How can we grow the sport when....

unksskisunksskis Posts: 681 Crazy Baller
Regionals, a required tournament and "second" largest tournament in the area, begins on a Wednesday? The barrier to entry that this creates is enormous. Talking out of both side of our mouths if we want to grow the sport, but require the vacation, PTO, time away, etc to attend Regionals as a formality. I get the logistics, but we're not going to grow, actually will continue to lose attendees if this continues. We can't be blind to this.


  • BroussardBroussard Posts: 870 Mega Baller
    I was curious to see which region you were in. You list your state as Texas. South Central regionals is Friday through Sunday.
    Andre Broussard | Action Water Sports | WakeHouse | SkiBennetts |
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,546 Mega Baller
    From a previous post on this subject:

    "Reworking the regions is the answer. Limit the drive to about 10-12 hours. Currently, the Midwest region includes Kansas, which is a 16 hour drive from Michigan. We should have something like a Great Lakes Region (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota) and other smaller regions that limit the drive times (Central Plains region with Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska and other regions that are smaller). Maybe even divide it further to reach similar size target populations. Make it easy to get there in a day and maybe make the tournaments slightly smaller to finish over a long weekend. And, if you are not running the tournaments so long every day, maybe more practice would occur to offset less skiers and draw more attendance from those who don't want to ski only once."

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

  • liquid dliquid d Posts: 1,466 Mega Baller
    Get involved and come up with another region (s) where you think it would do the most good. People are open to ideas, but they need to make sense. It would probably involve redrawing several regions, and then find the volunteers to run them.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,546 Mega Baller
    The other suggestion I have is for skiers already qualified for Nationals before their State tournament. If they place in the top 3 of the State tournament, we give them the option not to attend Regionals. If their placement at States is what qualifies them for Regionals, they must attend if they also want to ski Nationals.

    Skiers qualified for Nationals that want to win or set records at their Regionals will still go. And, if they don’t, it’s another chance for someone that hasn’t yet qualified for Nationals to do so at their Regionals.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 681 Crazy Baller
    I am in Texas, and thankful it is a 3 day tournament. I'm just commenting on observation. Therefore, I'm not "whining" about taking days off. Notice every year the SCR has Southern Region skiers ski in it out of region, rather than attend Southern Regionals. I'm sure there's examples otherwise as well, but have noticed this pattern.

    I totally agree Bruce, Regionals should be the biggest to most skiers, and help grow the local areas. In my opinion a barrier is created when the tournament starts mid-week, and requires extra time off work, and to your point, add that to the required time off for Nationals if one is able to go, and it may become unfeasible for some. Or it's smarter/wiser/more family friendly to skip it and take an actual vacation. Point being, in my opinion, it's tough to grow and attract new skiers with these requirements. I am not saying a direct pass to Nationals at all.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,064 Mega Baller
    I agree with @Bruce_Butterfield. For me (when I was skiing tournaments) Regionals was always the highlight of my year and my biggest focus. I was not good enough at the time to qualify for Nationals so trying to ski my best in an event that was one shot was fun for me. I didn't mind taking a few days off if needed and would generally take most of the week and lend my hands to help run it in any way needed.

    I do get the issue for super large geography regions. I am in the East where at most you could have a 6-7 hour drive and usually it isn't more than 3 hours or so.

    If you have kids it can become a longer week because the kids usually ski early in the week and Mens 4 can be at the end of the week at least in my region but it was always a great time for us and something my son really looked forward to.

    Mark Shaffer

  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Guess it depends on what you define as "the sport". Tournament skiing is a tiny part of the sport of water skiing. Those who get excited about competing will take the time off and go where the competitions are. Those who are just excited about skiing just ski.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • unksskisunksskis Posts: 681 Crazy Baller
    I see the "sport" as the competitive aspect. Seems those participants are getting less and less excited, or it's just my little bubble, I know attendance has grown in the past, so I can be way off. In my opinion, if we want new blood in the tournament scene, the requirements are not friendly.
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 2,261 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    The SCR is a 3 day tournament that starts friday. I’m not sure how that equates to starting “mid week”. Sometime back in the 90’s we started to schedule all the kids divisions on friday specifically so the main people with day jobs would ski on the weekend and minimize their time off work.

    The skiers who ski out of region are mostly college age who work at ski schools, going to summer school, have summer jobs or some other reason it makes sense for them to ski out of their home reason. And they don't ski for placement - only to ski a regionals to go to nationals. Certainly a reasonable thing in my mind.
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,130 Crazy Baller
    I agree that the regionals should be the second biggest tournament in your region it does bring a lot of skiers of many abilities together. The draw back I see is that the top teir of every division let's say top 5 skiers are at the regionals because they are forced to be by the rules. So the question is how do you bring new blood into a regional tournament who hope or would have a chance to metal if the top were not forced to be there. With out watering down the event?
    We know the top 5 placements get a national qualification. So would you give the top 5 scores who are not qualified for nationals a national entry eligable? That could grow the sport.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 3,889 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @unksskis - don't ever take up downhill ski racing ;)
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • bigtex2011bigtex2011 Posts: 738 Mega Baller
    @Bruce_Butterfield it seems silly for me to have to go to regionals since i am planning on going to nationals. I am qualified for both. Why not let someone else have to opportunity to ski regionals. I would gladly pay my $110 x3. (Wife and kids) and save us taking 2 cars, loading all our crap and staying 2 nights in a hotel. Don't get me wrong I love Cypress, the people and the site, But I do see the original posters point.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,929 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @bigtex2011 it’s a tough situation. If the top tier of skiers (those already qualified for Nationals) don’t participate you do have a different competitive atmosphere for those who do ski. And certainly you set up the opportunity for several more skiers to qualify for the Nationals. However it’s those higher scores that help make the tournament a true competitive event with ALL the skiers in the region who chose to participate. I guess what I’m saying is that, to me, the event is diminished someway if the “pre-qualified” skiers don’t have to show up.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board

  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 2,261 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    @bigtex2011 I really disagree with that concept. Lets take it to the extreme and say if you are qualified for nationals you don't have to go to regionals and all choose that option. What kind of “regional championship” do you have now? At the risk of offending some, it would essentially be a novice tournament.

    If you are bothered by packing up a family’s worth of ski gear and crap for a short drive and hotel how the heck do you handle packing that same amount of crap for an airplane ride, rental car and several days in a hotel for Nationals?

    But back to the original post, I still don’t see any “enormous barrier to entry”
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • JeffSurdejJeffSurdej Posts: 732 Open or Level 9 Skier
    I feel like the subject of this forum doesn’t match the discussions. If we are trying to grow nationals then yes skipping regionals will help, but growing the sport has little to do with regionals or nationals in my opinion. True growth that is. But agreed it is a brutal track from state to regionals to nationals. Very expensive and time consuming.
    Midwest Justin Bieber Fan Club President
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,130 Mega Baller
    When I was 100% into competing, it seemed like a huge privilege to attend Regionals and Nationals. Now that I'm less into competing, it seems like a pretty onerous time commitment.

    I think this tells you it's almost entirely a matter of perspective, as opposed to a broken system.
    Nathaniel Bogan
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 859 Crazy Baller
    So we skip the playoffs and go straight to the Super Bowl?
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,371 Mega Baller
    edited July 2019
    Southern Regionals M2 - 2019
    3 Trickers
    2 Jumpers
    7 Slalomers

    Southern Regionals M2 - 2018
    4 Trickers
    3 Jumpers
    4 Slalomers

    As a M2 skier I am in favor of dropping the Regionals Requirement. I will pay my entry not to go. If I get my 3 deep water starts this weekend I am going home with 3 medals. I would be at Nationals every year if Regionals was not a requirement. It would for sure increase participation at Nationals.

    Is skiing more "competitive" in M4, M5, M6. Do Those skiers mostly make up those who make the rules and like the current structure? @klindy @Bruce_Butterfield @JeffSurdej?

    $125 Entry
    3 Nights in a Hotel

    Then do it all again in a few weeks for Nationals...

    Granted I think that the M2/W2 have the most barriers to stay involved in the sport. Just starting careers, very limited vacation, small kids. I more than likely would not attend Regionals and Nationals if I did not ski on the weekends. (Who ever is in charge of Scheduling was thinking ahead).

    I do see both sides of the argument though. Regionals helps build sites up to potentially host a Nationals. The Kansas site for example. It also helps officials get experience at a larger record tournament to prepare them for advancement and working Nationals in the future. It also builds competition and camaraderie within the region. I also agree it is a great time to see friends you don't get to see regularly. @Bruce_Butterfield I agree dropping the requirement would dilute the tournament and it more than likely would die a slow and painful death. I think that the regionals is a great experience for the kids as well.

    Possible idea that just came to me while typing this - I am just throwing out there. Make Regionals required at least every 2 years for skiers pre qualified for Nationals.
  • KelvinKelvin Posts: 1,363 Mega Baller
    What if skiers were required to ski Regionals once every 2 years? If the tournament moves around the regions, they could go the close year and skip the next year. Seems like most are doing something like this anyway and not being able to go to Nationals. Seems like an easy way to increase Nationals attendance and ease some of the burden for the tough age groups M1&2/W1&2.

    Kelvin Kelm, Lakes of Katy, Katy Texas

  • bigtex2011bigtex2011 Posts: 738 Mega Baller
    @Bruce_Butterfield using your argument "What kind of “regional championship” do you have now? At the risk of offending some, it would essentially be a novice tournament."

    Forcing folks to go to regionals to have a non-watered down tourney in turn reduces qualified skiers from going to nationals thus making it "Watered-down" Many people have to choose one or the other.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,980 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @dave2ball you already have the Level 10 requiring the top 3% to ski Open or Masters. How much cream do you want to skim off the top?

    I’ve been at this sport for 50 years and I’ve never won a Regional slalom. Best I’ve done is second. If I won because everyone else in my division stayed home ( hint hint @MikeT) it would hardly seem like a victory. In fact, it would be a big let-down.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,130 Crazy Baller
    @lpskier I didn’t say the top five don’t ski the regionals. The premises was that if a podium finisher was already qualified for nationals then take the best score who is not qualified. I too have been skiing for over 40 years. I have seen OM fall back to M1 and M2. And now MM who are not forced out to drop back into there respective division. People who are just able to ski in a regional may not spend a huge amount of money if they feel they have no shot. If you take the top scores that are not qualified and allow them to ski nationals it may draw more skiers. It doe t mean the top skiers don’t ski. You will never please everyone but if you don’t throw out ideas nothing will change.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,546 Mega Baller
    Great Lakes

    Great Plains
    North Dakota
    South Dakota

    South Central

    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    New York
    Rhode Island


    New Mexico


    South Carolina

    North Carolina
    West Virginia

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,929 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Sorry @MISkier adding more regions is a really bad idea in my opinion. The governance of the organization in general and the size of the Board and committee structure is already unwieldy enough. Besides the total size of the organization would need to be pretty big to have enough volunteers to fill even a slimmed down structure. I would not be in favor of expanding the regions.

    That said, having a Regional tournament site somewhere inside those state groupings can make sense.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board

  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,843 Mega Baller
    edited July 2019
    I have struggled to get course time this year with a new little guy in the house. That said, I missed my opener in the state championship and it was over. One pass for a whole tournament. That doesn’t work. I get all of you who would say “that’s how it goes” but I don’t want to go back if it’s not in my area and I’m definitely not going to regionals for 1 pass.
    Now, if there was another tournament going on at the same time, in the same town, or close enough where I could get a couple rounds in, I’d go. Surprised that hasn’t been done
    Edit: I’m not disparaging my state championship tournament. They did a great job and we had a C tournament the following day where I got a few passes. That’s not an option at regionals due to the size of the tournament, so nothing against that tournament either. They’re both operating under their constraints.
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,546 Mega Baller
    @klindy, I’m looking for ways to make it accessible and minimize travel time. If an option exists for the participants to choose what works best for them, that is what we need.

    I see your point about further fragmentation of the organizational structure. If we had a much more significant population to service, it would be a more natural expectation to shrink the geographic footprint of each region.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

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