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A totally different idea for Regionals & Nationals

HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
edited August 2014 in Rules/Politics/Issues
When I was a 3 event skier, Nationals was the highlight of my season. If I had one really good ride out of three, I was pretty happy. Dad paid for all of it so cost and time away from work was an unknown idea.

Fast-forward 20+ years => I am a slalom skier with a corporate day job, a web site, and a family. Every year I am asked why I am not going to go to Regionals or Nationals. The answer is easy. I am not going to spend that amount of time and money for one ride. I simply do not see the appeal. It does not sound fun. (Let the hate mail start.)

Additional background: at this point in my skiing career I do not have snowballs chance in hell of getting on the podium at Nationals. That is not the problem. I am clear about where I am in the pecking order of 55k skiers. When I ski in a tournament I am skiing against my own expectations and the National rankings list. I want a certified / official score I am proud of.

Other side of the coin => Every other year or so I go to a BigDawg. I get 2 rounds and sometimes there is a class C on Sunday so I get 2 or 3 more rounds. If I can help it I never miss the California ProAM. Generally, I only get 2 rides but I can ski that event without missing more than one day of work. In both of these examples I get a few rides and have a lot of fun with a lot less time away from work and less total cost. I get my ass kicked by more than a pass in both examples but I have a good time and get high quality rounds.

My proposal is a 3 day (or at worst 4 day) 3 round State Championships, a 3 day 3 round Regionals and then a 3 day 3 round Nationals. To ski the State Champs you need to be at USAWS level “whatever” to keep the size of the event manageable. To ski Regionals you must finish on the top 5(+-) from your State Champs. To ski Nationals you need to be top 5(+-) from Regionals.

This way Nationals is a small manageable FUN elite event. Regionals is a small manageable FUN event. State Champs would far less expensive for skiers of all levels. State Champs is that inclusive event for a much wider range of skill sets.

What about three event skiers? Any skier can ski up to 3 times total per tournament (Pick and Choose). If you are qualified in all three events you choose what to do => you get only 3 pulls total. The tradition of 3 event should not be the albatross around the neck of the sport.

Last thing=> Before someone cries that I am elitist. Under this proposal it is pretty unlikely that I would make it to Nationals and to get to Regionals might require me to go all Tonya Harding on Larson, Matt Brown and Bishop.

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Comments

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    Interesting idea. For us in the Northeast the State Championships aren't an issue. We already run a 2 day multi-round state championship without an issue. Your concept would completely eliminate any chance I ever have to compete at Nationals (which is a stretch anyway.) I would likely qualify for Regionals just because we don't have a ton of skiers.

    Unlike you I have never competed at Nationals so I probably have a different perspective on it. If I qualify I likely will go at least once. I have my son in the mix who has competed at a couple of Nationals so that would impact things as well.
    Mark Shaffer
    rodecon
  • MarcoMarco Posts: 1,430 Crazy Baller
    It sure would make it a lot harder to qualify for Nationals, as well as Regionals, Glad I went to Nats for the first time this year so I could cross it off my bucket list. I would have very little chance of qualifying under the scenario above.

    I do like the idea of multi round tournaments for Regionals and Nats, but I don't know how you would do it without making them much harder to qualify for in order to keep the numbers down.

    All in all, an interesting idea.
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,383 Mega Baller
    I think that is a great idea, I haven't skied state, in 5 years and never regionals or nationals because the tine and money for a single set if slalom isn't worth it to me. I love a good 3 round slalom or 3 round there event because for the travel, time, and money I feel like I get enough water time to make it worth it. You have my vote
  • skirayskiray Posts: 173 Baller
    @Horton‌ I see your point and agree with the concept for some folks. I'm on the other side of that. I'm getting back into skiing. Back in the day I skied some tournaments in college. Afterwards I just stopped. So, my goal now is to one day qualify for Nationals. I skied in my first Regionals this year. Your concept basically ends my tournament skiing. At 42, two kids, public lake, total lack of athletic ability, etc. I have no expectation of getting into the top 5 in my region. Current qualifications for Nationals are a stretch goal.
    Ron Ray
    GroovyGrant
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    For this to work we have to forget the idea that Nationals freaking Holy Week.

    I think if someone really looked at the numbers you would find decreasing percent of qualified skiers go to Nationals. There is always talk of growing the sport. How about we talk about keeping participation levels from getting smaller first?

    These tournaments could increase participation. All the events need to be fun and manageable. Just give me a tournament that I want to go to. As it is now I will never ski another Regionals or Nationals unless it is local.

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  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Good idea. Thought about before. Certainly different than how things are today.

    I'd say there are two schools of thought (at least) about regionals and nationals. One is make it smaller, more "exclusive or elite" and literally crown the best of the best. The other camp is to make it more inclusive (I.e. - bigger but not necessarily more days). Hard to tell but my guess is it's equally divided.

    For a small nationals you have a few challenges. First, not every state has a state tournament. Travel planning is difficult if regionals remains a week or two after states and nationals stays two weeks after regionals. If you have to place to move on that can mean that some don't take the next step. Do you allow the 6th or 7th place guy fill the gap? What about families that can't qualify thru placement? There are a LOT of kids who are skiing because mom and/or dad also qualify and ski regionals and nationals.

    A placement only format pretty much negates the whole ranking list. So what value is it beyond a database of everyone's scores?

    Perhaps the biggest concern is the costs/revenue. For the host club there's certainly a need for it to be worthwhile. For AWSA Nationals is one of two primary income sources (membership distribution from USAWS being the other). Soliciting vendors for a decidedly smaller Nationals (or Regionals) gets difficult because the more people the better chance of selling skis, ropes, boats, etc.

    Either way ALL these ideas are worth discussion and exploring. Ideas like the Big Dawg or US Open or other "highlight" events should all be potential.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
    RazorRoss3
  • swaterkdswaterkd Posts: 81 Baller
    I like the idea of a change. For the people who don't, Pro and big dawg have changed through the years from one pass to multi-passes and then to a head to head. You could have regionals be 2 or 3 rounds and the top ?? number go to nationals for a head to head.. just brain storming.

  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,383 Mega Baller
    Numerous possibilities for sure. I would have to agree with Horton though that I will likely not ski regionals unless it's local and will likely never ski nationals because it will never be local living in Minnesota. For 1 round of slalom, the math just doesn't add up.
  • animalanimal Posts: 96 Baller
    I like the idea of increased competition, but am not fond of allowing specialists three rounds for an event when an all around skier only gets one. It would make the 3 Event Skier choose between all around and having a legitimate shot at their best event. Keep it a one round tourney and you could easily do it in a long weekend.
  • jwroblewjwroblew Posts: 143 Baller
    what about multi-rounds but averaging the rounds, instead of best score?

    On a different rant, why do the powers that be not group age divisions close together that make sense? Like B/G 1 & B/G 2 with M/W 3 and M/W 4. Didn't go to nationals this year because my daughter skied Tuesday / Wednesday and I wouldn't have skied till Saturday.
  • Ed_JohnsonEd_Johnson Posts: 2,272
    edited August 2014
    I know at Nationals, I would at least like to see the top 10% of each division get to ski a second time and cumulative score wins...Not only provide more skiing, but have a more accurate depiction of the True Champion.
    Special Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf and the Denali Adam's !!!
    jcamp
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    @jwroblew‌ with the current size of Nationals i am pretty sure there is no possible schedule to make everyone happy

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    @animal‌ here on the west coast 3 Event is a tiny fraction of the skiers.

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  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,809 Mega Baller
    John,
    I agree. Some states (like here in Louisiana) would have to get a state organization going. An issue would be sites to host the state level tournament. As far as I know Bennett's is the only active site in the state with a jump ramp. On the other hand, my home state of Oklahoma has a strong and active state federation and tournament. It would be an easy go for them.

    I think that making the regional tournament a qualifier for nationals MIGHT be a better option. It would stink to go down early, but if you did it as a multi round deal with something like the big dawg system it could work. The numbers might have to be variable as well. I mean there are only 2 boys 1 in our state.

    A major problem would be getting AWSA to change the concept of Nationals. As you said, it is "holy week" to some. I for one would be up for options. My daughter skied the first slalom event on Monday morning. I was the last on Saturday afternoon. Luckily I was in the BD finals so I was able to ski some during the week. Otherwise that stinks and is very expensive. When Nats go back to the West Coast we may be out for a year or two.
  • Mike GileMike Gile Posts: 385 Crazy Baller
    Like the idea. I think you would have to base it on participation for a state or a region. I cant imagine taking only 5 skiers from a state like Florida or Cali, and at the same time taking 5 from a less populated place like North Dakota......
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,263 Mega Baller
    I have some thoughts on this issue I will type out when I'm at my computer but why on earth was M1 & W1 on the opposite ends if Nationals this year...
    Than_Bogan
  • RazorRoss3RazorRoss3 Posts: 1,383 Mega Baller
    At the collegiate level (in the Midwest where many early slalom skiers only run 0-2 passes) the regional tourbamebt is held at a 1 lake site and has about 80 men and 80 women slalom trick and jump over the course of a long weekend (Friday, Saturday, first half of Sunday) if the field was limited at the state, regional, and national level to about 60-80 skiers total on a two lake site I would think it would be possible to run a 2-3 round 3 event tournament (so a single skier can ski all 3 events all rounds) over the course of a 3-4 day event. So all of Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the first half of Sunday leaving Sunday afternoon/evening for travel. This would of course require a limiting of the playing field in many states particularly in the most competitive age groups.

    Obviously skiers in non collegiate events tend to take more time on the water in slalom but 3 jumps is 3 jumps for the most part and trick is trick.

    I'm sure I'm missing some logistical piece here that makes this impractical.
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,221 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I feel somewhat guilty saying it, but if there were not a BigDawg in combination with Nationals I dont think I would go to Nationals. Guilty because I want to support the sport and respect the National competition. But like Horton, too much time and money for one round. When its something we do in MM after the BigDawg perfect...for us.

    Plenty of constraints to consider, but something along the lines of what Horton proposes sounds great to me. If we do, I will watch my back for burly long haired attackers with pipes. Tonya, Horton or otherwise!
    Hortonskidawg
  • jdarwinjdarwin Posts: 1,381 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited August 2014
    As @klindy will attest, this was kicked around a bit at the summer AWSA board meeting. Most of the discussion was getting the participant number closer to 1000 to satisfy the fiscal requirements of the LOC and the on-site vendors/sponsors. To me, that is easy to achieve - simply relax the entry requirements. But, that reduces the "prestige" of the event in some people's minds. Personally, I don't share that view. I don't believe Nationals (as currently constructed) is a prestige event when most of those who qualify fail to show. Making it smaller and therefore more "exclusive" and "prestigious" has some merit but the financial ROI has to make sense to the LOC. In the end, something has to give. Changes need to be made. Smaller or larger? I can see the benefits of both but tend to agree (hard to admit) with Horton. Most of us who participate are "contributors" more than contestants. Smaller wouldn't change the ultimate outcome - the same individuals would take home the hardware. They just wouldn't have to wait thru 50+ other skiers to determine placements. My $.02.
    Joe Darwin
    MattP
  • MillerTime38MillerTime38 Posts: 384 Crazy Baller
    I am still trying to figure out where all the money goes for Nationals. How much does the LOC make for hosting a Nationals tournament?
  • ntxntx Posts: 840 Crazy Baller
    @MillerTime38 One of the biggest expense is for lodgeing for officals. Between Judges, scorers, drivers, announcers, safety and TC that is a bunch of rooms for a lot of nights. I am sure that awsa gets a cut also. On a side note, a site like San Marcos that has a addtional lake that runs all day long practice, can make a ton of extra cash.
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 938 Mega Baller
    I wonder how many qualified skiers don't go because their kids and spouses can't ski. That's a lot of sacrifice (money, time, vacation) to go toward only one family member. What if everyone in the family could ski? I could see a lot more people being able to justify that trip.

    My dad is a poor example (and was a crappy dad BTW) but I didn't ski at Nationals or Regionals as a kid because he couldn't qualify. He sure as hell wasn't gonna drive me 12 hours to a tournament he couldn't ski in. Because of that I probably fall on the other side of the coin now that I'm a dad. I feel guilty about spending the time and money that I do on the sport. But if everyone participates I feel better about it.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,628 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Another thing to factor in this year was the fact that there were several regionals which were located at "more remote" locations than probably typical. Western regionals were in CO, Southern regional in AL and Eastern regionals on a public lake in NY (surely a great venue). Point is, at least for the west and south it was a long trip to the regionals from where the majority of skier ski in the region. Pile on nationals two weeks later and it makes for an expensive month for two rounds of skiing. Only speculation but if the regionals were in CA and FL it's possible we would have seen more folks at nationals.

    I'm in the process of reviewing how many people were qualified for regionals and nationals and actually participated. It'll take a few more days for me to complete it but I'll share something soon.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
    Horton
  • MillerTime38MillerTime38 Posts: 384 Crazy Baller
    @Klindy so why make skiers go to regionals in order to ski at nationals? I never understood this. It is hard enough swallowing a $160 set at nationals, then throw on top a $120 set at regionals along with all the other incurred expenses.

    This seems like a bad business model, keep charging the skiers more $$ and still no one makes any money. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate the model.
    Drago
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,263 Mega Baller
    If SE regionals were in FL more of the "Deep South" states would have lower attendance. Traditionally if Nats is in FL. Florida skiers show up to regionals. If both are in FL entries for both are much larger. We should not be hosting regionals on FL just because they have "more skiers". But that's my opinion.

    @Horton‌ I would say make sure you include skiers who qualified through other means. LCQ Tournaments, regionals podiums and overall. The easy way is to look at level 8&9 but it's not that accurate. I qualified in trick but did not go. Looking at my scores you would never know.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    The bottom line is not if or how you get to nationals. The bottom line is it more interesting than other tournaments.

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  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,820 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Sounds similar to the debate I have with myself each year about going to Nastar Nationals out west. Sure its fun to qualify, race and talk to all the folks from around the country but it is a ton of money for under 4 minutes worth of competition. Last year I skipped it and just went to our state league championships in MI, had just as much fun, got to race more and it was a whole lot closer to home.

    As an aside, doesn't seem like it matters much what the sport is there is always controversy after national events. In the snow stuff it is all suspected sandbagging so that people could drop a division or 2.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    @MarcusBrown‌ if it was your idea first you can have all the credit. Just gimme a tournament I want to attend.

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  • HortonHorton Posts: 30,603 Administrator
    @oldjeep‌ that is another thread. ... I am against ALL ability level groups

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