Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, Dec. 5, 2000--Ski racing is not supposed to be a sister sport to bobsledding. At least, that is the consensus among the International Federation of Skiing (FIS) and the impetus behind a new slalom race format, which will debut in Madonna di Campiglio on December 13. Any racer who has skied in the latter portion of a slalom run knows he or she is at a disadvantage compared to the premier racers. This inequity in course conditions is exactly what the new format looks to combat.
The new slalom will involve four runs and two courses, rather than the two runs that presently take place on two courses. Thirty elite international racers will compete in the first run paired against one another. Only the winners of each pairing will continue to the second run, with the best racer in the losing group also moving on to round out the second run at 16 skiers.
On the same course, these 16 will again be divided into competing couples. The eight best will continue to the third and fourth runs, which will be held on a second course. The final result list will be compiled by adding the time of run two to the best time of either run three or four.
If the format is successful, former back-of-the-packers may look forward to a position on the front page of results lists.