systems (B-net, etc) have a huge impact on GS setting. Ski areas in VT, specifically Stratton and Killington, will not be putting GS events on their "scored" race calendar for the coming season. Too much setup and preparation work to justify the event.
Will courses evolve? Yes. As the skill level increases (evolution of the sport), so does (appropriately) the challenges of the set. And accordingly, eventual rule updates.