So believe it our not, this saga has continued over the summer. Since all basic logic was being questioned heavily, as I mention above, I decided to break out the ol' grade school math equations and present an analysis to EICSL to better illustrate the unfair set up of making a snowboarder race skiers in a ski-gate GS course with no adjustments. This isn't perfect, I don't pretend it is, it is meant as illustrative of the overall point. The high level walkthrough:
The skier and snowboarder are on the same course, taking the same line, and traveling the same speed. Thus, all variables are held neutral to time aside from the distance a boarder needs to be from the gate itself relative to a skier (so by calculating the difference between the two, we can get an idea of extra distance traveled). Percent extra distance traveled vs. skier = percent slower time under these controlled conditions.
I chose a 68-inch skier and snowboarder, and assumed 45* of lean for all gates. I calculated the distance from this from the gate.
As skiers "crash" gates with their body, I assumed a 2-inch overlap of skier and gate, while for the snowboarder I assumed a 1-foot "buffer" as we cannot intersect gates as skiers can unless we have exceptional health insurance. So there is a 14-inch difference in distance to gate. Again, trying to keep things relatively simple here.
I calculated the difference in ellipse this 14-inch gap creates, and using a pretend course of 850 vertical drop (which is the Attitash Course, by the way) over 20-gates, I calculated the snowboarder rides an extra 9%, roughly, relative to the skier. So he/she should be 9% slower all else being equal.
As we all know, 9% disadvantage in a race is massive. This of course does not account for start-related differences (EICSL has perhaps 8-inch starting blocks for me to launch off, and flat starts the skiers skate). It doesn't account for the "slow snow" I have to ride given the extra distance I need to keep from the gates, or that I have to intersect the ruts differently--"fighting them" as opposed to riding them. It doesn't account for the aerodynamic differences as skiers can tuck more efficiently, grip to course with two edges vs. one, and so on... That easily gets us to the NASTAR handicap discount of 20%, arguably more for EICSL as the starting areas for NASTAR are generally better (sometimes yes, sometimes no) and the courses are more standardized relative to EICSL.
What I heard back (after they YouTubed a few snowboard GS runs):
"Speed boards" as they refer to them, where the rider "faces forward" do not drive as much lean over from the rider to turn. Therefore the above analysis does not relate to "speed board" riders... the implication is that "speed board" riders are similar to skiers in terms of how close we can get to a ski-gate.
Snowboarders don't lean over as "when their back is to the gate". So we can get closer to the gate on heelside turns. Again, no difference vs. a skier.
I was also told skiers can angulate the same as a snowboarder (even seen an EC turn from a skier?)
They claim skiers hitting gates slows them down, and so they are trained to not do this. Bullshit. Ever seen any skier in the parallel races? They hit those gates like their holding a football. Thus the overlap assumption shouldn't be a basis for a discount calculation.
"My calculations started at 6%, plus some of my points might bring down your discount percentage – if we continued." This is the portion of the response that irks me the most: that 6% is fair, and that "if we continued" that my entire argument would unravel. There is a pomposity to this I cannot wrap my head around.
At it core, EICSL is effectively stating that even when adjusted for differences in the sport, snowboarders are slower than skiers and not as competitive as racers. Period. Control for all differences--we will still beat you because you are of lesser talent and capability. Skiers and thus superior.
I am not entirely sure where to do here; if anywhere at all.