What's wrong with competitive skiing?



  • BKBK Posts: 23 Baller
    Instead of beating the crap out of this horse again, why not resurrect answers that are already there? Class X. You can sanction a Class C tournament with ability based groupings. 95% of skiers don't need it to be an R/L, and if the argument is better officiating/driving...the beauty is that you get to organize it with whomever you want on the towers and in the boat. After the format gets some traction, it could (hopefully) be a standard option for tournaments. Get after it!
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,705 Mega Baller
    Thanks @BK , that's exactly what I was talking about.
  • skihardskihard Posts: 565 Crazy Baller
    It's funny because it sure seems like the answer; at least to me, is moving towards a handicapping if you will?
    I used golfing as my example and @gt2003 used shooting clay targets as his.
    The main point being - you're competing against someone who you could best one day and them best you the next.
    Not here Mr 49 old 32mph 22 off skier you go off the dock next and then we'll send out Dave Miller from the Big Dawg Tour to compete against you because you're the same age group. ***Please note I used Dave's name only for the sake of argument here as I don't know him or his age but I do know of his abilities***
    There shouldn't and wouldn't be any glory in Mr. Miller running around whipping my sorry a** at every tournament stop because he is such a much better skier than I am because of our age. What makes guys like that go hard and compete hard is simple - he is competing against guys that can and do beat him some days.
    Again I make my point - if 15 year old Joe Blow goes off the dock right behind me and we are in the same group and he bests me by a 1/2 or a full buoy to win our group at any tourny then great for him. He won this weekend. And maybe I win the next weekend. Guess what - both of us still want to get better, improve our skiing, and move up from Group Z to Group Y to compete against better skiers because we are getting better. Hmmm sounds like my handicap is improving too.
    Maybe, just maybe if @ShaneH could have been able that little girl who was winning she would have stayed to watch instead of going to Top Golf and maybe even become a new skier herself.
    @BRY - Yes I am passionate about this sport both on a recreational level and also a fan of the top rated skiers in the world. I have met some and they still call, talk, text, and email me. What pro athletes in other sports do that with hacks of their sports like me? I think this format would also help grow the sport as well because it's a format that makes competing FUN.
    My guess is Tiger Woods has fond memories of every golf prize he has won because for the most part almost all of his wins came against competitors that could have beaten him too, not the fact that he can play on the PGA but also be crowned the local club champion because nobody at the club can even come close to comparison.
    I just think it's worth vesting putting some thought into it? If not for anything but to grow the sport and keep those who might want to give a tourny try because they might stand a chance on ending up on a local podium all for FUN!!!!
    Life's about working hard and then having fun on the water!
    I am - are you?
  • BKBK Posts: 23 Baller
    @klindy Do you even need to use X to get arbitrary groupings? Rule 13.03 implies (to me) that you don't.
    I know the CASS tournaments in the Austin area used to group based on ability instead of age. I wasn't a fan because my buddies were in one group, while I was on another dock standing three feet taller than my competition and getting my butt kicked by juniors. I even used to talk smack and it didn't help.
  • BRYBRY Posts: 593 Crazy Baller
    @skidawg Ah, that makes sense. But right there on the apples and oranges thing with skiing. RR and Crit really take a team to win, even Cat5. Team sacrifice to put the strongest member over the line. Only a few have a chance to win. The rest toil in the pack. As a 200+ pounder myself that's pretty much what I did, good fun and gratifying when your guy gets there first.
  • markchilcuttmarkchilcutt Posts: 947 Crazy Baller
    Great topic. But you cant compare bike racing to waterskiing IMHO!
    I am having a hard time with entry fees alone! I can spend $30 for me and my daughter ($15ea) (no requirement to pay to join an association each year like AWSA) (Although Bike racing isnt tracking my ranking on a national level either) to compete in a mtn bike race during the week that is an awesome event with a great raffle and cheap BBQ after each race.
    Compare that to $130 for the 2 of us to ski a 2 round slalom tourny. I guess the difference boils down to biking is way more accesible in the west than skiing and you dont have a limit to bike racer entries.
    Bottomline is if i am going to stress about what i am paying to train and enter waterski events i should find another sport.
    I have to admit skiing around bouys is my passion and i really enjoy spending the day with a great group of people who share the same passion training and at tournaments. Also Nothing like the feeling of setting a PB at the tournament or in practice or watching friends and family PB!!
    Ski it if you can!!!!
  • AdamCordAdamCord Posts: 1,025 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited May 2015
    This is easy to fix. Start skiing INT tourneys. They are super fun, relaxed, competitive tourneys. Why try and navigate the politics of restructuring AWSA when the format is already there?
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,282
    INT doesn't exist in a lot of states.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • gt2003gt2003 Posts: 726 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    I checked and Oklahoma has it but looks like its only wakeboard/surf. I don't see anything about slalom skiing. Hmmm
    2014 HO TX
    1996 Malibu Echelon
  • dislanddisland Posts: 1,497 Mega Baller
    Sorry but Waterskiing is way more fun than Biking.

    On the competition side, we do handicap and head to head, with existing AWSA rules and everyone loves it.
    Dave Island- Princeton Lakes
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 953 Mega Baller
    Aren't there way more AWSA tournaments than INT tournaments (and in more states)? Wouldn't this say something about which format is preferred?
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,880 Mega Baller
    Class "X" is never the solution to making sustained and meaningful change. It is the solution to trying stuff out. However, as we already know, tournaments are hard work and require effort from many people. Thus, no one wants to put all that effort into a Class "X" event because the skiers still want their scores to count towards rankings.

    We need a format which allows skiers' scores to still count toward rankings, but allow for flexible formats on site, locally. I think Class C can work for this.

    Here's one example of how to do Never Run:
    Skiers must preregister, no on-site/day of registration.
    Organizer pulls skier's ranking info from USAWS..
    All scores are normalized to a 34 MPH standard. (meaning if max speed is 32, then add 6 buoys, if max speed is 36, then subtract 6 buoys.)
    Rank skiers by adjusted buoy count and determine local competitive divisions.
    Build seeded running orders based upon these divisions and adjusted scores.
    Decide how to manage multi round scores (best of, average, 1st round only, last round only).
    Plan for medals and award ceremony after each division completes its final round of skiing.
    Use a box podium for 1st/2nd/3rd place medals and take pictures.
    Enter all scores into WSTIMS like normal (by age division, etc.)
    Send results into HQ.

    Another example is to do much of the above the same way, but just use rankings to do handicap system and awards by division based upon performance vs. handicap.

    The point is that the LOC can give out awards and manipulate the starting orders so as to generate fun competition. The individual scores are still submitted to HQ like normal.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    @jcamp USA Water ski has been around a lot longer than INT. I don't know if that makes a difference but it seems to me that it might.

    @AdamCord I have skied some INT events and enjoyed the level based competition. One of my biggest issues with the INT events is that they generally are only one round and wind up being expensive as a result. I wound up skiing wide ride just to get wet a second time but the INT events are a long day if you hang around for the awards to get wet once.

    I don't mind the full day at the lake for 2 or 3 pulls particularly given that my son skis also and he gets his 2 or 3 rounds. I judge and drive and am happy to be there hanging out and helping out.

    I think it would be fun to have a level based competition that has the scores count towards your national ranking.

    I don't mind things the way they are. I always go out and ski to try and beat my seeding (and beat @rayn) and am happy if I ski well. In general I am not competitive at most tournaments in M4 but I don't ski tournaments to win a medal or place I ski them to try and ski my best in a competitive environment.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,066 Mega Baller
    I forgot to add while handicapped events would be fun I am not always a big fan of them to the exclusion of your best straight up score. When I used to play competitive golf I always played scratch tournaments even when the competition was above my level. I wanted to see how I stacked up against the better players at my club or in the state.
    Mark Shaffer
  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,880 Mega Baller
    @AdamCord There are many skiers who aren't running 35 off, but who feel that INT is not for them. I think there is opportunity within the max speed to 35 off segment to have some fun but still have scores count towards rankings/regionals/nationals, etc.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • jcampjcamp Posts: 953 Mega Baller
    Agreed @Chef23 but INT has been around for 20+ years. If their format was really what most skiers wanted, then I'd think by now they would have overtaken AWSA.

    I looked at going to a couple INT tournaments and it seemed that I would have been in an event with only one or two other skiers, and the level of skiing was lower than AWSA. I'd much rather go to an AWSA event and be in the middle of the pack in Men's 3 but still get to measure myself against some really good skiers, just as you commented.
  • skihardskihard Posts: 565 Crazy Baller
    @ToddL my point is exactly what you had mentioned above. Ski at a tournament at any site against competitors that are at your level. Give out an award, take pictures, and submit scores. If the scores are needed for a skier for a ranking then so be it submit them to count. This way a person can go to Regional tournaments and then compete in their division based on the rules of the AWSA for Nationals.
    My total point is it's fun to compete against people within your caliber of skiing for the days event.
    I'm not looking at changing the way the world sets their ratings, rankings, divisions, or even their rules. Hell at my age the only reason alone I would even want to attend a tournament is to compete for fun with guys at my level while I try to get better. I could care less about my scores going into whatever division I would be placed in anyways.
    At my site I ski with guys that show me exactly where I sit and how good I am! I don't need to go to a tournament to see that.
    Maybe what @Chef23 & @jcamp are saying needs to be looked at too? Can one work with and compliment the other vs. competing against each other for the growth of the sport and the AWSA?
    I'm only putting my two cents into the game for fun and growth and I just don't see the current model working for either AWSA or INT.
    Life's about working hard and then having fun on the water!
    I am - are you?
  • WBLskierWBLskier Posts: 477 Baller
    Handicap tourney. We have held our own private handicapped slalom tournament for the last several years. We pulled more than 35 skiers in it last year. It is an absolute blast. In our handicap system we basically ask everyone to tell us their best full pass that they ran during the current season. Then we assign point values to each pass/speed. Basically, you can run at whatever line length or speed you want. Each 2mph increase in speed and each shortening of the rope gets you 6 more points. A tie goes to the person who actually skied the best.

    Everyone gets a minimum of 4 passes to be used however they want. Re-rides are given pretty liberally. Theoretically, whoever gets closes to or exceeds their personal best wins the tournament. Everyone has a chance. Everyone skies as hard as they probably have all year. Everyone knows who the “best” skier in the group is still, but it doesn’t matter. Normally the person who wins is someone who has not skied the course very much before, and every time that person becomes a slalom addict the next year. We anchor a few pontoons near the course and it is pretty much a half day party. Even with all of the modified rules, people try their hardest. Had plenty of other bad crashes from guys who hadn’t crashed all year. It was because they thought they could win the whole thing (which they could).

    Can anyone tell me what it takes to qualify as a class F tournament? The one thing we don’t have is liability coverage. Almost everyone that shows up we are friends with but it still makes me worry a little. It would be great if we could purchase some kind of coverage for that day.
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 4,792 Mega Baller
    @adamcord - I started skiing INT in the late 1990's, but the emphasis on making money for the owners on the back of the volunteer labor force left a bad taste in my mouth. I voted with my feet and started supporting AWSA ever since. If @shane doesn't like the current situation, then he can vote with his feet as well and focus on his bike riding, everybody has the choice to do what they want. @bry - way to knock down the -35 in all three rounds, that's great consistency and gave you a shot at -38 every round, you should be proud of your accomplishment
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Once again in the Back When (although not the far back: late 1970's), and before Rankings, etc., we had fewer divisions, of course. But, competition tended to be individuals against each other.
    And, we actually gave away prizes, such as towlines, handles, and useful silverware like candy dishes. But, you can't just turn back the clock. I like some of the ideas above, however, to make events handicapped competitions.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,983 Mega Baller
    edited May 2015
    Great to see detailed comments from @MikeT . Every idea I've ever mentioned on this topic, I stole from him.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 5,865 Mega Baller
    When I first began, I sure liked trophies, embroidered towels etc. I remember even looking at the regional guide and couldn't understand why some tourneys were for "rankings". I didn't even know what rankings were...just knew I had an age division and I wanted to show up and win it.

    Now I don't care so much about the trophies. I am guilty, though, of keeping track of the skiers in my division at a tourney. I cheer them on, but if my score is the best in my division I chalk it up as a "win'.

    Some interesting thoughts @MikeT
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • ForrestGumpForrestGump Posts: 6,282
    edited May 2015
    Hah! Richard, that's a brilliantly great idea to go along with your first brilliant idea of traveling. Drive someone out of the sport. No wonder other sports are growing and ours has half the membership it did 20 years ago.

    I'm not leaving the sport. But there's a LOT of room for improvement in it.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • boarditupboarditup Posts: 585 Crazy Baller
    The INT is essentially a marketing tool for the various sponsors. As a former State Coordinator, I can attest that I never made any money - I broke even once. The INT is well produced and has a different "feel" with the announcing, background music, and banners - so it is more expensive than an AWSA local tournament. It was designed to be more novice-friendly and require far fewer officials. It is not as Type-A competitive satisifying as an ELR tournament. But, because of the marketing structure, it is much more controlled and it requires a more controlled State Coordinator. So, you don't have a bunch of distributed LOCs putting on the tournaments. It is just a different model.

    That said, it would be nice to have the AWSA more user-friendly for the new skier or the new site. If you are growing an area from scratch, it takes longer to get your Senior Judge in slalom than it does an MBA - and not too much less time and effort. With kids in school, a full time career that involves a lot of travel, and the demands of homeownership it is no suprise that fewer people are involved. You need several people, an expensive boat, expensive personal equipment, lots of time, extreme levels of patience, and confluence of various people's schedules, and a very supportive and flexible family to make it all work. It just doesn't happen like it did in the '70s and '80s anymore.

    If we restructure to reduce the demands and keep the fun, we can stop the contraction and perhaps grow again. Evolve or go extinct. It is not the strongest that survive, but the most adaptable.
    Karl DeLooff - Powered by the wind
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,432 Mega Baller
    @MikeT - re: snow ski racing. You may know this, but others likely don't - Nastar is more like INT and Masters racing is more like AWSA. Masters is a more-serious (still fun), clique-ish, smaller, higher-skilled group of competitors. Everyone knows everyone. The group is small and shrinking. The course sets are closer to real FIS racing. Training options are limited and somewhat expensive. Nastar is more visible, the course sets are much easier, it's more inclusive, and more inviting to skiers that may not really be "racers" in terms of skill and courage.

    Slalom (much less 3-event) is HARD. Hard to do, hard to find a place to train, expensive, clique-ish (I don't care, I love it). Unless slalom is made readily available and easier for people to at least try (picture a concession-type set up with a boat, a course, a driver, and an instructor near every public lake boat ramp - visible, not crazy expensive, and inviting) we won't bridge the gap between recreational skiers and serious tournament skiers. Changing our existing tournament format isn't going to attract a bunch of rec skiers to come try tournaments.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 6,983 Mega Baller
    @jimbrake I can't really disagree, but I think you're missing something significant: There are a lot of capable slalom skiers who don't ski tournaments. Growing the pool would be great, but we aren't even managing to draw as well we "should" from the existing pool.

    To be clear, the above statement is a generalization based on AWSA-wide stats. In New England, I actually feel things are going very well, and that the recent trend is toward overall growth, especially in the ranks of the kids.

    When we look at total participation counts, we have to be careful to understand demographics (especially the giant bubble of those born in the 60s) and economics (income, income distribution, and participation costs) as explaining much of it. But that just strengthens the points made above: WE MUST ADAPT.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • bkreisbkreis Posts: 322 Baller
    i just held 3 rnd slalom, 2 round trick in Miami, wanted to keep it fun, hang out for lunch( we provided home cooked food) for 20ish skiers...ended up with 23..cost was 50usd/per skier and anyone who skied paid..went off brilliantly, had some pb's, great company, great food, fun people and all really appreciative of not only hosting, but keeping the cost down. requests are coming in to do it again..we stopped 45 min. for lunch and all got to catch up or meet new people. simple easy fun
  • rodltg2rodltg2 Posts: 1,051 Crazy Baller
    The current format sucks. When I first started skiing tournaments I was gung go , But then realized how it all works and lost interest. Only ski the ones at our lake. Only do so because it gets boring sitting on shore all day and it's frowned upon as a member of the lake not to be there. I know that I my level in Men's 3 , I'll never place well. So there's no point. INT , grassroots and other formats are far and few between.
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