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our first snowboard race


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I have started a junior snowboard racing team at my local mountain in north central WA. We are putting on our first and only race this season and I wanted some feedback. I am considering a individual GS or parallel GS. I have access to a timing system and plenty of snowboard gates. Wondering what is easier to set up and run and what is more fun for kids/folks?

any feedback or comments are appreciated.


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Having helped with USASA setup, individual is a billion times easier. It's only one course to set, slip, and break down.

I think PGS is quite a bit more fun, but it sounds like you're running it with a young group of kids. The potential for injury and the distractions presented in Parallel racing may not be worth the excitement when you just want them to get through a course with a decent line.

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These are few of the challenges to run a PGS:

Age group: You need to decide how many age group categories who will have. You don't want to run 12yrs old against 21. Once qualifs completed, you need to establish ranking per category and then run finals for each. This quickly become a long afternoon, unless you decide to make "top 4" only finals.

Equipment: the starting gates is a major issue. You need 2 starting gates, 25-30 feet apart that open simultaneously for finals. Those are pretty rare at a typical ski hill. The backup is a SBX starting gates, wide enough with the first turn set 25+ feet apart the riders.

Ski hill: You need the widest possible run, with no "leaning" effect. Since both riders go together 30 feet apart, you need to install more safety net ( Bnet ) to cover potential fall or collision from any of the two riders. Leaning: if the run leans, this may create advantage for one of the riders. From that run, you need fast access to a lift: in the afternoon, each competitors will make many runs ( for a "top 16" format, the podium makes 8 runs during the afternoon ). At World Cup level, they use 4+ Ski-Doos to bring back competitors at the start.

Timing: You need a good timing operator, there is a lot of more things going on, vs a regular 2-run race. You need 2 different set-up, qualifs vs finals. There is no "2nd chance" to look back at data in the afternoon.

Alternative: In our provincial series, we make "2 best of 3+" format. Racers make 3 or 4 runs in a GS course, and we keep only the best 2 for ranking. Racers need to adjust themselves after each run to push further or establish a "base" time vs others. This create interesting situation & challenge since the race conditions change and get icy also.

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Okay, your descriptions pretty much made my decision - going with an individually timed GS 2-run event. The PGS looks like a fun event, but with this being our first and wanting to start off on the right foot, easier and simpler is best.

thanks a lot guys.

How about advice or a thread that describes how to set a course?

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Good to hear you are getting a team started!

Yeah - stick with a single GS course...

From Page 30 of the USASA rulebook:

PSL 12 -16M (~39 - 49 feet)

PGS 20-25 m (~65 - 82 feet)

Read section 352 - "Layout of the course." for more info.

It does take some practice to know how far apart to set the gates.

Don't get too "creative" at first.. Use an assistant and a rope to make the distances equal to the same length. Practice..... Riding your own courses will quickly tell you what

distance/offset between gates is "too straight", "a bit of a challenge', 'or just plain impossible."

There's not a whole lot of info floating freely around specifically targeting snowboard racing.

While the mechanics are obviously different, you'll find that much of the same principals of ski racing apply. (race line/shape/timing and tuning ).

In print - There was a book called:

The Fundamentals of Snowboard Carving and Racing.

A Manual for Surfers, Coaches & Parents

by Marc Cirigliano

I can no longer find his website, but here are some related links:





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