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Here's my take on it as an Eastern Cup level FIS racer... among  
people I know personally, at my level, this past season was the worst  
for injuries I've ever seen (almost all ACL, MCL, miniscus, or some  
combination thereof). While i think this might have been in part due  
to snow conditions (bumpy tracks, bare spots, etc.), there is also a  
lot to suggest modern equipment. from (endless) talks about world cup/ 
high level racing with coaches and other athletes, i think that there  
is a pretty substantial correlation between equipment and injuries. I  
don't have any hard numbers to back it up, but according to my coach  
(who has been coaching for 20-some years, and been a ski racer  
himself for most of his life):

knee injuries have increased dramatically at virtually every FIS  
level since the advent of shaped skis, especially in speed events,  
and especially among women. One of the most common ways to tear an  
ACL these days is in a speed event (super g/downhill) when coming  
into air "late" (behind teh course). I know from experience that this  
is not a good situation... you generally are not as well prepared to  
absorb the air as best you can when you enter in late, and then  
(worse) you can have to land on edge just to make the next gate. The  
problem is, with shaped skis & speeds approaching 90+ (world cuppers,  
the fastest i've been clocked is 76) if that ski lands on edge the  
right way it can carve way too quickly to control and you could have  
a torn ACL before you can do anything about it. In slalom this can  
happen when you get late & get "launched" the your ski, especially  
when you're in the back seat. According to my coach, several years  
ago, before FIS started raising minimum sidecuts & lengths, so many  
women world cuppers where injured in speed races as the result of  
shaped skis that they didn't even fill the quotas for some of the  
races towards the end of the season.

So again, I don't have any specific research to back up those claims,  
but both emperical evidence that i've seen and heard about, as well  
as my own experiences/sensations while skiing agree that more sidecut  
& more lift increase the chance of knee injury. Still shaped skis  
have definitely helped the sport too. the hard  part for FIS is to  
find the "middle" ground between injuries & performance.

that's my take at least
-ben
On Jun 6, 2006, at 11:37, Kevin Broderick wrote:

> On 6 Jun 2006, at 1:22 AM, John Crowley, Jr. wrote:
>> [CHOMP]
>> 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
> [log in to unmask]
>
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