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USSA ski eligibility question

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Can anyone address this issue? My son (16 years old) will be racing USSA this winter. He has been racing varsity high school "Lakes Region" here in NH for the last 2 years - no equipment limits. His GS skis from last year are Fischer WC GS 178, 21m radius sidecut. The ski rules for USSA, adopted from FIS, state:

Minimum Ski Length: Minimum "developed" length (unwound length) in accordance with ISO Norm including a measurement tolerance of +- 1cm. The ski length must be marked on the ski.

Apparently 21m radius is valid for USSA for one more year.

This ski "unwound" measures 179.5 cm, within the +- 1cm tolerance for the 180 minimum length requirement; however, Fisher prints the length on the ski as 178. Surely this ski was designed to be legal as a 180.

Question: Will the skis be legal for USSA this year - in other words, will I need to buy more skis :? Though it meets the literal standard is it still illegal because 178 is printed on it? Does "marked on the ski" mean by Fischer from the factory or can I mark them with their actual unwould length?

I contacted USSA in Park City and they said they didn't know the answer and would get back to me - no word yet. I was a bit surprised with all the Fischer 178s kicking around out there. I figured they would have run into this before.

Thanks!
post #2 of 24
Helluva (Greg) ... is the guy to really post on this but from what I have seen and heard .... my kid quit racing this year.

Check with your coach to see what rules are actually/in reality in effect in your region and how they are being applied. The rules are "the rules" but how they enforce them is another issue.

My gut tell me that if you kid is a contender for a podium or gets close to state finals, those skis would become an issue.

If your kid is a mid-pack rider and not a threat to the top of the pack they will probably ignore him and just let him race.

We were issued instructions to be on the lookout for legal skis during the pre race meetings. My understanding that that this was from a USSA directive to "communicate" this to the regulated "community".

: read between the lines

As a starter, who the heck has the time to check skis? I sure never did just trying to deal with course holds, kids in sequence etc ..

But .... somewhere out there is a coach or parent who has been watching and can and will drop the $$$ for a challenge. This has happened in PA.

My impression is that the ski would be confiscated and sent off for an official ruling .... regarding length or stack height .... if it was really an issue .... and this is more geared toward the upper level racers.
post #3 of 24
Yuki hit the nail on the head regarding where your son is finishing, because sadly it makes all the difference. I believe that the 178cm Fischer GS would be considered illegal if it were challenged. This year's rules state the at the level your son will be racing at, the GS ski regulation is 180cm minimum and 21m radius minimum. A 55mm stack height will also be enforced until the 2008-2009 season when the new radius rules will be enforced as well as the new boot height rules will be enforced.

If your son is winning (or even making the first page of results) or if he qualifies for states (bumping other athletes out of the running), then you need to be aware that a frustrated parent with an extra $100 could have your son disqualified. The 178 is technically the women's ski. The 183 and 188 are the men's lengths. I believe however that (as you say) the skis were designed to be legal in their respective categories and all should comply with the un-wound length rule (if they didn't no one would be racing on fischers). This would mean more than likely that the 178 is a legal 180, the 183 is a legal 185, and the 188 is a legal 190 (all speculation of course).

I think that the only time the ski would be confiscated is if you challenge the disqualification. In most cases the length printed on the ski is enough to have the compeitor who is being disqualified stand down. In my experience it would be highly unlikely that there was an issue, but there is always the possibility. You may have better luck contacting the Fischer race room to see what skis from past seasons are legal now - the unwound length might save you.

Later

GREG
post #4 of 24
Go to the USSA site and hit the prompt for regulations.

Along the side of the usual chart there is the comment under the depiction of the ski (unwound) length.

It states that the length must be marked on the ski.

A few other charts I've seen on other sites did not have this comment.
post #5 of 24
As stated, it's not legal because of the way it's marked. Similarly, last season's 180 length GS ski, which comes out of the same mold as the now-discontinued 178, is legal. When the current rules first came out a number of years back, I recall that handwriting the length with a permanent marker was somewhat acceptable; I wouldn't expect to get very far doing that now though. Anyhow, those are the rules...
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much all for comments - very helpful. I'll post if/when I hear back from USSA.
post #7 of 24
It's not legal.

On the other hand, as already noted, the general approach to enforcing length and radius restrictions is that they're only enforced if a coach (presumably from another team :-) ) raises the issue.
post #8 of 24
I could find no mention in chapter 8 of the new alpine regs or the 2007/2008 update that says that the ski length has to be marked on the ski. It was there on the equipment regs table last year, but gone this year. That would seem to imply that that rule is no longer in force (whether intentionally or not), and that it would be measured length that would be the only criterion left to the race jury.




Some equipment measurements can be done by the race jury on site. Measuring unwound length seems to be something that can be done fairly easily with a flexible tape measure (you might want to carry one in your pocket).



My advice is to contact the head race official in your state. That's who the jury is going to call first.




Richr
post #9 of 24
Additionally ... the old +/- is gone too on the chart, so it sounds like a 180 is a 180.
post #10 of 24
I'm not sure what the USSA is doing with their books and publications.

There's an equipment regulation sheet on the website which is different from what's in the Alpine Competition Guide. It says (in big red letters) that it's "Updated 9/13/07," but then at the top of the actual sheet it says 2006-07.

What's in the Alpine Competition Guide clearly has some problems: it purports to tell you what the rules are for FIS and World Cup competitions, where the FIS regulations very explicitly say length must be marked.
post #11 of 24
If you Google .... fis alpine regulations ....

A USSA site with an update for 07/08 will show up.

Item #17 Competition Equipment indicates ... "refer to current FIS and USSA for season 2007/2008 ... and/or current FIS specifications for competition equipment ...."

Page 10 of this contains the chart.

Of course the "update" did not have a date on it.

I love the and/or .....
post #12 of 24

mystery solved?

When you examine the old rules versus the new rules you will note that there is also a 60mm waist requirement for GS for this season in addition to the (older 21m radius) and the 180 length.

I just looked at last years skis and they are clearly marked 183/21.

Perhaps ... perhaps ... they realized that many skis would comply but would not be marked with the 60mm requirement. So in their wisdom did they decide to leave the requirement for marking off the regs since the older (but legal) skis are not marked with that number?

This begs two addtional questions ... :

Are there some older skis out there that would meet the 180/21 requirement but fail to meet the current 60mm width?

Now the Fischer skis I just measured were 61 on the top sheet (slightly wider on the base), but are there a few older versions that after a few hard passes with the file fail to be fully legal?

Don't blame me ... I ain't the one that wrote or didn't write this stuff.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
This is what USSA has posted on their site listed as "updated 9/13/07". It seems to be last year's FIS rules (including the 2006/2007 at the top of the page). The 21m radius and 60mm cut remain for this year. http://www.ussa.org/PublishingFolder...sequipment.pdf
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by midfielder View Post
This is what USSA has posted on their site listed as "updated 9/13/07". It seems to be last year's FIS rules (including the 2006/2007 at the top of the page). The 21m radius and 60mm cut remain for this year. http://www.ussa.org/PublishingFolder...sequipment.pdf

Even though it says that the page has been updated, that link is the rules for last season, not this season. This season's rules are in Chapter 8 on page 135 of the 2008 book:
http://www.ussa.org/PublishingFolder...guidechap8.pdf
They are also on page 10 of the 2007/2008 update:
http://www.ussa.org/PublishingFolder...iew_0708_2.pdf

Richr
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Right, which changes nothing for J2s except omitting definition of ski length...
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by midfielder View Post
Right, which changes nothing for J2s except omitting definition of ski length...
The new rules allow a 10cm tolerance for slalom for J2 men, which means that they can use 155's.
post #17 of 24
Looks like a legal GS is .... 180/60/21 ... for mens J-2 etc.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richr View Post
The new rules allow a 10cm tolerance for slalom for J2 men, which means that they can use 155's.
Yes, looks that way to me too - our issue is GS.

M
post #19 of 24
hit the swaps & p/u a 180.........it is not worth the head ache of trying to use a "short" ski.

many of the swaps have race skis less than $100 w/ bindings.

we ran into this issue when my wife was doing FIS Europe races last season..........
The Pico swap runs today until 2 pm
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by midfielder View Post
His GS skis from last year are Fischer WC GS 178,

This ski "unwound" measures 179.5 cm, within the +- 1cm tolerance for the 180 minimum length requirement; however, Fisher prints the length on the ski as 178. Surely this ski was designed to be legal as a 180.

Question: Will the skis be legal for USSA this year?
Let's look at it from the standpoint of the officials (TD, Ref, Ch Race).

Should a protest against the equipment be filed, the jury will make a determination as to the equipment legality.

Based on the rule as written, and the information you provided above, I, as a TD, after measuring and confirming the ski is in fact 179.5, would encourage the rest of the jury to vote in your favor and deny the protest as the ski falls within the 1cm tolerance.

It would then be appropriate for you to receive a copy of the "Minutes of Jury Decision (with protest)" as related, which would include the ski's serial number and how our decision was made - signed and dated by all jury members.

Another Jury may not be so benevolent, and may disqualify the ski for it's marking(sigh), or be inexperienced and unwilling to address the issue and pass it on to USSA (unlikely).

Will the 178 length marking raise a flag as to whether the ski is legal? Might another coach/official ante up to protest the skis based on their marked length? Could be.

Have you chatted with your son's USSA coach about this unfortunate dilemma?

Like other rules of Alpine racing, a clear decision is only made with clear evidence. At 179.5cm, that's clear enough for me. For other's the ski marking may be the clarity they seek, which to me, would indicate a desire to interpret the rules with punitive intent.

Human nature is a wonderful thing.
post #21 of 24
the other side of this is that for the sake of safey, a J1-2 GS racer should be on at least a 180cm ski. this is for the speed & stability of the event.

saying that a ski almost make the cut is like stating that the seatbelt is almost buckled.....

just a thought
post #22 of 24
More other side:

What 1-centimeter tolerance? There's no 1-centimeter tolerance mentioned anywhere in the chart on page 135 of the Alpine Competition Guide.

Now, that may just be some kind of mess-up, arising from the fact that the USSA seems to have made a hash of the presentation of the equipment rules in the course of editing them into a new chart. Be that as it may: the 1-cm tolerance was always a measurement tolerance only. Its purpose was so that a ski that was marked legal -- and thus, so far as the owner could reasonably tell, was legal -- won't get the racer disqualified. The gist of the rule was that when you buy a ski (or get handed one by a rep), you don't need to measure it yourself, but can rely on how it's marked. Once it's not marked -- or, considerably worse, once it marked as not legal -- the logic for even having a tolerance goes out the window.

In other words, you can either take the relying on marking and the tolerance, or not relying on the markings and no tolerance. If the markings don't mean anything, then the owners need to measure the skis.

To put it in more specific terms.
Under what the rule explicitly was last year, and maybe is still intended to be:
- Ski marked 180 measures 179.5, result: pass - he didn't even know it was short!
- Ski marked 178 measures 179.5, result: DSQ - hey, you knew it was short!

Under a literal reading of the new chart:
- Ski marked 180 measures 179.5, result: DSQ - the ski is short.
- Ski marekd 178 measures 179.5, result: DSQ - the ski is short.

Another problem: you think the coach who protested might be a tad upset if you let a ski that's both marked short and measures short go? I think he's going to be particularly pissed off since you just pocketed $100 of his money.

Also - in the real world, if someone's bothering to protest, it's probably because the result is reasonably important. As a matter of actual practice, there are J1 and J2s (last season, anyway) who race on illegal skis that are marked as illegal, and no one seems to care.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post
What 1-centimeter tolerance? There's no 1-centimeter tolerance mentioned anywhere in the chart on page 135 of the Alpine Competition Guide.
Very true. It also does not explain how to measure a ski. Chord length? Unwound length? Running surface length? Certainly provides a challenge for a jury in making related decisions....

As a jury member, would it then be appropriate to refer to the FIS for assistance in rules clarification? If noted as appropriate, I would find that in their current rules for competition equipment, a ski is measured 'unwound' and a 1-+cm tolerance in measurement is the standard.

Interpreting the rules is fun, eh?
post #24 of 24
I agree with the general point - so far as I can tell, the current USSA chart is kind of a mess. It's not bad as a summary or general overview of what the rules are supposed to be, but as a complete statement, it's obviously lacking.

I think the details of the rules were probably supposed to remain the same as in 06-07, with only some of the particular measurements changing. That is:
- Marking on the ski is the initial inquiry.
- If you go past the marking and actually measure, there's a 1 cm tolerance.
- And, as you mention, you need to look somewhere even to know what "length" and "radius" are supposed to mean.
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