On 6 Jun 2006, at 1:22 AM, John Crowley, Jr. wrote:
> Guenther Hujara, the men's World Cup race director, said the changes
> have to be made due to the rapid increase in lower leg injuries,
> primarily knees.

Are there any studies demonstrating that the increase in injuries is  
due to equipment design?  Or, for that matter, is the increase in  
injuries statistically significant?  I've heard lots of anecdotal  
evidence suggesting that knee injuries became more common in the mid- 
to-late nineties, but I've never seen a study that actually  
considered injury patterns in ski racing as specific subject.  (I may  
just have not seen them, but I do read /Ski Racing/ regularly and  
would expect significant and related findings to merit a note there.)

> "We feel that these changes will have a positive effect on reducing
> the number of injuries we are experiencing, he said.

<rhetorical>Did the previous changes (i.e. the initial limits on  
standheight and sidecut put into place a few years ago) make any  
difference?  What about the drop from 60mm to 55mm?  Why do you feel  
that way?</rhetorical>

> The new maximum standheight of ski, plate and binding will be 50
> millimeters, reduced from 55 mm. In addition, boot height will be
> restricted to 43 mm from the current 45 mm.

For those who don't bother measuring their skis, I've actually got  
one setup that comes to 55mm (well, 54.5mm, actually) single-stacked-- 
Rossi DH boards, EPB plates, and a set of Salomon Comp springs.  50mm  
is pretty dang low, and I would expect to be less standheight than  
many upper-end recreational setups provide.

> Ski widths will be expanded as well. Currently the minimum width for
> all skis is 60 mm. Under the new rules, ski-width minimums will be as
> follows: for slalom, 63 mm; GS and SG skis, 65 mm; and downhill skis,
> 67 mm.

Is this going to result in a material change in ski shapes, or are  
skis already at or above these minimums?  The published Rossignol and  
Volkl ski dimensions (on their websites) indicate that their current  
(i.e. 05-06) skis already meet the minimum-waist requirements.  I  
recognize that World Cup athletes may or may not be skiing on  
different gear profiles, but for some reason "World Cup Stock Tech  
Details" isn't listed on either site.  (Atomic doesn't even list  
retail-stock dimensions, for that matter.)

> Giant slalom ski radiuses will be regulated as well. For men, the GS
> ski minimum radius will be 27 m and the women's 23 m.

Well, it's a good thing those rules don't apply in reeb league--we'd  
all have to go out and buy new equipment.

Speaking of which, at what level are FIS equipment requirements  
actually enforced these days?  I know that my gear was never measured  
racing in MARA USSA-sanctioned events (and I know that some of the  
other skiers were definitely over 55mm of standheight), and I've read  
about regular Continental Cup-level tests.  However, I don't recall  
hearing about any Eastern Cup-level equipment DQs or regular testing  
(although I'd expect that it does happen), never mind state-level races.

Kevin T. Broderick
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