FILE UNDER -- Alpine // Top Story

Alpine equipment changes rushed through

Skis on the 2012-13 World Cup tour will be longer than we have seen in a decade after FIS officials determined from studies many injuries are occurring because of shorter lengths and the tendency of the ski to “hook-up” and propel skiers off course.

In a letter from the FIS to national teams injury studies begun through the “FIS Injury Surveillance System” established in 2005, indicated injuries could be reduced. Last summer the development of prototype skis – through cooperation with ski manufacturers – allowed the definition of radius, length, standing height and ski plate dimensions for increased safety.

Among the results are a set of ski length guidelines that could radically impact race technique and individual style. The biggest change, of 10 centimeters or 3.9 inches, will lengthen the minimum for men’s giant slalom skis to 1.95 meters. The minimum for women’s GS skis will increase eight centimeters to 1.88 meters. Men will be racing downhill events on 218’s and women on 215’s, contrasted to 215 for men and 210 for women last season and this. Super G skis for both men and women will lengthen 5cm each. Slalom ski lengths will remain unchanged.

Changes in radii are also being implemented with the men’s GS ski again getting the biggest overhaul, with minimums jumping from 27cm to 40.

These rule changes happened quickly after FIS officials met with manufacturers and were told changes to manufacturing molds would need to begin immediately in order to meet change deadlines. The implementing of the changes was to be discussed at upcoming FIS meetings, but the proposal was given to the FIS Council for an email vote with two days notice.

FIS officials report “the ski industry is requesting a reconsideration of the change to the new radius
for giant slalom skis and the reduction of standing height and this matter will
be addressed in late August.

GEPA photo

Hank McKee

Senior Editor

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