Here is how it played out.
Bill Madsen (NASTAR competition director) and AJ moved the trials to Crystal Mountain and set a course not on Crystal's NASTAR hill but on the steepest thing there.
From all reports the course was as nasty as AJ could make it.
Naturally, the Michigan Pacesetters couldn't hang with AJ on a course totally unlike any normal NASTAR course in the country.
|JIM STANLEY||Hudson, WI||Male 30-34||2009||21.47||0.37||Platinum|
|Brett Doherty||Orchard Lake, MI||Male 17-20||2009||21.29||1.24||Platinum|
|Phillip Reece||Boyne City, MI||Male 30-34||2009||21.27||1.14||Platinum|
|Eric Smith||Petoskey, MI||Male 45-49||2009||21.84||3.85||Platinum|
|John Medicine||Petoskey, MI||Male 40-44||2009||21.83||3.8||Platinum|
Even Bill Madsen couldn't ski the handicap he established at Snowmass (3.5) on this course (5.0)
When I contacted NASTAR here is Madsen's reponse
"I appreciate your concern. The pacesetting trials at Nubs last year created a number of challenges for us throughout the season. Following the race we considered adding four points to all of the pacesetters handicaps so that the handicaps would be consistent throughout the country. After numerous discussion we decided against the adder and told the pacesetters to work hard and race fast to protect the par time.
As the season progressed we had to recalculate a number of races because many pacesetters had a hard time keeping their races above par. Participants won medals they had never earned previously and posted handicaps that were not realistic. The short term effect was that people felt good about their results but the long term effect is an erosion of the handicap system.
The results from the pacesetting trials this year are representative of how the NASTAR system should work. The pacesetters earned handicaps that represents their ability and they will set realistic par times.
Racing is about having a good time and socializing with friends and family members. The NASTAR handicap system needs to be consistent from coast to coast. Last season the pacesetter handicaps that were earned at the pacesetting trials did not correctly represent the National Standard, this year they do."
The fact is that low gradient hills put a premium on cleanly arced turns and minimum drag.
AJ the gate crusher is not good at this and cannot beat the Michigan locals on a typical NASTAR course.
We all know that if the NASTAR trials were held on a World Cup Downhill course very few of the pacesetters would even finish.
My question is this..
Should NASTAR pacesetter trials be held on a NASTAR hill or should NASTAR management management be free to game the system and hold the trials on a hill that gives them the result they arbitrarily want?
Nobody who doesn't have great gliding and arcing skills is going to beat Jim Stanley on a low gradient hill.
Since he is a 5 that means nobody in Michigan can hope to de better than a 5 on a course he sets.
Based on last year's results his means AJ would ski a 6 or a 7 on a course handicapped by Jim and could only get a Gold Medal.
Ain't that a laugh.