This just landed in my in box
Dear Skiers and Friends,
I have been advised to contact other skiers to support a request for a rule change. Below is a summary of the issue and a potential solution. If you agree with the sentiments that follow and support such a change, please respond to me with your name and AWSA number. If you know others who also might support such a change, please ask them to reply to me as well. Thank you.
Executive Summary Presently, an “older” skier effectively suffers a 6-buoy penalty, based on the erroneous presumption that skiing at 58kph is always 6 buoys more difficult than skiing at 55kph. This unevens the playing field and makes it more difficult for skiers over 34 to gain Open Qualification.
Background As a likely unintended consequence of recently enacted rules, a male skier above the age of 34 is subject to different and more difficult performance criteria than those below that age, should he wish to become Open Qualified.
Regardless of rationale, the fact that different criteria exist based solely on age, is unfair and may represent age discrimination. This has not always been the case, in fact, until very recently, it never was.
Record Tournament Example--How I became Aware of the Rule Anomaly I recently skied 1.5 buoys at 39’off (109.5 buoys) at 58kph in a record tournament. Since the Open Qualification score (“COA”) for Open Men was, and still is, 108.83 buoys, it should have been counted as a score toward Open Qualification….but it did not. Yet, if a male aged 14-34 skied the exact same buoys immediately before or after me, he would have received a score sufficient to count toward Open Qualification. Only because I was "35 and older" was I subject to a 6-buoy penalty and different scoring requirements (by being scored as if I only skied at 55kph).
As a result, the 6-buoy penalty requires, so-called, older skiers run buoys at 41’ off (10.25m) (only a few buoys from the World Record, in fact). Thus, present rules place a performance hurdle on older skiers that it does not do to younger skiers. No one would deny that 41’ off is extraordinarily difficult at any speed and to apply a 6-buoy penalty at, or into that length is unfair to any skier.
The Rule Rule 3.03B.1 presently states:
“A skier of any age shall be Open Qualified in an event (or in Overall) if their ranking score in any reported division for that event equals or exceeds the Open Cutoff ranking score for that event on any date within the past 12 months.”
The Issue Historically, older skiers attempting to attain an Open Qualification were permitted to ski and be scored at 58kph. Because he is now limited to scoring at 55kph, a skier above the age of 34 is subject to different qualification requirements in order to attain Open Qualification. This different standard is based solely on age and, regardless of any justification, is unfair. Presently, an “older” skier suffers a 6-buoy penalty, based on the erroneous presumption that skiing at 58kph is always 6 buoys more difficult than skiing at 55kph. Thus, the older skier is required to complete one full additional pass in order to accumulate and receive the score that would have been obtained had he been permitted to ski at 58kph. Presently, this requires the skier to ski into 41 off (10.25m), a line length that, undeniably, is extraordinarily difficult at any speed. So, while a 6-buoy difference may be appropriate at 22'off, it is excessive at 39' and nearly prohibitive at 41' off.
Potential Solution There is a solution that would eliminate the age-based discrimination without prejudicing any other skier: if a skier attempting to attain an Open Qualification were permitted to ski and be scored at 58kph, then he would be treated the same as a Boys 3, Men 1, Men 2 or Open skier—that would be fair. To avoid prejudice to skiers skiing and being scored at 55kph, in accordance with the specifications of their age division, any scores recorded at 58kph would only be allowable toward Open Qualification and would be subject to a 6-buoy penalty for scoring in the skier’s age division (i.e., 55kph)…as they are now.
This is a broad issue which affects more than just male skiers above the age of 34 attempting to gain an Open Qualification. Women above the age of 52 attempting to gain Open Qualification and men above the age of 64 attempting gain a Masters Qualification presently suffer the same penalty outlined above.
The “Elite” divisions are designed to be based on a skier’s ability, not on his or her youth. We should act with haste to correct this unfortunate, unintended discrimination in the rules.
If you agree with the foregoing. please respond to me with your name and AWSA number. Thank you very much.---Michael Ise