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Thread: Sandbagging, or is it?

  1. #21
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    JMHO.............

    Never dog it in a race course, unless for safety reasons. Go as fast as you can on every run, and take the handicap that you've earned that day. Accept the handicap and division you are in - that is what we've agreed to by playing in this sandbox.

    If you don't like what division you are in - don't go to Nationals - save the money. I've never understood someone who would intentionally slow down just to stay in a division - just to have a better chance of winning a cheap piece of metal - you go fast (try to win) every race, and let the results speak for themselves.

    I've also never understood that statement that " I'm in the XXXX division, but I don't really belong there - I really belong in the YYYYYY division" Says who? Your results say that's where you belong, so accept it. If you think the results were scored incorrectly, get rid of them - NASTAR has a provision for this - just write to HQ and request they be dropped.

    I've also never understood the attitude that "if I can't win, I'm not going to Nationals". Most of the guys on the World Cup circuit can't win, yet there they are, still trying. Nationals is about seeing how you compare to the rest of your age group who had the guts (and money) to show up, and to race against the real pacesetters.

    There are different levels of Platinum racer - some are ex-pros, ex-college or FIS guys, and some are just guys who are pretty good on the local putt putt. So what if they're better'n you on the big hills - go out and learn from it.

    I'd rather be dead last in the platinum division than stand on the podium in a division where I knew I shouldn't be . You want a hunk of metal that bad? Save the effort, time and money, and just go buy one. That's not what this is all about anyway.[/b]
    Amen, brother. I can't understand anyone's facination about their ranking to an artificial standard. In my opinion, it should only matter to the folks in the top of the Platinum Division - they are truly one, two, three, etc. in the nation; medal winners in other Divisions are just by the "luck-of-the-draw", i.e., wherever the line between Gold and Platinum Divisions or or Silver and Gold Divisions falls according to the national percentages.

    For instance, a Gold Division Gold medalist has the medal because the line was drawn just above that point - there may be many racers in the Platinum division who are head and shoulders faster in a race course. The Silver Division Gold Medal winner (????) is probably slower than most of the Gold Division and all of the Platinum Division - assuming they have not sandbagged. They are the recipients of good fortune in that Nastar selected an artificial line (or percentage point) to separate each Division - it could just have easliy been split 1-2 points higher or lower.

  2. #22
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    I just looked at the roster of people who have registered for Nationals, and am dismayed at the fact that one person in my age and division ran two single runs on different days, of 57 and 105 HC. The rest of his days are at gold level. Even after qualifying, he ran runs at near platinum level.

    I intend to race at Nationals, but I think that this is wrong. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  3. #23
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    I would image that he should have qualified in the Gold Division. Without knowing his stats (ie National and/or State handicaps etc) it would be difficult to speculate as to why he is in the Silver Division....
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  4. #24
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    I just looked at the roster of people who have registered for Nationals, and am dismayed at the fact that one person in my age and division ran two single runs on different days, of 57 and 105 HC. The rest of his days are at gold level. Even after qualifying, he ran runs at near platinum level.

    I intend to race at Nationals, but I think that this is wrong. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?[/b]
    Yep......here are my thoughts........

    Go race, have fun, meet some new friends, and learn something about your skiing and yourself.

    Forget about anyone eles's results - you can't do anything about them anyway, so don't worry about them.

    Focus on yourself, your own enjoyment of the experience, and the results won't matter.



    If you win, but in so doing, lose the respect of your competitors, you've not won anything at all - Paul Elvestrom - 4 time Danish Olympic gold medalist in Sailing

  5. #25
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    I'd rather be dead last in the platinum division than stand on the podium in a division where I knew I shouldn't be . You want a hunk of metal that bad? Save the effort, time and money, and just go buy one. That's not what this is all about anyway.[/b]
    As #23 out of 23 in my Platinum division I have to agree! I spent a long time as #1 in the Gold division and worked hard to inch up to the next level. I am competing against myself and I want to get better. Nationals gives me a chance to ski on much more challenging courses than the daily NASTAR course and to interact with others.
    LB
    WAL18

  6. #26
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    I am an average skier and racer. (no suit, all mountain skis, and no training, ski 4-5 days a year). I recently qualifie dofr nationals in the gold division, and as many people have said i would rather finish last then first in an artifical division. As I have reviewed some race records their is any obvious way of sandbagging going on that no one has mentioned. For example racer A has had 14 race days this year all golds and 1 plat. Then I noticed 8 dnfs and 3 dqs on different days at a daily nastar course. I found this fishy so i called a friend who is a pacesetter and runs the race program at a small resort. He informed me that on a daily basis racers approch the starting house after a plt. and say they missed a gate or flat out just ask to have it entered as a dnf or dq to maintain their gold standing. Is this a widespread thing? It is sad that this happens? I would much rather be honest with myself? Should the breakout apply tp gold racers as well as silver and bronze as well? I am going to nationals for my first time and plan to do my best and have a helluva of a time.

  7. #27
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    Sometimes what may look like sand bagging isn't. It could just be the result of racing in more challenging races. The lady who finished #2 in 50-54 Platinum at nationals last year qualified in bronze this year by running only 2 NASTAR races. She got Platinum her 1st day on a "Daily NASTAR" course and Bronze her 2nd day on a "Super Combi" race. I did a combi race for fun last year and it was a blast but my time was really slow.

    We have daily NASTAR in Steamboat on the short, flat lower Bashor course which we can run as many times as we want in the 2 hours they are open each day. Then there are longer, steeper races where you get only 2 runs which are sometimes held downtown at night on Howleson Hill. Those of us who didn't learn to race until NASTAR tend not to do as well on the courses like at Nationals, that are different than what we usually ski. I skied a Town Challenge with red and blue gates and I couldn't quite figure out which gates I should be skiing around so my times were much slower. Early in the season due to lack of snow we skied on a different, steeper course and it took a few trips to get up to gold. I love to ski the more challenging stuff but there is a learning curve to it for those of us who never raced in other settings besides NASTAR.
    LB
    WAL18

  8. #28
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    i am one of the racers who is really a GOLD racer at most resorts, but i do my best at Keystone, a favorite resort my children drag me to, and end up qualifying in PLATINUM for Nationals. such is life...i like the Keystone course b/c i feel good on my skis, i don't feel like i will kill myself like on some other courses...deer valley has a roller past gate 2 so you can't see the whole course. for those of us who have ZERO race training, don't club race, are TRULY recreational, Keystone is a great practice course and a nice ego boost, even if the new ranking rules punish us re: Nationals by upping our handicap and moving us up a notch...i should be racing with GOLD racers this year, but last year's GOLD category was won by a ski instructor...it used to be they separated PROS from RECREATIONAL...there is always a beef to be found somewhere in the rules BUT what the heck...i never do better than middle of the pack at Nationals and it would be nice to get a medal one day, but that's not why i go. i go b/c it is fun and i learn alot and i become a better skier in trying to get there and in competing there.

  9. #29
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    I just looked at the roster of people who have registered for Nationals, and am dismayed at the fact that one person in my age and division ran two single runs on different days, of 57 and 105 HC. The rest of his days are at gold level. Even after qualifying, he ran runs at near platinum level.

    I intend to race at Nationals, but I think that this is wrong. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?[/b]

    As the person being referenced above :oops: , I can say that I wholeheartedly agree not just with "gdsantos", but pretty much everything else posted in this subject thread. In fact, I've already contacted NASTAR to get moved into the Gold division for nationals :razz: . Sandbagging is for losers in my book.

    However, just to set the record straight, my qualification in the silver division as described above wasn't sandbagging, but rather an unintentional result of ruining my handicap by racing against my 8 year old daughter who is just learning how to ski. When your daughter asks you to race alongside her for morale support the first time she's ever raced, you don't try to blow her out of the water but rather you ski next to her shouting out words of encouragement the whole way down. The fact that it ruined my overall handicap is meaningless compared to that experience. :cool: Upon retrospect, I should have just asked the race folks if they would let me run the course next to her without registering (truth is I never gave it much thought before today). Anyway, I suspect that my situation isn't unique...as designed, the system allows these types of problems to occur and they get exacerbated when all race records are used to qualify and place people into national competition.

    Now, for my soapbox (I&#39;ve given this a little thought today :wink: ). NASTAR is an awesome program and ski racing in this country would be largely unavailable to the average Joe without it. That said, the program has some faults, particularly regarding the national championships. As an example, I&#39;m usually around a 15-20 HC. However, about once a year I end up getting a much better HC (e.g., <10) which I attribute mostly to an off-day for the pace setter. I&#39;ve seen this happen to pretty much everyone I know who races NASTAR more than once or twice a year. Basically, the more often you race, the more likely it is that you&#39;ll hit the lucky day and snag that sweet HC.

    Unfortunately, those "once a year" HCs frequently drive the national championship qualification process and you end up getting folks qualifying who probably don&#39;t truly represent the top 3 per division at each resort (at least not on a consistent basis). Last year I qualified in the gold division because I snagged an 8 HC one day while the rest of my race days I was in the 15-20 range. Then, at the national championship I ended up placing 11th out of 16 in my group and my best HC was in the high silver category. Even had I raced in the silver division, I would have placed 5th (i.e., nobody would have accused me of being a sandbagger). Furthermore, many people who raced in the gold division would have beaten lots of the folks who raced in the platinum division last year (and the same goes for the comparison between silver and gold divisions too).

    Does this make for fair competition? No.
    Is it because of sandbaggers? Maybe, maybe not.
    Can something be changed about it? Absolutely (read on).

    I show up at every race with the goal of winning (unless I&#39;m racing my daughter of course :wink: ). So going to NASTAR nationals where people are supposedly grouped by ability I expect at least to be competitive within my group. After all, we&#39;re all supposed to be essentially equal in that group aren&#39;t we?!? However, this is not the case. To illustrate the disparity I&#39;m speaking of, check out the difference between the 1st place HC and the last place HC in my age group at last year&#39;s nationals:

    Platinum division: 1st place HC=4, last place HC=27 (23 points diff)
    Gold division = 1st place HC=10, last place HC=38 (28 points diff)
    Silver division = 1st place HC=24, last place HC=50 (26 points diff)

    Clearly, folks are racing out of their league (whether it be too high or too low) and the playing field within divisions isn&#39;t level whatsoever. Whether it&#39;s due to sandbaggers or system failures is really irrelevant. I&#39;ve come to realize that the expectation of being competitive in your division at nationals is unrealistic.

    The solution:
    Let everyone in an entire age group race (regardless of division) and then place them into the somewhat arbitrary divisions of P, G, S, B after their races are complete. In this way you&#39;ll have folks with comparable abilities competing against each other instead of against people of drastically higher/lower ability. At the end of the day, winning a division is essentially no more than an arbitrary cutoff anyway (except for the platinum winner).

    This approach solves the problem of getting placed in the wrong division due to the "once a year HC" situation I described earlier. It normalizes season HCs earned at various resorts onto one course, thereby correcting for the "Keystone Effect" others have described in this thread. It also ensures that everyone who goes to nationals has a legitimate shot at winning their age/division group. And finally, it gets rid of the sandbagging issue altogether. I&#39;m not sure I see any serious drawbacks to this approach, but speak up if you do.

    Now, get off the computer and hit the gates...Nationals are just a few weeks away! :mrgreen:

  10. #30
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanation. Even though the situation didn&#39;t concern or affect me, it is nice to see an answer to a "Why on Earth...." question raised in the forum. Not that the question didn&#39;t have merit, but now we know why. I think it is noble of you to ask HQ to move you up a division. If Gold is what you expect when you race (and that is what you normally get barring the "daughter run") then Gold is where you should be racing at Nationals. I agree that you probably won&#39;t podium. I noticed the exact same stat differential when I went to Nationals in 06. It does seem unfair, but truthfully, for me, Nationals is about racing against our National Pacesetters, meeting people and having fun. Have fun at Steamboat! Oh, and welcome to the forum...watch out...it can be addicting. :grin:
    I drink, therefore I am!
    CRU145

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