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World Cup Skiers Bash FIS Changes

World Cup Skiers Bash FIS Changes

American World Cup racers speak out against the FIS's changes to ski dimension regulations.
By Heather Hansman
posted: 08/19/2011
Ligety Worlds GS win

In a move that they say will improve safety on the World Cup circuit the FIS recently changed the regulations for ski dimensions. For the 2012-13 season they’re increasing the minimum length of Downhill, GS and Super G skis, and increasing the minimum turn radius for all skis except for Slalom. The biggest difference is a jump from a 27-meter radius to a 40-meter radius in men’s GS skis.

World Cup racers, like Ted Ligety and Steve Nyman, think that the changes are a step back in terms of safety and innovation, and they’re speaking out against them.

Ligety, who skied the new 40-meter-radius GS skis. just posted a blog post ripping into the FIS for the changes. “I finally had the chance to try a prototype of the 40m GS skis. And quite frankly, they suck,” he said. 

According to the athletes, skis haven’t had a radius that long since the mid 80s, and GS skis radii have been less than 30 meters since the mid 90s, when today’s racers were starting to ski competitively. 

That means they have to adjust their technique to the new skis, and make longer straighter turns, which they say ups the chance for injury, and will move ski technology and technique backwards. Warner Nickerson, who demoed the skis with Ligety says that, “Having 40 meter radius skis will completely change GS.  It will bring back stepping, sliding the entire top of the turn, and the dominance of brute strength.  Finesse will no longer be a concern in modern Giant Slalom.”

Because of the racers concern, and industry backlash, the FIS could take back the changes. Ski Racing magazine says that “FIS officials report "the ski industry is requesting a reconsideration of the change to the new radius for giant slalom skis and the reduction of standing height and this matter will be addressed in late August.”


reviews of World Cup Skiers Bash FIS Changes
A less responsive GS ski, and they say that will be safer??? Has anybody at the FIS actually skied? Political correctness and liberalism in sports is the quickest way to increase the rate and severity of injuries.
I'm amazed that anyone on the FIS actually skis? The group that makes changes like this have their heads firmly installed in their ass! 40 meter radius skis for GS? When every ski company is making incredible innovative changes to go this direction BACKWARDS is absurd! How in the world do they expect a 140lb beginning FIS racer to ever make the turn? Ahh nobody ever expects a beginning FIS racer to have equiptment like's the rules and if they ever do well in a 1st run they get tossed, because that's just another thing the FIS will eventually expect! GET REAL!
So the FIS expects the ski companies to make specialty skis just for the World Cup and Europa Cup athletes for 2011-12. And it will eventually trickle down. Yet another set of molds. They already have to make skis for full on FIS competitors , Masters, Juniors and Mitey Mites. Just what a heavily troubled industry needs. The sheer beauty of ski racing is the trickle down effect that ski design has on our normal everyday skis, and technique. The FIS should require courses that require constant contact of the ski to the snow, making them carve the entire turn and not encourage skidding sideways as in a pivot at the beginning or the end of the turn.
Safety is not all about race day. Imagine all the J1&2 racers on training / freeskiing days on what amounts to be SG skis. On public trails skiing "in traffic". Not safe for anyone. Many 1st yr J2 skiers are just hitting their growth spurt. Many less than 140lbs. Even the serious kids are just beginning to hit the weights at that age. Put them on a 35 meter ski on a public trial with various snow conditions and there will be more accidents. Hopefully ski manufacturers and WC racers unite and persuade FIS to take a more rational approach to safety. Course prep and set improves safety - not longer straighter skis
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