Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More on FIS Giant Slalom Skis!

When GS Skis were shaped!

Carving a ski is a beautiful skill. Watching a World Cup skier carve a giant slalom ski with his hip brushing the snow, from one turn to the next, is exhilarating and magical.
This kind of unmatched skill, entices all snow sport participants and fans to watch the best perform. 
This is what World Cup, Giant Slalom used to be about 4 years ago, until the FIS screwed up the sport. 
They mandated that GS skis should not have as much shape or curve from tip to tail. This changes the way skiers can arc around the gates. Rather than seeing clean round curves and tracks in the snow; you now see a skidding, sliding, bouncing, struggling ski racer. The FIS is putting the best skiers in the world, into situations where they at times, look like total beginners.  
Under the noble assumption that carving is bad for athletes, due to knee injury and bad accidents, the FIS in their infinite wisdom has assumed that if the skis don’t arc round turns; a ski racer is less likely to get out of control, run into barriers and is less likely to get injured.  No scientific study or record of events has been initiated or consulted by the FIS, to back up these assumptions.
In my opinion, after observing and competing and officiating in ski racing for 40 years, making the skis less curved or straighter, requires and trends toward GS courses that are straighter and set with more distance,  because it’s difficult to arc straight skis into tight turning gates. Therefore: the distance between the gates increases, and the off-set is reduced, so that the racers can make the next gate. 

This causes what we used to deal with in the 70ies, racers heading in straighter lines, throwing the skis sideways, into big holes or chatters in the snow, at or below the gates. Straight skis also, are much more difficult to make hold on bullet proof, injected snow and therefore harder to control on fast, steep, courses. 
Bring ski design and shape back to somewhere between 25 and 28 meters and  185cm to 190cm in length. Make the courses shorter and use wider slopes. Make course setting, rounder, in accord with the ability of the skier and the ski to perform carved high angle turns. This will slow GS speed (to a reasonable 35 to 40mph and give racers the chance to develop techniques that offer control and elegance.  Take out blind corners and long, steep, narrow passages. 
We already know what will happen if the new FIS rules are employed, it’s obvious, we had it before, we will go back to 1970ies skiing. Creating and letting new technologies thrive, like ski design, makes the sport better and more fun to watch. The FIS officials are not future thinkers, ski designers or engineers. They are old men, with old ideas. The ski manufacturers are the creators that will make skiing exciting, not at the peril of the athletes, but with the creativity of what the human body has to offer the sport. 
If the FIS wants to reduce terrible injuries and increase safety; they should address the jumps on some of the World Cup Downhill courses, that’s where the serious injuries and life threatening accidents have  occurred recently.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Great post -- with solutions... !