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Atom Ant

Snowboard time handicap vs. skiing, racing

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Sorry for any typos, this is being done on the phone.

Thought it would be interesting to gauge opinions on this, as many of us race in night leagues/ beer leagues where our times are compared to skiiers.  For example, I fart around in EICSL racing with my wife and father, and they make me race against the skiiers as opposed to the 20 or so snowboarders.  I receive no adjustment in handicap score or time.  The starting posts to the usually flat first 3-4 gates are about 8 inches high.  They use GS ski gates, and have less offset then found commonly in a snowboard specific course.  Etc. Etc.  I am sure this is not unique to my experience.

Given these clear disadvantages, and let's use a 30 second course as baseline for the discussion, what would you peg the snowboarders time-based handicap at?  2 seconds?  3?  None?

 

Further, if you were running the league, what changes would you implement to correct any disadvantages for a truer comparison to skiiers?  Changes can be practical (raised starting posts) or other (placing snowboarders in the ranking for trophies based on adjusted handicap, skiiers based on time).  Or none should the rationale be there.

Curious where the minds at-large fall on this one, and what the reasoning is.

 

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15 minutes ago, Atom Ant said:

they make me race against the skiiers as opposed to the 20 or so snowboarders

Why do they make you do that?

 

I think NASTAR's handicaps are a decent place to start- https://www.nastar.com/disciplines

Two longer 4x4s with spike mounts make good raised starting posts (allow you to pull) and help with the start disparity. Skiers don't mind them, it's what they mount the start wand onto...

 

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For reference, here are the ski cross vs. snowboard cross times from the Vancouver Olympics, where they used the same course: https://wiki.fis-ski.com/index.php/Ski_Cross_vs._Snowboard_Cross_times,_speeds_and_percentage_differences_Vancouver_2010

The best time in men's ski-cross was about 10% faster than the fastest time in SBX.

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They don't believe you'er on a snowboard because it's not a twin tip? Ask them if they have a different category for non race skis.   I was told I couldn't race because I wasn't on skis and I asked to see the rule. Then raced just to piss off the skiers by beating them.  They then went with snowboard group and NASTAR  handicap.   I would go with the NASTAR handicaps too.  When I raced with no starting post I used a set of ski poles and told bystanders to watch out as I threw the poles to the side after two poles.  It knocked off more than a second

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46 minutes ago, Dan said:

For reference, here are the ski cross vs. snowboard cross times from the Vancouver Olympics, where they used the same course: https://wiki.fis-ski.com/index.php/Ski_Cross_vs._Snowboard_Cross_times,_speeds_and_percentage_differences_Vancouver_2010

The best time in men's ski-cross was about 10% faster than the fastest time in SBX.

Hi Dan,

FYI, those events were on different days and there were differences in the jump takeoff between the snowboard cross course and the ski cross course, so comparing the time differences is not really accurate/helpful.

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15 minutes ago, noschoolrider said:

Hi Dan,

FYI, those events were on different days and there were differences in the jump takeoff between the snowboard cross course and the ski cross course, so comparing the time differences is not really accurate/helpful.

Thanks, I stand corrected. 

Edited by Dan

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they make me race against the skiiers as opposed to the 20 or so snowboarders...

This was not my decision or request.  The race committee decided that my times were too fast to compare me against the other snowboarders (their opinion).  Thus I am in with the skiers now.  I suppose on one hand I don't truly care much, and yet on the other hand this series is extra cost and time at resorts I don't normally prefer to ride at, so if I am going to do it I want to be able to actually compete (and I like competing).  

I also like the Nastar approach with the 15% discount on handicap.  I suppose my suggestion to the committee would be to change the rules to award series points based race handicap as opposed to time (currently they only group racers into divisions based on handicap, and award points based on time).  This might even things out a bit.  Of course, higher starting posts might be nice too.

Was just curious if any other beer league racers here face the same issue or if this is unique.

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42 minutes ago, Atom Ant said:

Was just curious if any other beer league racers here face the same issue or if this is unique.

Unique. I've never heard or encountered being pulled from snowboards and put into the ski group. My counter would be do they take the slowest skiers and throw them into the snowboard group???

LUDICROUS!

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Mine was beer league.  We have about 35 teams top 5 on each team count one has to be female. Same teams were winning and cheery picking best people off others teams so they made top ten teams pro and the rest rec, but run NASTAR handicap for age/equipment   Then awarded fastest handicap  male/female skier/tele/snowboarder  It took five years to get 2x4 posts for the wand that I can push off of.   In other races here skier/boardercross/banked slalom/ park,  age group is every five years for skiers  and until twenty five then 25 and up for boarders 

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I see three possible solutions - 1, your beer league gets with the program and joins NASTAR where this has all been worked out, 2, you take your business to a proper NASTAR beer league, 3, use poles to start and push to the first gate or so and have an accomplice collect them for you, and become a master wax technician.  Of course the lame solution is to just suck it up and try to have fun, but I agree if you're going to go to the effort and expense you should be able to race for real.

In NASTAR, everyone competes against everyone else - skiers, snowboarders, telemarkers, adaptives - and the standings are determined by calculated points based on time, age, gender, handicap, and equipment discount.  Your league is obviously run by hacks.

By the way, in my opinion "lightweight" GS boards like the Kessler 180 were made for beer league!!  Unfortunately I can't do it this year, but I had a good year last year.

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I think there are too many variables in a course to say there's one handicap for comparing ski times to snowboard times. Off the top of my head, some factors-

Flat vs Steep courses: on courses where skiers can skate, they will be faster every time. If the first 3 or 4 gates are pretty flat at your home hill, you're at a pretty big disadvantage right there. 

Straight vs "Turny" courses: I've found that alpine snowboarders will generally do better in comparison on more turny courses. It helps eliminate the skier's advantage of being able to tuck through parts of the course. Tight, aggressive turns are where alpine boards are meant to shine, right?

Ski Gates vs Snowboard Gates: Racing on ski gates is... annoying to say the least. When you have to ride ~3 feet outside the gate you have to cover more ground than a skier will. 

Ski course vs Snowboard course: What I mean by this is the fundamental differences in how ski and snowboard courses are set. I find ski courses to be more of a "path down the hill", just getting from point A (the start) to point B (the finish). Snowboard courses should be set very rhythmically, and it's easy to get into a rhythm on our courses because of this but almost impossible when the horizontal and vertical offset is different for every gate on a skier course.

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I wrote the committee.  My proposals:

1) Work with the mountains to determine the easiest route to install higher starting posts.  Should the issue of availability, cost, etc. come up EICSL would offer to both provide, pay for and bring to the mountain the requested starting posts.  (Note: I am willing to personally pay for this).

2) Require at least one snowboarder to be on the racing committee.  This will bring to the forefront the particulars of the other sport involved in this program / league.  At minimum, key decisions should be run by a "snowboard consultant" or sorts, to ensure the input / agreement is there.  I myself am not fully sure I could be a member of the race committee due to time restraints (although I would be interested) but am always willing to throw a snowboard racer's perspective into the conversation.

3) Adjust the points allocation system and thus ranking system from being a time-based system to a handicap based system.  The highest number of points would be awarded to the racer per class that yields the lowest handicap based on time.  Thus, this would have absolutely no effect on skiers and this currently conforms to the current system.  Which brings me to:

4) Adjust the handicap calculation for snowboarders to provide a "discount".  NASTAR already does this, as does nearly every beer league in the United States.  In NASTAR, this discount is -15% based on the strict guidelines for a NASTAR course.  EICSL courses differ from NASTAR courses, of course, so there would need to be a discussion regarding what this discount actually would be.  Of course, the discount is based upon the noted, and widely recognized disadvantages snowboarders face in a skier focused course. 

_______________________

Personally I think the above are more than reasonable.  This is a very ski-centered beer league, so it will be interesting to see how they react.  Jack-- to me they are not hacks, but rather people who honestly have never once considered accommodating snowboarders other than simply allowing us to run.  These days, that simply isn't good enough--snowboarding is here to stay and we compose roughly 30%+ of the EICSL membership.  So time to update and get with the times.

Thanks everyone for the thoughts!

 

 

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Last Saturday I competed in an interclub race with side-by-side ski gates.  I ran both courses on skis and my Kessler.  On skis I ran 21.44 (blue course) and 21.43 (yellow course). My board times were 28.01 (blue course) and 28.37 (yellow course).   It was very icy and I do better on skis on ice than on the board. 

On Sunday I set a straighter course with stubbies and ran it on skis in 19.98 and 23.12 on the board. NASTAR uses a 20 Handicap bump for snowboarders in calculating medals.  On Saturday I earned Gold and on Sunday Platinum.

You might suggest having the scorers reduce your snowboard times by 20% to give you an adjusted time.

Having said that, if you're Justin Reiter, you don't need any offset.  Two years ago at the NASTAR Nationals at Steamboat he raced head-to-head slalom with US Downhill Champion Jackie Wiles and won by 0.01.  His times were also faster than AJ Kitt and Jake Fiala.  Only Casey Puckett was able to beat him.

 

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I have some updates forthcoming.  That said, I am definitely not Justin, however he at least has an honest starting gate there complete with true grips, etc.   No chance he would have even come close there without that.

20% seems about right, honestly. 

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20 point handicap  resulted in me coming in 1st place at our local hill race finals out 202 racers finishing with a 4.56 handicap  . I was about 5 seconds off from the fastes skier. Skiers where able to skate and push for close to 3 gates. My biggest change this season was getting forearm racing guards so I could pick a more aggressive line and knock the gates down without bruising my arms.

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Justin doesn't have proper starting grips, just 4x4 inch starting posts. He is racing on a stubbies course, and with a steepish drop off from the starting gate so that his competitor pushes only to start with her poles, then skates only the first gate to try to get additional speed. Still a remarkable performance on Justin's part.

Learning to ski gate bash is my next step for improving my own NASTAR results. I have the body armour, just need the face protection.

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22 hours ago, SunSurfer said:

Justin doesn't have proper starting grips, just 4x4 inch starting posts. He is racing on a stubbies course, and with a steepish drop off from the starting gate so that his competitor pushes only to start with her poles, then skates only the first gate to try to get additional speed. Still a remarkable performance on Justin's part.

Learning to ski gate bash is my next step for improving my own NASTAR results. I have the body armour, just need the face protection.

At my local hill a few years ago, they got pissed off when I started hitting gates like we did in the 90’s, dressed like gladiators. Every run one or two poles would come out of the ground, meaning someone would actually have to leave the hut and do some work! 🤣

I stopped doing NASTAR at Park City, happily getting Platinums in hards and soft boots, when they started making the last two gates super offset, ‘to SLOW’ people down, as they claimed they didn’t have enough fencing/netting for a longer run-out area! And it’s easier to deal with that on a pair of skis by step-turning. On a board you either skid and lose speed, or demolish the gates, and they’d already told me off for that! 😡

Edited by Emdee406
Correction

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Ok, some updates are needed.  While the story is not yet complete, here are some updates and thoughts:

  • They were not aware that NASTAR handicaps snowboarders differently than skiers.  This was news to them.
  • They were not aware that NASTAR tracks what equipment a racer uses.  The impression was that everyone is a skier in NASTAR... this is hard for me to believe, but was mentioned in the response.
  • They stated there are plenty of other beer leagues that do not adjust handicaps for snowboarders...Maesters, some night leagues (Bretton Woods), etc.  Maybe true, but doesn't change the fact NASTAR is by far the largest amateur racing organization in the United States, and tends to be the template others follow.
  • There is concern around adding higher starting posts: will this hamper starts for skiers?  Very unlikely, in my opinion.
  • I was asked if I needed one or two starting posts to be higher.  Head scratcher, that one.
  • Race committee leader spoke with two other snowboarders in the league, these were the snowboarder's thoughts:
    • They were interested in discounting snowboard handicaps to account for the multiple disadvantages, but were not aware any other leagues or programs such as NASTAR did this already.
    • As I am the only one competing against the skiers (they are not) they failed to see the benefit of awarding points based on handicap (or adjusted handicap) vs. time.  For them it would be the same, true.  However it would be a tremendous improvement for any snowboarder who actually desires to race.
    • They are not interested in competing against skiers
    • They "like" the low, useless starting posts.  No idea why, or where their reference point is coming from.
    • They were asked why there was a drop in year over year snowboard participation and responded that they "just wanted a year off".  Not sure what to do with that comment, honestly.  I think it speaks to the level / interest in racing from the EICSL snowboarders currently.  Bear this in mind for the next point...
  • The race committee member said all changes for snowboarders must be aligned with the current crop of snowboarders.  This to me is catering to the lowest common denominator.   If the current crop of boarders care very little about actually racing and have been incredibly clear on this subject, I suppose I am not understanding why we need to cater to them at all, as any change should be neutral to them given their approach (certainly none of my proposals would hamper the fun factor for them).  Positive changes would on the other hand aid any boarder who cares to actually compete.

On one hand, I understand the lack of concern for setting this league up to allow snowboarders to properly compete, and compete against skiers.  No existing boarders aside from myself care.  Really, I get this.  However, this leaves me at a bit of a cross roads here.  One the one hand I value participating in this league because I get to race with my father and wife.  On the other hand this attitude and approach kind of insults my sensibilities as a boarder / competitor, an identity I carry very proudly and deeply as a part of my person.  I suppose my options are:

  1. Quite altogether, just stick with USASA or something
  2. Continue to participate as is and deal with all the BS
  3. Switch to soft boots for EICSL and request to no longer be racing against the skiers, and just try to focus on having a fun day out with my father  and wife 

I currently am leaning towards option #3, as I truly do value the family aspect although this seems like a crappy compromise.  

Happy to hear any thoughts / opinions.

 

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At my local nastar weekly event, they lump the snowboarders in with Adap.Cogn & tele skiers.    I don't know what the skier with Adap.Cogn has, but he crushes it beating most other skiers & ends up taking platinum almost every time.  I don't want to be a dick & be pissed off with someone with a disability, but at the same time, why is he lumped in with snowboarders?   

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2 hours ago, Topboost said:

At my local nastar weekly event, they lump the snowboarders in with Adap.Cogn & tele skiers.    I don't know what the skier with Adap.Cogn has, but he crushes it beating most other skiers & ends up taking platinum almost every time.  I don't want to be a dick & be pissed off with someone with a disability, but at the same time, why is he lumped in with snowboarders?   

For the Race of Champions at NASTAR Nationals they do this with what they call the Combined (a.k.a. the Non-Alpine) group.  The Combined group contains physically challenged/disabled skiers, telemakrers and snowboarders.

This makes it very challenging to win the Combined event with the fastest raw time (no handicap) on a snowboard, which seems to be the intention of NASTAR officials.

Edited by noschoolrider

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2 hours ago, Atom Ant said:

On one hand, I understand the lack of concern for setting this league up to allow snowboarders to properly compete, and compete against skiers.  No existing boarders aside from myself care.  Really, I get this.  However, this leaves me at a bit of a cross roads here.  One the one hand I value participating in this league because I get to race with my father and wife.  On the other hand this attitude and approach kind of insults my sensibilities as a boarder / competitor, an identity I carry very proudly and deeply as a part of my person.  I suppose my options are:

  1. Quite altogether, just stick with USASA or something
  2. Continue to participate as is and deal with all the BS
  3. Switch to soft boots for EICSL and request to no longer be racing against the skiers, and just try to focus on having a fun day out with my father  and wife 

I currently am leaning towards option #3, as I truly do value the family aspect although this seems like a crappy compromise.  

Happy to hear any thoughts / opinions.

I have been in this situation several times…

Sometimes I race with soft boots but mostly with hard boots, however I would never switch to soft boots to get an advantage (such as moving to a group that will be easier to win in).  When I race I always focus on the raw times (I do not care about handicapped times) and I try to beat as many people as I can (skiers, telemakrers and snowboarders) with a faster raw time.

So, here's my suggestion for option 4:  Continue to participate as is and focus on being the fastest you can be while having a fun day out with your father and wife.

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41 minutes ago, noschoolrider said:

For the Race of Champions at NASTAR Nationals they do this with what they call the Combined (a.k.a. the Non-Alpine) group.  The Combined group contains physically challenged/disabled skiers, telemakrers and snowboarders.

This makes it very challenging to win the Combined event with the fastest raw time (no handicap) on a snowboard, which seems to be the intention of NASTAR officials.

Thanks for the info.   We have a few riders that compete in the weekly race league, but the course it set up by skiers for skiers.   I don't get the feeling they are anti-snowboard, just that they don't care or want to spend the time to do it any different.    

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47 minutes ago, Topboost said:

I don't get the feeling they are anti-snowboard, just that they don't care or want to spend the time to do it any different.    

I agree, most ski based multi-discipline events are not anti-snowboard, they just usually focus on accommodating the majority, which is not snowboarders.

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The Connecticut Ski Council finally created a separate Snowboard Class for the Monday Night Beer League this past season. NASTAR scoring is used.  Each racer scores points for their team: 25 for first place, 22 for second 20 for third, 18 for fourth, etc.  .   Skiers compete within their age group and boarders are in an open class scoring the same points breakdown regardless of age.  For most of the boarders it was the first time they were able to make a significant contribution to their teams.

Back to comparisons.  This past Wednesday I competed as a skier and boarder at Wachusett Mountain in the Massachusetts Senior Winter Games (I'm so old, my daughter is eligible to race in the event!)

The GS was set with two courses and we made one run on each.  My ski times were identical at 33.56 and 33.56.  My board times on the same courses were 42.66 and 40.74.  In the Super G the ski time was 43.77 and the board time was 51.81.  Ski gates were used in both races. 

Someone shot video of the event.  Since my ski runs had identical times I downloaded the runs on both courses and used some video editing software to do a side-by-side comparison.  I'm the lower racer in the clips (I ran head-to-head with another 70+ racer.. 

 

Here's one of my board runs going head-to-head with another hardbooter.

 

Edited by patmoore

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