After reading about the FIS-mandated increases in minimum ski lengths and sidecuts for the World Cup this year, many masters racers might be having recurring nightmares. They picture themselves kicking out of the start of the first GS race of the season on unfamiliar skis that are long and straight. As they put the ski on edge to make the first turn, the skis continue to track straight down the fall-line. The nightmare continues as they have to hop, step, and skid their way to the finish, only to find themselves 10 seconds behind the leaders. They awaken in a cold sweat and remind themselves once again that this is just a bad dream, and the new FIS rules do not apply to masters skiing.
It’s no wonder that the masters ski racing community wants no part of this purported devolution. The sport is difficult enough already, so why make it more so? In fact, one national team coach estimates that the new GS skis are 10 percent slower and require 20 percent more effort to turn. But just because there have been no changes imposed on masters skis for the upcoming year, does that mean that masters don’t have to worry about stockpiling a 10-year supply of those favorite 183-centimeter GS skis with the 23-meter radius? Or those pet SG skis cut at a tidy 33 m? Well, the ansto be both yes and no.