Feel free to reply to my thoughts, experiences, and whatever comes out of this head of mine. blah blah blah

Monday, July 25, 2011

Reality Check FIS

With all the recent talk about the ski regulation changes I want to put my two cents in. I think it is a horrible decision to make these changes and such drastic ones. The FIS needs to have a reality check. The first thing they need to face is that ski racing is dangerous! That is why people get hurt! I accept that I may get hurt every time I push out of the starting gate but I love this sport and that is why I make that push every time I line up to race. I don't know if my Mom likes that I think that way but thats the reality!

I know the intentions of FIS are to make the sport safer but how do you make throwing your body down a steep icy slope filled with jumps and blind turns safe? Yes, control what you can control, but what they are doing to the sport is a huge step backwards. Ski racing has developed technologically over the past few years at a dramatic rate. Look at Michael Von Grunigen in 1996.

Now the current best in the World, Ted Ligety. Tell me which one is more appealing to the eye?

Nothing against Michael, he was one of my childhood heros. My point is FIS rumbles about trying to capture a bigger audience. This move clearly wont attract more people to the sport. The difference in power, athleticism, speed is drastic. This is what people want to see. FIS needs to put their money toward developing our TV portrayal or making the courses safer for us through course prep (jump building, snow consistency...)

Back to the skis, the difference is huge! Current 27m radius minimum length 185cm (i think)? To a 195cm and a 40m radius minimum. What we know as racers is the current desire to carve a clean turn is our main goal. If they place these limits upon us we will find a way to make the carve happen. During that exploration I think people are still going to get hurt trying to adapt to the new regulations. A reason I think racers are getting hurt is because FIS is always changing these regulations and we are figuring out how to use our bodies in a different way, trying to adjust to the new tempo these skis put upon us. With this change the course sets are going to have to be different which will be another adjustment. I feel if the racers will have a few more years to adjust to the equipment the injury rate will decline.

Another reason for the injuries is the last changes FIS placed upon us. They said wider skis will lower the injury rate. COME ON!!! That move was absurd. All the racers said this wouldn't be the case yet FIS still pushed these changes through. A wider ski will put so much more torque on the knee than a skinnier one. It is pushing so much more pressure to the outside of the ski when on edge.

The last change also put a huge strain on the ski manufacturers by requiring them to reproduce skis for all the World Cup racers in one year and then everyone in two years. This really really put a huge financial strain upon the companies as well as a quality control issue. We were going out there testing all these new skis seeing if which was best and which even worked on a course. Sometimes it was scary because you push out of a starting gate not knowing how the skis are even going to react and then they don't. Some react too much, some too little!!! Now these new changes are requiring the companies produce skis for everyone in one years time for the whole world! I don't know if the companies can even handle this. If FIS keeps these moves up they are going to kill themselves (maybe for the better) but they are also going to kill our sport!

On the speed side I think some of the changes are for the better. In DH they went back to a skinnier ski but raised the length up from 215 to 218 and are making the women ski on 215, the radius went up as well. And SG doesn't change much aside from the width issue and radius. We are currently skiing on skis within the regulations with Fischer and winning. So I guess thats good!

I will stop my rant now. I know these rules aren't solidified yet and I hope FIS reconsiders some of their proposed changes. The proposal is ridiculous!

My Recommendations
Reduce ski width and keep the same radius and length in DH and SG
GS reduce width and raise the radius to 30m
These were the old regulations and FIS wont go back to them because they aren't willing to admit their last mistake. I am just fearful they we aren't going anywhere with these new changes, all it creates are more blind changes.

I take that back.....

I think Bode made a good point. Take all regulations off of the ski companies. Allow them to develop what they want to develop. I feel like these regulations are making the companies create skis that nobody is going to want to buy. Who's going to buy a 40m radius GS ski? And what 16 year old is going to be able to ski on a pair of them? If we can create whatever we want to create we will make the fastest best stuff possible and it will be the safest. These companies aren't going to want to put us on some unsafe product. We are an investment to them. It will also allow the companies to push technology and push the skiing industry.

FIS is killing our sport. We need to start our own tour.