This is a letter and suggestion to both USSS and FIS concerning penalty adjustments. As the rules currently exist, any calculated race penalty is automatically raised to the category minimum, and competitors’ race points added to that which results in their posted result. The higher quality the field (meaning the lower the calculated penalty) the higher an individual’s posted result will be.

While ski racing encourages racers tatted as high quality of races as they can to compete, grow and learn, at, the current system is actually DIScouraging to those who wish to lower their point profiles. As a matter of practicality and allocation of limited resources, why spend the money to go to a race you know you have no chance of actually scoring a result?

Let’s take our hypothetical 100 point racer attending a marquis race like the Buck Hill Invitational at the beginning of the season. In years gone by at the race (pre FIS this year) the race might calculate to a 20 point race, but the minimum allowed score was 25. Five points was added to everyone’s result. Our 100 point skier skied well that day, with 70 race points, and actually SKIED to a legitimate 90 point result. With the 5 point penalty, he got himself a 95 point result. It’s at least some progress.

Now, with ENL FIS and sub-standard vertical hills, that minimum penalty is 75. Our theoretical racer now is scored to a 145 result. That is DIScouraging to look at. He certainly did not ski like a 145 point day. The result is that the racer that SHOULD be going to these races with higher quality fields to watch and learn, stays away.

I propose a fix to this system. Instead of simply adding penalty points to everybody’s score and adjusting them upwards, go ahead and keep your minimum penalties. Let’s say it’s 75. But also use the CALCULATED penalty and race points to apply the racer’s results. Everybody that skies to a sub 75 result, gets a 75 result in their race history. Those with an above 75 result get that. While a racer isn’t going to improve their points for the day below that, at least the above 75 skier will still be motivated to go to the race. And, after all, isn’t that what we want? For more people to WANT to come to the races, have fun, learn, and improve? The future of the sport depends on it.

— David Tengdin
Minneapolis, Minn.
Buck Hill Ski Team

This letter was submitted in response to the articleU.S. Ski & Snowboard views Buck Hill FIS venue, Chuck Stone Memorial as ‘sub-standard.'” Have some thoughts on this? Send a letter to the editor. If it’s good, we’ll publish it.

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