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Nastar Should Be Abolished - Page 2

post #31 of 67
Ok, BOTTOM LINE- We all need a cource that a 6 yro can do. It gets the kid, and usually the parent into racing. Plus the kid can race against his/her parents. This is fun for a while. There should also be another cource for higher level skiers/racers. Yes, NASTAR does help your skiing, anything that forces you to turn will. But, if your an intermediate/expert skier a course with some pitch, or some interesting set ups would be nice. NOW- in my mind (if a mericle similar to that of when Davenport - I think it was Davenport - beat the Australians on their home turf j/k)a SLALOM cource would be awesome. You don't need a lot of space, can have huge varietys, hairpin turns, flushes, larger turns, everything- and at the end of the course you'll feel like you skied somthing hard. But yes, NASTAR has its place too.

"There are trails with signs, and there are those with out...Which trail will you chose?"
post #32 of 67
I didn't read everything above, but here's my opinion. I am NOT a racer. I can get through a NASTAR course pretty well, and came in third (in my age group - very important to note) in the the only sanctioned race I ever entered (a 1000 vert GS). But I sort of take NASTAR the same as a "coin-op" set up that many areas have. I think that probably 90+% of the people who race NASTAR are the same. They aren't going for NAtional rankings, etc. They are just trying to beat their last time, or beat their buddy. And for that, I think it's great. Around us, the weather for the past few seasons has been so bad that we haven't had enough terrain open to set up a race course, and I miss have *someting* *anything* to use. Especially when I have a student that would really benefit from running some easy gates (kids LOVE it).

So maybe your point is that ski areas should just set up some gates and call it what it is, and not support the NASTAR program. But if the fact that NASTAR exists will get the gates set up on the hill, then keep it. If gates will get set up even if NASTAR went away, then I don't really care. Just as long as they are there. It doesn't matter to me, or, I'm guessing, most of these recreational racers, whether the course set is within FIS limits or not.

Isn't saying that NASTAR shouldn't exist, a lot like saying the PGA handicap system shouldn't exist? I don't care, as long as there is a golf course that I can play on, and it isn't so damn hard that I shoot a 130 and lose two dozen balls.

I think one thing to make sure of, is that if ski areas set up their own courses, that they aren't so hard that low intermediate skiers can't finish it or have to ski it so slowly that it's no fun. And NASTAR was pretty good about that.
post #33 of 67
I agree with you JohnH
and if it's not supporting all the nastar costs maybe it won't be so expensive!

As an instructor, do you get to take students on the courses at no charge? I think at telluride they had a nastar course and near the bottom of the slope where the ski schools were there was a small hill (maybe 500-750 FT vert) and a rope tow for this specific hill that they used for training. I think the trainers used it to teach instructors and the "race clinic" When we were there our instructor got us clearance to take a run down but I think it was only because our instructor was one of the trainers.
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[This message has been edited by dchan (edited August 03, 2001).]</FONT>
post #34 of 67
Jackson Hole on Wednesdays, I think, used to set a pretty interesting Nastar course.
But the whole idea of the handicap being valid is sort of a joke. The pacesetter generally gets an absolutely clean course on the hardest snow of the day. To then compare the 100th guy through several hours later to that first time is ridiculous. Anyone who has ever forerun a race series in which they have also competed will know how big an impact start position can have on your time.
post #35 of 67
Thread Starter 
Well, now things are getting interesting around here! I think I'm going to go to VK's Nastar course inspect it, wear a speed suit (I'll have to buy one), and brush my skis off just to get all the free stuff! (could I trade the shrink for a massage?)

I've decided to stay in my camp.

>>There are plenty of Anthill-Alps ski areas that are flat par-threes with snow on them that have created millions of skiers too...to you they are probably an abomination as well, but it is were we all start.<< - Robin

No, not at all... I learned to really ski on, well a Molehill (800 vert). Nothing wrong with the hills, I mean where are yah gonna go? But if the ownership started doing things that made you loose interest in skiing (don't know what that would be), that would be an abomination.

Yeah Nastar gets people to take a run or two but does it really get them interested in racing? Sure there are exceptions, Todd might set an interesting course but that's rare.

I like ed's idea for recreational racing. This is what I'm talking about. We need more programs like that. If Nastar is taking up the space both physically and in the fact that the mountain doesn't want to think about -more- racing as in : "Hey- we've got Nastar, why do we need anything else?" If it's taking up this space and preventing more in depth experience then it should go.

The reason I call it an abomination is I think it's preventing people from experiencing racing or even getting an idea of what it's about. Yeah courses are won on the flats and you've got to be good to win Nastar and get better etc. but it's just such a limited experience that I don't think people get an idea of the athleticism of racing.

Here's how I come to this. I've had very little actual racing experience. Where I learned to ski I couln't be on the team because I didn't live there. (stupid eh?) Anyway, I was taught pretty much by racers. I liked racing (even though I didn't do it) and took on most of that "style" of skiing. People would always assume I raced a lot by the way I skied. So I would do Nastar occasionally but it really never interested me at all. It just seemed so nit-picky. The course so straight, I don't know but it never got me going at all. Yet I really "liked" racing! I never really thought about this at the time, but here was a race course, I really liked racing, yet I could give a damn about the course! There's something wrong there!

There's a lot more to say but I've got to go...

But o.k.. Vk talks about the race and all that's required for it -brushing skis, speed suit etc.. Yeah that's a race and necessary but that's not what I'm getting at. It's more "racing" - running gates and learning the tactics, learning the skiing technique and putting them together in a course. Show people this and I think they could start to understand why it's an interesting thing to do to ski around these stupid gates.
I've run only 3 real races (bib,time) yet I've run a bunch of courses with instruction. I can tell you that I've had probably one of the best sequences of turns and movements I've ever done in one of those courses. I can remember the whole sequence. It was awesome. Yet no speed suit, no time, none of the trappings of a "race", but an incredible experience. A little taste of a world cup run in something I could actually do. That's pretty cool.

Yet Nastar never interested me.

(Also, in this same course were people who had next to no experience, and yes even a 7 year old. Everyone's running the same course! - but it was set by someone who knew what he was doing and we inspect, practice individual turns etc.)

Nastar seems just about the time. The experience of racing is a lot more than the time. People aren't going to go anywhere by learning to race but why not let them see what it's about? If Nastar is preventing this experience then it's an abomination and should go.

post #36 of 67
"It's more "racing" - running gates and learning the tactics, learning the skiing technique and putting them together in a course. Show people this and I think they could start to understand why it's an interesting thing to do to ski around these stupid gates."

Tog, you just described Nastar perfectly. This is exactly what Nastar is all about. It doesn't have to be a super technical course set to learn tactics and technique. Actually to learn it, the easier the better. As previously mentioned, the big majority of Nastar racers are beginner / intermediate skiers. If it was any harder, they wouldn't be interested.

I don't get why you have a problem with this idea. If your idea of recreational racing was implemented at a ski area, it wouldn't bring in any more skiers then Nastar does. Nastar is nationally recognized, and can even make ski areas a little money. At least it won't cost them any. I guess that's why areas that used to do Nastar don't now. It got too expensive for them.

If you are interested in more competition and more difficult courses, join a league or ski club or something. I think what you are interested in is out there, you just need to know where to look.

One more thing. If racing above the Nastar level (or even being competative in it) interests you, be prepared to invest some money. That's a big issue with a lot of recreational skiers. Ski racing takes money, dedication, training, expensive race skis and equipment, willingness to stand around for hours waiting your run while your friends are off freeskiing, more money etc.

Good posts Todd and JohnH. Well said.

All this race talk is getting me anxious. How many more days till winter?
post #37 of 67
Nastar used to cost about $1500/season for a area with over 150k skier days. For this you typically got panels, banners, software etc. Self-redressing gates (breakaways from Reliable) are usually around $27 or so each. Hung-over ex-college racers with a sub 10 handicap and a car that will make it to Vail for pacesetters (that used to be me) cost about $10 an hour.
There are few if any, "money makers" out there in Nastar world. But mosta areas like having a regularly occuring event, and like was mentioned it causes the gates to get set regularly, in a permanent arena. For what ever SAM rationale exists to perpetuate NASTAR on their hill, be glad they do...chances are there would be no racing otherwise.
post #38 of 67

There was a post on July 22, regarding SG and DH stuff for sale.... Spinner or something like that posted it.

While tending to kid racer..... I am lucky to get an occasional run down the NASTAR and without that I would be stuck with nothing but a few courtesy runs down whatever training course they are setting. Since instructor line times correspond with the course opening times I get "sloppy seconds" but that's sure better than nothing.... and it's one of the few free "perks".

You are lucky to be in an area that still has a race tradition and hills that support racing. In PA, racing is a nuisance that takes up a portion of a trail...... we get absolutley zero positive input from the mountain and the only reason that we are tolerated is that many of the instructors kids are in the program......... without it, we would bail out and they darn well know it.
post #39 of 67
The new NASTAR seems to be on the right track. Some sort of "standard" for courses is needed I think. The 10 to 12 gates on our 250 ft hill get pretty straight at times.
Still we have about 100 jr racers and 100 adult league(NASTAR format)racers.
When I took a course in selling several years ago, the one thing that stuck was the statistic that only one in twenty are going to buy. My point being that if we put large numbers through the program at least a few will stay. I beleive Picabo Street is one of those. It certainly helps here in Dairy Air where it can get boring quickly.
I held a NASTAR night for my junior team this year because there was a "qualifier" that conflicted with a USSA race that I wanted them to attend. It was a huge success. Some of them got top rankings that were posted on the website. They were stoked. Incidentally, the pacesetter had an 8 handicap and took 2 runs on each course(he hates being beaten by a 15 yr old girl).
post #40 of 67
I left Hood on 7/20. It was like August. Lots of rocks. Tichy's camp was going strong. Say hi to them from me.
post #41 of 67
Thread Starter 
Robin, thanks for the specifics on cost.
Does our area have a huge commitment to racing? Well yes and no.

The mountain eliminated Nastar this past season. They origingally had an o.k. space for it, though it was pretty damn flat. Then that got turned into a half pipe so they moved it to a really bad space (right in the middle of traffic and a real snoozer of a course). Very poor courses also. Then the next year they moved it to a trail with a good pitch but it was right in the way again. This time no barriers to keep people from wandering in which they did all the time. It took up space from bringing classes back also. (You had to worry that a kid would wander over there at the wrong time and get run ovr)

There is a huge racing program for kids which brings in a lot of families. Also there's now a racing school nearby so they need to allocate space for them. There was a change to the trail to where they have big junior races ( a few times a year) to a major trail which was a big commitment.

Where's the ski school? Totally and completely separate from the people that do the racing programs for kids. (I actually met one of the people involved with the kids racing at our mountain when I was at another mountain during a clinic.) This is bothersome. Didn't racing and ski school used to be much closer together. Didn't ski school used to teach racing? (I haven't been around very long)

I don't see psia with much commitment to it either. What's up with that?

Anyone know if there's an equivalent in Europe?

(we're moving the discussion sideways here)
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[This message has been edited by Tog (edited August 06, 2001).]</FONT>
post #42 of 67
There was a thread in the PSIA Forum about that last winter. The consensus seemed to me to be mostly against it. The majority of PSIA people I've come in contact with aren't up on it.
Being a race coach and joining PSIA caused me a lot of grief when I would go to exams. The stuff I got failed for became the "word" a few years later on at least two occasions. To pass "Full" I had to go where no one knew me and Wear a one piece powder suit.
post #43 of 67
Thread Starter 
SLATZ, I've heard of this before but never got specifics of what they didn't like. What were the issues against?
post #44 of 67
The first time was in 85. I was working on lateral extention to keep the CM moving as close to a straight line in all planes as possible. In a tech discussion two examiners said this was wrong, that you had to go "up and over" to start a turn. A few years later (Tomba) this was the latest thing. However I did find one sentence in a PSIA manual written by Horst A. in 80 that said "at the highest level the up and down movement becomes mostly lateral".
The other time was, I beleive, a year later. I had spent two weeks at Hood workig for a USST coach on the adaptation to breakaway poles at that time. The stance was "taller and narrower". I made some modifications to my boots to make it work and it felt great. Much less effort with better skeletal alignment. I beleive the Examiners comment was "your narrow stance prevents you from sking at a high level". The next year Ellen Foster came and demoed the new Centerline with as she put it, "a taller, narrower, more elegant stance".
The last workshop I attended the Examiner told me that the stance I was using to make railroad tracks on my SCXs was too wide. That Harald Harb used to be a racer and he uses a much narrower stance. After 50 years on skis I have learned a lot of different ways to do it. So, I gave him narrow. He came up and said that looks much better. Guess what? No railroad tracks. You have to steer and skid the inside ski to do it HH's way. Oh well. I guess if I've learned one thing it's to give them what they want. I'm too old to argue and sooner or later they come around.
post #45 of 67
Hey Tog, you race because it's fun. If you are racing nastar competitivly then you've got problems (you in a general scense). Let people have thier fun.
post #46 of 67
Hey guys, this thread is heading on an interesting tangent.
Slatz, I have experienced similar ambiguity, both as a candidate and as a trainer (the biggest issue I have experienced is racers "over skiing" demos or elevating the inside ski). The messages out there have definitely been mixed concerning cert. Too, the "racing" component of PSIA has had a storied history.
I came from an extensive racing background with a brief dabble into pro freestyle in the late 70's, followed by a foray into the pro racing circuit in the early 80's. During that period I CSIA and PSIA and coached.
As PSIA emerged out of the national technique period of international ski teaching and synthesized "technique" from all the current national methods, it did turn it's eyes to racing. In the late 70's and early eighties, the Joubert, Witherall and Majors and Larson influence coupled with US team success, had alot of instructors sporting "spocked' tips and padded sweaters. We admonished students to avoid "form" and follow function...if it equated to WC techique, even if percieved as ugly....it was good. Instructors did bamboo combat daily, and the ski of choice was GS or SL...period. In the Rocky Mountain Division, a timed set of runs was part of the exam (actually both Ellen P and Suzie Corrock were in my Lev II).
During the last great hand wringing session with NSAA about entry level skiers and retention...the PSIA caught heat for imposing a race-based culture and image on the general public, and "style" and "personal goal" focuses emerged as a marketing strategy. Race times were considered too specialized and intimidating for exam criteria. Most importantly, free skiing and shaped all terrain skis became the rage.
Somehow racing has faded from the screen as far as the PSIA's involvement is concerned. Technique however is a product of elite racing, however it's application is consumer based.
All things being cyclical and with the exposure the SLO will have, I predict another rennasiance in alpine racing in this country.
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[This message has been edited by Robin (edited August 07, 2001).]</FONT>
post #47 of 67
Thread Starter 
The reason to get rid of it would be it's taking up space which could better serve racing. The idea would be to have fun and learn something in the process that makes one want to continue. If the mountain has no more room/time/money for another program because of Nastar, then why not get rid of it to make room for something better? -One reason suggested above, is you'll be left with nothing.

Probably nothing will change until ski schools get interested again. Then there's psia which seems to care less.

The absurdity of that system where every examiner is their own planet. Where's the objectivity? I guess best to do what you did- give'em what they want then do what's right. Maybe you should start a thread called "Abolish psia?". (you might want to change your profile though)
post #48 of 67
Mabye I understand what you are saying a little better now, but what would you have in place of Nastar? Or how would you like to improve/ change it? Would you rather see no racing? A focus on more all mountain skiing? What?
post #49 of 67
The more programs - the more diversity, the better. There is plenty of room on every mountain. You have a brilliant idea? Share it. Otherwise shut up.
post #50 of 67
Thanks for reminding me about that inside ski thing. That was another thing they were on me about.
Don't get me wrong, I don't blame PSIA. It's the individual examiners and their egos that seemed to be the problem. I applauded the Centerline but found the interpretations by the individuals pretty well screwed up. In fact a few months before Ellen came to Central for her clinic I spent most of a day at the WP JOs talking with her about some of those things. I still feel the centerline idea is a good one. It could use a little tuning up to go with shaped skis and some of the things they make possible for the average skier. I also feel that there is some more to be added at the top end. With todays gear we have moved beyond divergance.
Somewhere, in another thread, someone stated that PSIA is a "volenteer organization" and the manuals are compiled by comittees.Therefore they will always be a little behind. This changed the way I look at them. Also they need a product to sell to the general public. Racing is a small tight market. It works at small areas like ours but not at large resorts. NASTAR is a way to make the public aware of racing. I'm not sure about the profit end of it though.
We have the same situation with the Ski School and the race program at our area. I used to do some training of the begining instructors but a few years ago they said they didn't need me anymore. Now the big deal is PMTS. I'd like to learn some more about it but not enough to pay for a clinic. The Examiner who teaches it is someone I've know for a long time and respect but he tends to become a little over-zealous about things like this. I guess I don't have an answer but I'm trying to stay open minded. A lot of time I realize I've learned something long after the fact.
post #51 of 67
Slatz, one of my little proteges (I raised him from a pup, coaching him from 3 years old)after a decent FIS career, came back from college to teach. He had been a holiday guy. At Lev I, he barely passed his skiing. At Lev II, he scored straight 8's. At Full, he scored predominately 9's and had one of the only 10's I have seen. His skiing never fundamentaly changed, just it's applicability to the tasks. It is the racing mentality to perform at a high level all the time....it still mystifies him.
The diverging parallel has been effectively dropped from the Centerline Model for many reasons including what you intimated. They cleaned it up, also dropping the #1,#2 designation for Wedge Christie.
While PSIA has been chastized for not quickly adopting new technology and integrating it into technique, I disagree. A White Paper was published the season the S Ski company and Elan came out with the first, and I attended two "ok whaddya think of these....aren't they great...and how does it change our teaching...and how long before we can get these in our rental fleet" Ed staff on-snow training camps. This was in the early nineties. It does take time to produce the literature and integrate a national consensus into the culture of PSIA, but it does happen.
post #52 of 67
Robin, I also took that "whatdoyathink"
clinic by Elan in the early 90`s. All of our
trainors were required. Sold me on the shaped skis. We did end up putting about 1K rentals into the rental shop. providential, they needed new mdse and we periodically turn it out. Back to racing/ Nastar. We have 1/2 of one slope just for racing. It`s booked every weekend and somewhat during the week--open for general skiing rest of the time--about 650+/- vert --rather steep. We do master, intercollegoate, state gs/sl, club races etc and have perm. start and finish boothes / timing. ADjacent to this seperate slope we have our Nastar, also permanent start/finish and timing. Seperated from general skiing by bright orange. same pitch
as other just less gates. Quite challenging.
Get a lot of the clubs and better skiers on it.
Run our SS team races also on it. 10 teams/ 6 members each. The general public took awhile to adjust to the new challenge of Nastar, however it`s taking off. We can take our classes down during off peak times--at their choice. An excellent measuring device. People love to see their imp. and look forward to it. It also enhanced our advanced skier program. Suited to passwholders. Six weekends(2 days each}--2 hrs AM and 2 hrs PM. This program has enhaced our upper level classes.
Every yr it`s refined. NASTAR does generate business and positive conversation. It`s definitely NOT a wossie course--it is indeed a challenge. However, level 2/3 can handle it, if they have their head together--selectively. At least I`m back on gates after 20 years and a Jim Cardenali 2 day update sl/gs clinic.
A bit cautious, but still achieved top male point producer in our ss team comp. Remember I`m just a short , fat, old guy who wakes up in the middle of the night and wonders what he is going to do when he grows up and is thankful for his HCP.--It really isn`t fair to the others--but I`m not complaining.
By the way , we now have over 3500 pr skis in our rental shop and turn over every year--all
contemporary equip/boots/bindings.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Larry C (edited August 08, 2001).]</FONT>
post #53 of 67
A lot of this seems to point up why instructors and the PSIA (CSIA) are so denigrated by many skiers. This mentality that there is one correct way to ski, and that everyone should fit that mold, is pretty inane. If your style makes the ski work the way that it should then you are skiing 'correctly'. I knew bump skiers in the 80's who had trouble with the instructor exams because of how they skied, despite being excellent skiers.
Add to this the fact that the 'correct' way changes every couple years and it's easy to see why the PSIA is seen as ridiculous.
post #54 of 67
SLATZ, do you tip the cows with the Dairy Air? Up up and awaay... mooooo!

Good 'ol Central Division. Miss the open minded mid-westerners. Lotsa ski nutz too.

NASTAR is a good thing for newbies, and the regular skiing public. It's not tough enough for a lot of folks, and Masters programs are expensive for the hobby racers.

Wonder what could fit in between? If NASTAR events had enough gold medals locally, maybe a local advanced NASTAR for the "qualified Golds?

We use to do "Team League" racing at Wild Mountain, MN. That was fun, kind of like bowling league, and some of the courses were pretty tough, especially FIS derived slalom.

Hey, on a short hill, you gotta make quick turns to get enough in before you hit the

Losers bought the pitchers and pizza. Small prizes and like that. Some teams were serious, some not. So what, it was fun. Local business sponshorships for hats, bibs, t-shirts, etc.

I still have my John Deere Helmer Fuddsson (MN Elmer Fudd) hat around here somewhere... Nothing Turns Like a Deere! "The Farmers", implement dealer sponsored team...

Visit me here >>>SnoKarver

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[This message has been edited by SnoKarver (edited August 09, 2001).]</FONT>
post #55 of 67
Thread Starter 
chill. Maybe something will come out of the discussion. You say there's plenty of room for everything but I doubt it. Our mountain eliminated Nastar for space and a few other people have alluded to space problems for racing.
Since you've been involved in all of it, why is racing so separate from ski schools now?

I think there was an article in Ski about ski schools using Nastar and helping people improve their times. It would be nice if ski schools were involved somehow but it usually seems it's a different department.

Philth- I agree. Psia becomes ridiculous with stories like those which I keep hearing. We should start another thread on that issue.

gotta go..
post #56 of 67
That's where PSIA gets a bad rap. The Centerline isn't "the only way to ski". It's sort of middle ground and there's lots of room on either side as well as (I beleive) beyond. I'm quite interested to see what they do with it.
The trouble comes when people take it as "final form" rather than a diagnosis guide. A lot of Examiners tend to do that(it's easier for them, they don't have to think as much). The ones I've met also seem to find their own little thing. Or they think this is all there is, they can't see beyond. Most of the ones around here are onto PMTS. My "thing" is weight transfer(redistribution). Centerline talks about it in the basic wedge. "Shift weight to the new ski, extend and steer". PMTS talks about "tipping your downhill ski". Guess what? In order to do that you have to weight the other one first. A lot of my coaching involves those things. If you can't start the turn well, the finish isn't going anywhere.
To stay on the topic, I still think NASTAR gets new blood into racing. At least around here. (Dairy Air)
post #57 of 67
They tell me you can do that. I've never known anyone who has though. I'll ask some of my neighbors. I wonder if the Brown Swiss we have here in New Glarus tip easier than Holstiens?
You hit the nail on the head about our race league. Same here. I picked up that you were from MN on another thread. Couldn't take the cold? I've been up in Door County(Deaths Door) for the last few days so I missed your post till now.
Gotta go tune up my acting skill for the annual Wilhelm Tell drama we do here for Labor Day.
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[This message has been edited by SLATZ (edited August 15, 2001).]</FONT>
post #58 of 67

 Last I knew a NASTAR course had to be set so anyone 5 to 80+ could enjoy running some gates for time and a comparison with the national number one pacesetter and others that run it.


Come up with a hill/course that's safe/enjoyable for 5-80+ year olds and I'll show you a hill/course that's pretty boring for many accomplished skiers. [Funny thing was a lot of those "accomplished" skiers still couldn't be the fastest person to the bottom despite being at the top of the sport during apre ski BSing……;) ]


Let people that have fun with NASTAR have their fun, it's not hurting anyone. If its not meaningful enough for others let them put on their big boy pants and go set the world on fire racing USSA.


Additionally I believe NASTAR is run by areas as a service for their clients and probably hope they don't loose more money than they have to doing so. Numbers through the course is what pays bills not pleasing the unhappy few. People either race seriously, recreationally or don't. Most don't. Some are 'serious recreational' racers. Again, let them enjoy their sport while "you" go find something you enjoy.

post #59 of 67
Whoa, a twelve year old zombie thread.

Perfect user name.
post #60 of 67

What a painful ridiculous thread, filled with misconceptions and arguments that make no sense. 


If you get your wish and Nastar is abolished do you really believe mountains will start there own race course with the idea of promoting racing in the way you want it to TOG? That is naive on such a grand level to make me believe that you are the troll some people believe you to be. 

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