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A Season Wasted...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, after a month of heavy midweek DH and SG training at Okemo and Sunapee in preparation for the Sugarloaf DH's, I came home today to read this on the MARA website...

"PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE SCHEDULE HAS CHANGED FOR USSA SPEED WEEK DUE TO INCOMING WEATHER

Tuesday January 26 J3 speed camp

Wednesday January 27 Race

Thursday January 28 J1 & 2 Super g 2 races 1st race is the qualifier

THERE WILL BE NO DOWNHILL"

Knowing Sugarloaf's shit weather, I went on weather.com to check it.

- Tuesday: Few Snowshowers
- Wednesday: Few Snowshowers
- Thursday: Partly Cloudy
- Friday: Snowshowers


We all know that the weather up there can be extremely unpredictable. Now, last year, I recall overcast skies, 60mph winds, and -10 degree temps. And that was forecasted. Now, why the hell would they cancel a race a week in advance, esp at such an unpredictable mountain? Last year we canceled one of the training days the day before, moved the races around, etc.

I'm pissed. If they can run an SG on Wednesday and Thursday, they can hold DH training on Wednesday, and a race on Thursday.

 

post #2 of 16
 It's supposed to rain like crazy on Mon/Tues.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes, but the scheduled DH isn't supposed to start til Wednesday.Temps will be far below freezing by then to make everything nice and hardpack. The only reason that I can see them doing this is because they want the J3s to have a shot at their SG.

52+ miles on my DH and SG skis this season freeskiing, all for nothing. Even if I cut the 15 points in GS this weekend to make the 120 devo cut, it will still be too late for me to make it to FIS week.
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Three hours later...

Tuesday - Few Snowshowers
Wednesday - Few Snowshowers
Thursday - Partly Cloudy
Friday - Partly Cloudy
post #5 of 16
RTTT, don't treat it as wasted time. Use it as motivation to ski fast in SG and look for another race. There's the FIS Eastern Cup at the Loaf (not sure if theres a points cutoff for that); there's the Far West spring speed series at Mammoth if you can make it out there.

I don't get the decision, either; might be a cop-out because ski areas HATE hosting downhills. Even Whiteface doesn't have any this year.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by philcski View Post

RTTT, don't treat it as wasted time. Use it as motivation to ski fast in SG and look for another race. There's the FIS Eastern Cup at the Loaf (not sure if theres a points cutoff for that); there's the Far West spring speed series at Mammoth if you can make it out there.

I don't get the decision, either; might be a cop-out because ski areas HATE hosting downhills. Even Whiteface doesn't have any this year.

There is a cutoff for the EC at the Loaf, and there is no way in hell I'm dropping $1k to do a corn snow DH at a mountain that I have never skied on before. As for the Loaf, even if I drop this weekend at the two GS races, it will be too late for me to get into the EC at the Loaf. I'd have to get a FIS license and simply hope to be selected for the EC finals. That and FIS races are a pain in the ass to get into as an independent; I rarely get replies from the Eastern office, and they are really finiky with representation in FIS events.

I was told that it was partly due to lack of entry; only 14 men from VT signed up (I wasn't told how many ME kids or Independents would be running). Last year I recall there being about 35 people total for the men, and 15 for the women (at the end of the week there were 14 :( )
post #7 of 16
I can totally see lack of entry being the reason. Course prep costs so much for a downhill.  Also, maybe the FIS official was out and base coverage wasn't sufficient?  They might have needed to blow even more snow or something to bring it up to what was needed and that along with low numbers might have made it just not cost effective.  I know we lost the downhill here because of the resort wanting more money from the region to host the race. 
post #8 of 16
Sorry to hear that, RTTT. Two years ago, there were 40+ females, and 70+ guys in those DH's. Last year, almost all of the female teams were pulled, along with many of the guys {particularly the younger ones} following the tragedy before the SG {a fatality while free skiing on SG skis, for those unaware}. I don't think there was any concern for safety; the kids were just shocked, and very saddened. I have no idea why the numbers would be so low this year. Too bad. Not sure what is on the calendar.

My hunch, knowing a bit about Sugarloaf, is that the hill is not ready to race a DH, and they had planned to work it hard, before they got the rain forecast. It takes a great deal of time, and resources to get things ready. Just getting the netting up is very tedious. And, yes, it is costly. Sugarloaf is still hosting DH's, the ONLY venue in the East that does. Too bad that they decided to pull the plug on this. There's most likely concern about safety, as well, as this is the first DH experience for a lot of the competitors, including 14 year old first year J2's. Jim McCormick, the head of the competition center, and Doug Williams, the CVA Alpine Program Director are about as experienced as they come, so I'm sure that the decision has been well thought out, and is the right one. Hopefully they'll get in a lot of SG.

BTW, the race conditions at Mammoth are nothing like corn. High elevation, and great race conditions most years. It's a very expensive trip/series from the east....maybe more like $2500. As I recall, the charged a hefty entry, and required a $50 daily lift ticket purchase as well.  The out of region Eastern quota gets gobbled up fast by the regions top guys. But it has historically been a great series. In recent years very interesting as a number of racers have been gunning hard to try to make USST criteria in their last shot of the season. Two run DH is interesting, as well. Not suggesting that it makes sense, at all, just clarifying a couple of things. Maybe a Mammoth local will chime in, too.

Hope that somehow you somehow get a shot at a speed start, or two this year. I know how excited you were about it. Keep at it. We know you have the bug!!!
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Sorry to hear that, RTTT. Two years ago, there were 40+ females, and 70+ guys in those DH's. Last year, almost all of the female teams were pulled, along with many of the guys {particularly the younger ones} following the tragedy before the SG {a fatality while free skiing on SG skis, for those unaware}. I don't think there was any concern for safety; the kids were just shocked, and very saddened. I have no idea why the numbers would be so low this year. Too bad. Not sure what is on the calendar.

My hunch, knowing a bit about Sugarloaf, is that the hill is not ready to race a DH, and they had planned to work it hard, before they got the rain forecast. It takes a great deal of time, and resources to get things ready. Just getting the netting up is very tedious. And, yes, it is costly. Sugarloaf is still hosting DH's, the ONLY venue in the East that does. Too bad that they decided to pull the plug on this. There's most likely concern about safety, as well, as this is the first DH experience for a lot of the competitors, including 14 year old first year J2's. Jim McCormick, the head of the competition center, and Doug Williams, the CVA Alpine Program Director are about as experienced as they come, so I'm sure that the decision has been well thought out, and is the right one. Hopefully they'll get in a lot of SG.

BTW, the race conditions at Mammoth are nothing like corn. High elevation, and great race conditions most years. It's a very expensive trip/series from the east....maybe more like $2500. As I recall, the charged a hefty entry, and required a $50 daily lift ticket purchase as well.  The out of region Eastern quota gets gobbled up fast by the regions top guys. But it has historically been a great series. In recent years very interesting as a number of racers have been gunning hard to try to make USST criteria in their last shot of the season. Two run DH is interesting, as well. Not suggesting that it makes sense, at all, just clarifying a couple of things. Maybe a Mammoth local will chime in, too.

Hope that somehow you somehow get a shot at a speed start, or two this year. I know how excited you were about it. Keep at it. We know you have the bug!!!

Aside from the incident last year, I know alot of the kids are being fed through the FIS pipeline; J2s that would traditionally race in the USSA week are skipping and getting into the FIS week. There was alot of talk last year about getting NH in on the whole deal, as there are quite a few kids that would love to run a DH, yet no one pushed for the schedule to be posted on NHARA. I'd say there would be quite a few people, 20 or more, who would come from NH to run the Sugarloaf DH if it was posted on the NHARA site. Hopefully that goes through next year so more will enter.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Sorry to hear that, RTTT. Two years ago, there were 40+ females, and 70+ guys in those DH's. Last year, almost all of the female teams were pulled, along with many of the guys {particularly the younger ones} following the tragedy before the SG {a fatality while free skiing on SG skis, for those unaware}. I don't think there was any concern for safety; the kids were just shocked, and very saddened. I have no idea why the numbers would be so low this year. Too bad. Not sure what is on the calendar.

My hunch, knowing a bit about Sugarloaf, is that the hill is not ready to race a DH, and they had planned to work it hard, before they got the rain forecast. It takes a great deal of time, and resources to get things ready. Just getting the netting up is very tedious. And, yes, it is costly. Sugarloaf is still hosting DH's, the ONLY venue in the East that does. Too bad that they decided to pull the plug on this. There's most likely concern about safety, as well, as this is the first DH experience for a lot of the competitors, including 14 year old first year J2's. Jim McCormick, the head of the competition center, and Doug Williams, the CVA Alpine Program Director are about as experienced as they come, so I'm sure that the decision has been well thought out, and is the right one. Hopefully they'll get in a lot of SG.

BTW, the race conditions at Mammoth are nothing like corn. High elevation, and great race conditions most years. It's a very expensive trip/series from the east....maybe more like $2500. As I recall, the charged a hefty entry, and required a $50 daily lift ticket purchase as well.  The out of region Eastern quota gets gobbled up fast by the regions top guys. But it has historically been a great series. In recent years very interesting as a number of racers have been gunning hard to try to make USST criteria in their last shot of the season. Two run DH is interesting, as well. Not suggesting that it makes sense, at all, just clarifying a couple of things. Maybe a Mammoth local will chime in, too.

Hope that somehow you somehow get a shot at a speed start, or two this year. I know how excited you were about it. Keep at it. We know you have the bug!!!



Mammoth is totally amazing, my favorite place to ski anywhere, and if there's one hill in the country I'd feel comfortable jumping in a speed event on it would be there. It is the PERFECT speed hill. I have skied a SG there (which honestly I am not a speed skier and do not feel comfortable at that speed) and really loved it. And April is midwinter conditions there still, especially this year where they have a huge base and their biggest snow month hasn't even hit yet.

However you are very right about the entries getting snapped up. Hadn't really thought about that because it's not something I'd be getting involved in.
post #11 of 16
The spring series at Mammoth is traditionally the year-end race series that most of the best racers in the country {and many from Canada} attend. It takes place after US Nationals, and before the USST and NDS camps begin {also held at Mammoth}. Very accurate comment about mid winter snow in April. Tremendous. The race historically "fills up" with a variety of quotas {USSA regions, USST, foreign, development, etc.}. Maybe less so that at once did, as it is an expensive week these days. Last time mone of my kids went it was about $2500. I don't think it's what RTTT would be looking for. There are very few {like one?} USSA sanctioned DH's in the East, and to see this one cancelled is disappointing. He's been looking forward to it. I think it's too bad for Eastern racing. I don't see a bright future for DH in the East, at all.

BTW, it's 45 degrees, dumping about 2" of rain, and blowing 50+ at Sugarloaf right now. They had no choice but to cancel the DH event, and likely will have to cancel the SG, IMO. Two years ago, they hosted a NorAm DH week, that had been moved from Big Mountain. It was the one week of warm weather all winter, rained cats and dogs, and there was no racing. That happened after the racers had arrived from all over the country, etc. Disaster. They took a lot of heat for not pulling the plug earlier based on the forecast. No way to win in these decisions! and you wonder why more areas won't run speed races!
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't think the SG will get canceled, temps are supposed to drop again tonight, which should freeze everything. Maybe the J3 day and race will get canceled, but I don't see Thursday getting cut.
post #13 of 16
Hope you're right, as I know you've been looking forward to them. But...still almost 50. Wind still out of the south. I heard that the rain was incredible, maybe 4". The wind howled in the afternoon, shutting down the entire mountain. I hope that it sets up enough to groom and till during the day, but it's not a given, knowing how it works. It won't be below freezing until about sunrise. Just a lot to pull off, when the priority is going to be getting the entire mountain up and running. And they absolutely will not run a entry level SG on any icy track. Safety is a huge, huge concern. It's meant to be a fun, safe entry into SG for most. Hope they pull it off. Tall order, IMO.  
post #14 of 16
Update. They ran the J3 SG today. About 50 kids, 1:15 in length. Evidently they worked the trail hard, got the right temps, the netting hadn't pulled out, and things drained faster than expected. So presumably the two "seeded" SG's will be run tomorrow. Impressive work for the Sugarloaf Comp Center to pull this off; it would have been very easy to cancel. Hope it works out for RTTT.  
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Race ON.
post #16 of 16
 Well... you got a finish out of both races. Good job 

Hope you had fun out there.
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