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Ski Cross.....what a waste of snow - Page 4

post #91 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post

It's just another "trash-sport" pseudo competition. The fact it's silly enough that the US is primarily represented by people who retired from alpine racing doesn't matter to the broadcasters. It's televised for the same reason that "Celebrity Apprentice" is: people who know nothing about sports (or business, as the case may be) find it entertaining, because it does not require that you know anything about the sport (or business) - indeed, it encourages lack of knowledge.

The primary benefit of ski cross is that it provides a practical demonstration that boarder cross is even more silly.

Aerials has about as much to do with skiing as diving does with swimming.

Moguls is basically a contest to see who can do a bizarrely regimented and highly specialized mini-task over and over really fast.

As for half-pipe boarding, I like the fact they always describe their spins in degrees ... a 1260 sounds like a ton of spinning, even though a figure skater does the same thing every time he (or she) does a triple axel: and without being tossed in the air by an engineered jump. It's around for the same reason death metal bands are. It allows the youthful spectator to feel he is way gnarly ... plus, the US wins most of the medals since the rest of the world is apparently less needful of feeling way gnarly, and they haven't gotten around to bringing in half-pipe skiers to provide a practical demonstration of how silly it is.
I agree.
post #92 of 113

A couple of comments. First it's a hell of a lot harder than it looks. I know guys, still in their prime and skiing in WC alpine races, who have tried it and could not believe the skill it takes to be good. These guys are top 100 world rank alpine guys, and didn't make it to one of the heats in something like three SX races. You need to master that funky starting gate, be small in the air, and not in the air too much, and you need to work the terrain to accelerate of every single bump possible. Land a jump the right way and you can gain from it. Miss is and slow down. The banked turns take a special type of clean carve and apex. And you need very, very fast skis. Your skis need to run like a WC SG ski. Then pretend you need to do it with three other guys.

To the poster who suggested a 2-3 mile course, that would be physically impossible, with all due respect. This is just brutal on your body. That's why you see guys who are built like speed skiers thrive in this. Very strong core, huge legs.

I happen to like it. And I've been around this ski racing thing for 50+ years. I have very little interest in moguls, aerials {is that skiing?} slopeside, or half pipe. But boarder cross and ski cross intrigue me. It's not going to be easy to grow in this country, as a "real" course takes a lot of work. And of course we have that constant liability issue. As a country we need to develop a feeder system of events, a "real" national team development program, and get it funded. If we care. Not sure if the equipment and softgoods companies will flock to it. They haven't yet. Very little money in it. So it may never thrive.

The reason why we saw DR and Puckett as our two competitors is that every high level competitor for the most part, is a USST alum. The coach, Tyler Shepard has been trying to pull this together on a shoestring to get a team to Vancouver. It's easiest to go to the well where you are connected, etc.  I guess we only had two guys qualify?  One of the best young Ski Cross talents in the US is skiing for Jamaica {dual citizenship}, Errol Kerr from Tahoe. Very talented alpine racer a few years ago. That's a fun story. An equally talented friend, Eric Holmer is his coach and tech. Eric was a millimeter away from the USST as a speed skier, himself.

Canada has put a lot of money into a program, in terms of funding, training venues, etc. We'll see where it goes. I'm a bit concerned that our friends at NBC have done on snow sports {all of them} no favors with the endless "crap" on prime time. Too bad, as there's a lot of good news and good people who could help the USSA/USST in their much needed mission of fund raising. It has helped Shaun White with what I heard is an annual income now estimated at $15 million.

post #93 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

... It's not going to be easy to grow in this country, as a "real" course takes a lot of work. And of course we have that constant liability issue.....


"mini" courses are totally doable and done...if people lobby their home resort management for "flow" terrain parks and also for rollers elsewhere, you can get some aspects of this on the cheap with current liability arrangements. 

I'll be interested to see the bump 4x bike racing gets in the summer as an outgrowth of the Olympic coverage.

The suggestion to have an even longer course is cool in a certain way -- they wouldn't be able to do the same size jumps, etc. with a course twice as long, and I don't know that it would be good tv, but having a couple really extended rhythm sections to get pulses really elevated and place a premium on pump timing could make for some interesting racing.

Now if they'll only start putting mandatory wallrides and such as mandatory elements in banked slaloms -- that would be another fun twist on things. 
post #94 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

These guys are top 100 world rank alpine guys...


Not quite.

The finalists in ski cross:

Gold: Michael Schmid
He apparently was an alpine racer (same name and birthyear, no birtdate listed on FIS alpine records ... so it might be different guy)
Hasn't raced in an alpine race since April 2000. His career was limited to FIS races, in which he placed between 56th and 100th.  His highest ranking on the FIS points list was in Super G in 2000, when re ranked 2177th in the world.


Silver: Andreas Matt
Doesn't seem to be any record of him racing alpine, which either means he never did, or never at the FIS level.
 

Bronze: Audun Groenvold
He actually was a legitimate World Cup racer (as, of course, was Rahlves) and was, at one time, among the top 100 in the world in speed events. He had 5 top 10 World Cup finishes, though the most recent was about nine years ago. He still races in alpine races, and is currently ranked 440th in the world in Super G on the FIS point list.

Other Finalist: Christopher Delbosco
Never raced at higher level than Nor Ams, where his best finish was 14th, in a slalom at Hunter Mountain in 2000. At that time he was ranked 270th on the FIS point list in slalom.

post #95 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post



... His career was limited to FIS races, in which he placed between 56th and 100th...


Quoted for hilarity again. 

They're world-class athletes, and in many cases were world-class alpine racers (same for several of the snowboarders in this event btw). 

If you really think you don't need much skill to do this, try a course.  Report back.
post #96 of 113
For the people who have only seen a few ski-cross runs on TV, it's somewhat understandable that they might not realize how skilled the competitors are.

If you had the opportunity to watch competitors from several nations practising in and out of the ski-cross course, and the competition runs, you would have a much better appreciation of their impressive skill level.  When you see them free-skiing, you see a very high calibre of skiing, right on par with  WC alpine athletes.

Most of the competitors at the Blue Mt. event were on a 23m FIS GS ski, a bunch of the larger men were on a 27m FIS GS ski.  The service techs were prepping pretty much the way you would expect in any WC event.  This might also give you a bit of an idea about what kind of competitors are involved and how they are skiing.
post #97 of 113

For the "little final":

Enak Gavaggio
Topped out at the Europa cup level, where he last raced in 1996. Best finish was a 44th in Super G. Highest ranking on an FIS point list was 254th, in GS back in 1997.
 

Davey Barr
No record of having been an alpine racer at the FIS level.
 

Scott Kneller
Raced in the Australia New Zealand Cup races and FIS races as recently ast last September (end of the Souther hemispher season). Currently ranked 867th in the world on the Super G points list, and was as high as 803rd recently.
 

Filip Flisar
Still races in FIS races, and was at the Europa Cup level a few years ago. His current best position on the points lists is 637th in Super Combined, though he ranked as high as 252nd on the SC list a couple of years ago.

post #98 of 113
They are certainly very good athletes. Daron Rahlves, obviously, was an extremely successful World Cup racer. Most of them were good enough to make national ski teams in their prime, and some are still pretty close to their prime.

Just a matter of stating facts, though, they are not "top 100" world cup racers, though a few of them were at that level some years ago. Nor are they remarkable compared to the typical field in a  Nor Am, or higher-level FIS, race.
post #99 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post

Not quite.

The finalists in ski cross:

[snip]

That was his point.  I think you mis-read what he said.  The "these guys" he was talking about are top-100 alpine guys, and the point he was making was that they failed at SX when they tried it.  He was not trying to imply that the top SX guys are also top-100 alpine guys.

Not that I have any ability to tell whether what he said was accurate or not, I'm just clarifying his point that I think you missed. 
post #100 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post




Not quite.

The finalists in ski cross:

Gold: Michael Schmid
He apparently was an alpine racer (same name and birthyear, no birtdate listed on FIS alpine records ... so it might be different guy)
Hasn't raced in an alpine race since April 2000. His career was limited to FIS races, in which he placed between 56th and 100th.  His highest ranking on the FIS points list was in Super G in 2000, when re ranked 2177th in the world.


Silver: Andreas Matt
Doesn't seem to be any record of him racing alpine, which either means he never did, or never at the FIS level.
 

Bronze: Audun Groenvold
He actually was a legitimate World Cup racer (as, of course, was Rahlves) and was, at one time, among the top 100 in the world in speed events. He had 5 top 10 World Cup finishes, though the most recent was about nine years ago. He still races in alpine races, and is currently ranked 440th in the world in Super G on the FIS point list.

Other Finalist: Christopher Delbosco
Never raced at higher level than Nor Ams, where his best finish was 14th, in a slalom at Hunter Mountain in 2000. At that time he was ranked 270th on the FIS point list in slalom.



I'm talking about the guys that I KNOW.....have had Alpine WC starts THIS YEAR and last, top 100 WR's. These are very good world class alpine racers that were asked to try SX. And they got smoked, even after some training. Just using that to illustrate that it's not quite that simple. I completely understand the make-up of the current guys doing it, and the accurate details that you provided. Guess I wasn't clear. I was not suggesting for a minute that anybody in SX in Vancouver was a current WC alpine athlete.....or close to it.
post #101 of 113
I think the point i saw in those winning postings about past is that, these guys are not wash outs,

they never made it in that sport at all, so how can they be "wash outs"

They just excel in a different area than others.

Most of you probably suck driving a car too, but I still drive on the road despite you being there, as I'll sill like ski cross and still ski on the hill. =)

post #102 of 113
I would bet that if you threw some of the best current alpine WC skiers in a course with the "wash outs" that most of said current WC'ers would get their asses handed to them on a plate....Rahlves fresh off the WC did pretty lousy....and as much as I was a fan of his on WC circuit...he kinda sux in this.
post #103 of 113
This thread somehow conjures up an image of an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

Snow+ bumps/jumps/banked turns + skiers grinding it out head to head to head to head = WIN. I like it and find it exciting. I love anything downhill, even some XC, too. I'm not fond of this course set up as much as the X games set up in Aspen earlier. That stupid ramp right from the start separates the bunch too quickly.
post #104 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post

I would bet that if you threw some of the best current alpine WC skiers in a course with the "wash outs" that most of said current WC'ers would get their asses handed to them on a plate....Rahlves fresh off the WC did pretty lousy....and as much as I was a fan of his on WC circuit...he kinda sux in this.

 Richie has it. Here's one example. Warner Nickerson, about 11 FIS GS points, WR is about 65. Three WC GS starts this year. One of the 5-6 best GS skiers in the U.S. Did the SX at Alpe D'Huez this year. Finished 74th in a field of 78. Two other recent USST skiers, Pat Duran and JJ Johnson were almost as slow. It is NOT easy. I think most really under-estimate this.

I also want to respond to the point about DelBosco as an alpine racer. Many felt that he was among North America's very best talents as an alpine racer. He has dual citizenship, and grew up in Vail. Was a force in his age group, and was pretty much an uncoachable handful. His last two races were FIS races in the Rocky Mountain spring series, which draws a very strong field. He was second in one race, 5th in another. Beat TJ Lanning, USST A team member and Jake Zamansky, 2010 Olympian, among others. And skiing to a top 15 {never hit a top 10} in a NorAm is pretty good skiing by itself. I know guys who are 25 point skiers who have yet to be in the top 15 in a NorAm. DelBosco had it. He quit at 18, after being kicked off the D team, and stripped of a junior national title due to a positive test for THC. Also is a recovering alcoholic, who went through some awful times. Too bad that he went for it and missed the podium, as his is a story of really pulling it together. He's always been a tremendous athlete.  To say that he wasn't a world class alpine racer is simply wrong. He was, as a junior.

As I've said, there is skill involved in this, and it's skiing skill, strength, endurance, tactics. Not like moguls or aerials. But getting it off the ground to compete on the world stage will not be easy in this country. The entire USSA/USST seems to be in need of more funding. At least that's what I hear.
post #105 of 113
I once saw the end of a boarder-cross race in Texas.  The INS (the fat guys with the guns) won the race and arrested about a dozen illegal immigrants attempting to come into our country for the purpose of working hard and hopefully having a better life.  Boarder-cross on snow is a new concept for me.  Maybe the race can be set up so the losers of each heat get taken home to Croatia, Austria or wherever in back of an INS truck?  Now that would improve NBC's ratings.
Edited by quant2325 - 2/24/10 at 12:06am
post #106 of 113
This has to be the final word on the subject. Magic quant just magic.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

I once saw the end of a boarder-cross race in Texas.  The INS (the fat guys with the guns) won the race and arrested about a dozen illegal immigrants attempting to come into our country for the purpose of working hard and hopefully having a better life.  Boarder-cross on snow is a new concept for me.  Maybe the race can be set up so the losers of each heat get taken home to Croatia, Austria or wherever in back of an INS truck?  Now that would improve NBC's ratings.
post #107 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post

This thread somehow conjures up an image of an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

Snow+ bumps/jumps/banked turns + skiers grinding it out head to head to head to head = WIN. I like it and find it exciting. I love anything downhill, even some XC, too. I'm not fond of this course set up as much as the X games set up in Aspen earlier. That stupid ramp right from the start separates the bunch too quickly.

The X-Games were a more gliding-type course...@the Olympics some athletes aren't even making it over the first set of jumps.  The very tight transitions there (ie tight radius if you measured the "swoop" of the jump shape) made that very technical, and actually similar to moguls but in a way that stayed pretty much the same for all racers.

There's a lot of art to the way these courses get designed -- they need to be safe for the athletes, ideally allow multiple places to pass, and also allow eye-pleasing action.  It's really an art form somewhere between architecture and sculpture. 

For people who mountain bike, if you can find a pumptrack or dual slalom course and ride it this coming season (if you haven't sampled either already) it can give you some "crossover" experience to some of what's going on on-snow for these events, plus both of those are great workouts on a bike. 
post #108 of 113
It's in the Olympics because it has a long history in the ski world as a classic way to settle your differences.

post #109 of 113
 Out of za vayy... LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

It's in the Olympics because it has a long history in the ski world as a classic way to settle your differences.



post #110 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post



Apparently the current issue as relates to ski areas: is the manpower and water used to make snow for halfpipes a good use of resources? This is no small amount. Building a 22ft. halfpipe this year because of so little natural snow used something like 900,000 gallons of water.

The average US resident uses about half a million gallons of water per year.  So 900,000 gallons is, indeed, a small amount.
post #111 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

To the poster who suggested a 2-3 mile course, that would be physically impossible, with all due respect. This is just brutal on your body. That's why you see guys who are built like speed skiers thrive in this. Very strong core, huge legs.

 


That was me.  You may be right.  But maybe it should be a little longer, to give more  opportunity to change positions.  Also, what about putting in a bumps/ungroomed section?  In other words, make it even more different from standard alpine downhill -- like trail running vs. a road race.   
post #112 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post




That was me.  You may be right.  But maybe it should be a little longer, to give more  opportunity to change positions.  Also, what about putting in a bumps/ungroomed section?  In other words, make it even more different from standard alpine downhill -- like trail running vs. a road race.   

Check the transitions at the start -- for this course the tight trannies make it similar to bumps, but with fairly equal conditions for each racer and heat. 

Listen to how hard they're breathing at the end.  You kind of have a tradeoff between courses like the current one with big but fairly safe jumps, and maxing their heart rates more and having to have smaller jumps among other things.
post #113 of 113
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post




 Richie has it. Here's one example. Warner Nickerson, about 11 FIS GS points, WR is about 65. Three WC GS starts this year. One of the 5-6 best GS skiers in the U.S. Did the SX at Alpe D'Huez this year. Finished 74th in a field of 78. Two other recent USST skiers, Pat Duran and JJ Johnson were almost as slow. It is NOT easy. I think most really under-estimate this.

I also want to respond to the point about DelBosco as an alpine racer. Many felt that he was among North America's very best talents as an alpine racer. He has dual citizenship, and grew up in Vail. Was a force in his age group, and was pretty much an uncoachable handful. His last two races were FIS races in the Rocky Mountain spring series, which draws a very strong field. He was second in one race, 5th in another. Beat TJ Lanning, USST A team member and Jake Zamansky, 2010 Olympian, among others. And skiing to a top 15 {never hit a top 10} in a NorAm is pretty good skiing by itself. I know guys who are 25 point skiers who have yet to be in the top 15 in a NorAm. DelBosco had it. He quit at 18, after being kicked off the D team, and stripped of a junior national title due to a positive test for THC. Also is a recovering alcoholic, who went through some awful times. Too bad that he went for it and missed the podium, as his is a story of really pulling it together. He's always been a tremendous athlete.  To say that he wasn't a world class alpine racer is simply wrong. He was, as a junior.

As I've said, there is skill involved in this, and it's skiing skill, strength, endurance, tactics. Not like moguls or aerials. But getting it off the ground to compete on the world stage will not be easy in this country. The entire USSA/USST seems to be in need of more funding. At least that's what I hear.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Muleski View Post

Top qualification times for the skiers was just over 1:12. Top snowboard times were 1:20. Skiers faster.
 

I think it's interesting. It takes a hell of a lot more skill that I think most people realize. One needs to ski clean in the turns, be very aerodynamic in the air, and try to keep the air time to a minimum. Add to that, being able to work all of the terrain to generate and increase speed, and starting in that style gate. Last, ski prep is critically important. Skis must be fast. Based on the air time that NBC gave it, their "research" must show some level of interest. I hate to hear and read that the American viewers are bored with something like the DH. If I had the right video feed, I'd watch every racer, top to bottom in every alpine event. But as we know, we rabid ski race fans aren't the viewing public.

 

If the USSA/USST wants to get serious about a ski cross program, it's going to take some time. While Casey Puckett and Daron Rahlves have given a lot to this sport, they're both mid-late thirties, and very much doing this part time. They are two guys who have been coached to develop the ski cross specific skills, but physically they're beat up.  Nothing part time about the Canadian program, or the Swiss. The Canadians are well funded and very serious. We have no training venues, no feeder system, limited coaching, etc. I don't know whether it's something worth trying to fund, or not. In the meantime, it's Tyler Shepard with a team of two ex {at this point very ex} alpine world cuppers, and a handful of other ex USST guys, I do know that there is a lot of interest among many younger very high level ski racers in the country who would like to give this a try. Hard to jump in, though.


This is a very honest take on what is happening in SX in the US.

Two winters ago i decided i wanted to try sx, it took me about 30 emails and 10 phone calls to find some races here in colorado.

Skiercross in the US on the grassroots level is really lacking, the only real series are via the USASA, and in no way linked to the USSA or FIS.

There is hope, though,  there will be a new FIS NorAm SX series in CO next year, and skiercross will be in the revolution tour next year as well

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