PROBLEM: To much travel and expense over a 2-3 week period to attend regionals and Nationals. How to motivate people to want to attend one or both.
1. Start promoting and recognizing the Regionals as a major tournament. Get people interested in going to the their regionals. It's the first step up from the local tournament scene. It's easier and less costly in many cases to go to and get people interested in the idea of traveling and experiencing a major tournament like the regionals. I understand the travel that other regions have that we in the east do not have. That needs to be addressed. The competition at all the regionals is top notch. It's a big deal to win a Regional Championship as well as finishing in the top five. Make people aspire to go.
2. Feature the Regionals and the tournament winners on the USA website as well as the regional websites. Bring more attention and prestige to it.
3. Send out invitations to the regional qualifiers. I thought it was neat to receive an invitation to Nationals last year. Think how upcoming skiers will feel to receive that in the email. I got an invitation last year to attend NASTAR nationals for ski racing. It was cool. I didn't go but just the same I achieved a level in the rankings and that feels like I've accomplished something
has an interesting idea about spreading out the regionals to 3 sites run on the same day. The obvious drawback to skiing at 3 different sites on the same day is people skiing in different conditions and the advantages and disadvantages. But what would be better, that, or do as some people have suggested to increase the amount of regions we have to a higher number and therefore decrease the geography of the region. What if we did 7-10 regions? Could that help solve the attendance problem? Not a bad idea
5. Ok USA waterski has not innovated the tournament format since I began skiing. Nothing against USA waterski they do a great job but it's time for change. One just needs to look to different tournament organizers out there coming up with various formats on their own. Below the surface there many many sites using many different creative scoring formats. I've heard of a few and I can imagine there are others. Than Bogan, Randy Youngsma and myself Mike Tilton run the NE Slalom Championship and with me as a golfer saw the potential to utilize the golf handicap system at our tournament. Why, because it is just plain ridiculous to have skiers come to a "competition" and be the only skier in that division. Ok so maybe there is 2, 3, 4 but still what fun is that. We've all learned to resign ourselves to the idea that all that matters is our personal score for a rating, because some have no competitors there.
6. The NE Slalom Championship in New Hampshire has two divisions. Open which are skiers of all divisions and ages who run into 35 off or better skiing against each other straight up. Boys 3 to Men 7 all together. Women and girls as well if they qualify. About 10 skiers. Then 20 skiers men, women boys and girls using their handicap adjusted score where everyone starts on a level playing field. USGA Golf tournaments have been using this for years. NASTAR ski racing does the same.
7. Bring everyone together with the handicap system. I worked with Dave Allen among others to get the system incorporated into the ranking system. Allot of people don't even know it's there. There is a framework already created. It needs refining but just the same.
8. You want to help create more interest and reasons to attend your Regionals and Nationals. Add to the existing "gross score format" a new layer or group "handicap adjusted scoring group" into the existing tournament. The top skiers ski with their "gross" score or actual score as always and then you add handicap competition levels. In golf they call different Flights. Top Flight, First Flight, etc. Call it whatever you want. The 10-20 handicap group is another way to express it.
9. Skiing should be more ability based and handicap achieves that. This will increase the sizes of the division. Make winning and competing mean something. The framework is there.