I know this has been discussed a ton before, but with Nationals over and now the new World Elite Slalom I think we should discuss again. Here's my rant...
When are we going to just admit that we really do want ability based competition and acknowledge that we already have it and are doing it and just move forward all in? Don't believe we already are doing it?
College skiing already has it. Some of the bigger programs, especially in the Midwest have an A team and a B team. That is ability based. They also have a D1 and D2 Nationals, that is also ability based. OM, OW, and Masters divisions are ability based and whenever someone comes down from one of those to ski their age group in Nationals there is always a group to start complaining. The Big Dawg series and now the new World Elite series are also ability based, limiting how good you can be and still be eligible. If you are too good, you can't ski.
So Why not just switch to ability based for all divisions? I have heard the past arguments that nobody wants to say they are the best skier that can't run 35 off (or similar). Are these same skiers OK to say they are the best skier between the ages of 35 and 44, knowing that a person that is a couple years older is skiing the same speed on the same course but somehow not competing with them?
If you want to grow the sport, then start ability based competitions. It is pretty hard to convince someone to start skiing competitions in their 30s or 40s or 50s knowing they are 20 years or more behind most of the other skiers that have been doing this since they were a kid. The only skiers that can walk into tournament skiing and be competitive are very young kids. Winning isn't what it is about, but the point of competing is to be competitive. Yes, there are grass roots events. So someone can compete in ability based until they are good enough to run the course and then back to competing against someone running 38 off.
What is holding us back? What am I missing?