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Thread: Adjust Handicaps with a Slope Rating to Make Them More Fair? Strike System?

  1. #1
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    Adjust Handicaps with a Slope Rating to Make Them More Fair? Strike System?

    Since course sets may vary depending upon the ski area, course setter & course conditions; I think that a slope rating factor would further enhance the current NASTAR handicap system to make it more fair.

    Please note that I believe that NASTAR already provides an excellent opportunity to attract racers and to allow racers to compare themselves against competitors across the country. This slope rating factor idea is meant as a tweak to further improve NASTAR.


    a) What do you think of the idea of a slope rating factor (see below for details)?

    b) Is there better/ easier ways to obtain a more fair adjusted handicap by changing the slope rating formula below or otherwise changing the method?

    c) If any pacesetters / folks that know the race crew have the opportunity, it would be greatly appreciated if you could provide data for cap times & par times along with the date and location. Ideally, if possible try establishing cap times on multiple days to help us understand how much they may vary.

    d) What other ideas do you have for improving the NASTAR handicap system?


    DOUBLE STRIKE SYSTEM IDEA

    Another idea that I think is worth considering is implementing a strike system where you earn a strike each time you get a daily handicap in a medal division one level up and a double strike if you get a daily handicap in a medal division two levels up. After earning two strikes, you would receive a battlefield promotion up to the next higher medal division. Strikes would be kept on record for the current racing season plus the past two racing seasons before automatically expiring.

    One benefit of this double strike system would be to more accurately reflect your current ability level and place you in the appropriate medal division. A second benefit would be to help reduce the incentive to try to game the system since strikes would be kept on your record for a few seasons before automatically expiring. NASTAR has already partially adopted a version of this double strike system to make racing more fair with the implementation of the breakout rule at National Championships that moves up racers who earn a handicap that is two divisions higher than their qualifying division.

    I have raced in a club league that uses this double strike system. The racers perceive this as a fair system and are proud to have earned a bump up to a higher level. The racers are recognized for their accomplishment for bumping up in a variety of ways including a bump pin.



    SLOPE RATING EXAMPLES

    Slope rating reflects the difficulty of the course set and is calculated by dividing par time by cap time then subtracting a standard factor (Initially 5% since NASTAR requires courses to be at least 5% over cap time but this may need to be adjusted once we have real data from multiple courses.)

    Finally the racer's raw handicap is multiplied by the slope rating factor to arrive at an adjusted handicap for the racer to allow for variances in course sets.



    Example #1

    Cap Time: 20 seconds

    Par Time (0 handicap): 21 seconds

    Slope Rating = (1 - ((( Par Time / Cap Time ) - .05 ) - 1 )) = [1 - (((21/20) - .05) - 1)] = 1.0


    Racer A

    Raw Time: 25.2 seconds (20% slower than par time of 21)

    Raw Handicap: 20 = ((Raw Time / Par Time) - 1 ) * 100)

    Adjusted Handicap: 20 = Raw Handicap * Slope Rating = 20 * 1.0


    Example #2

    Cap Time: 20 seconds

    Par Time (0 handicap): 22 seconds

    Slope Rating = (1 - ((( Par Time / Cap Time ) - .05 ) - 1 )) = [1 - (((22/20) - .05) - 1)] = 0.95


    Racer A

    Raw Time: 26.4 seconds (20% slower than par time of 22)

    Raw Handicap: 20 = ((Raw Time / Par Time) - 1 ) * 100)

    Adjusted Handicap: 19 = Raw Handicap * Slope Rating = 20 * .95



    NASTAR COURSE SET GUIDELINES

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASTAR

    Standard NASTAR Course

    * Modified GS 12-20 gates
    * Vertical offset 18-20m
    * Horizontal offset 4-8m
    * Par time 23 seconds
    * More than 5% over cap time


    CAP TIME

    The "cap time" is the time it takes the local pacesetter to tuck from the start to the finish of their course without going around gates, and is the fastest possible time down the venue.

    Since cap time is the fastest possible time down the venue, I think that the pacesetters should use the same start technique for the cap time run as the pacesetter time run in the course i.e. If pacesetter kick starts, skates & poles 3 times for the course run, the pacesetter should do the same thing for the cap time run.



    * The slope rating multiplier applied to a racer's raw handicap would result in an adjusted handicap for the racer which would capture more of the course variances due to the ski area, course setter & course conditions.
    </span>
    * Relatively simple to implement since cap times are already being collected by NASTAR due to the NASTAR requirement that par time to be at least 5% over cap time.







    OTHER COMMENTS

    * The slope rating multiplier does not eliminate the need for a pacesetter since the pacesetter creates the par time & the cap time each day.

    * Pacesetters / race crews - please post up some cap times, par times & dates so that this approach can be validated / refined.








  2. #2
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    man.... you&#39;ve put some thought into this.
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  3. #3
    SkierScot,

    Nice job. Just like all golf courses have a slope rating (degree of difficulty), doing so in Nastar could equalize the discrepancies between:
    flat Nastar - little offset -low hcp pacesetter" and "steeper Nastar - more offset - high hcp pacesetter"

    Bogie

  4. #4
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    Wow. Intriguing thought. With golf courses, the calculation is pretty arbitrary. In CT, two women played every course in the state (tough job!). From their findings the course ratings and slopes were formulated. You&#39;ve come up with a better quantitative approach.

    I&#39;ll have to reread it to fully digest it. You&#39;ve certainly put a great deal of thought into it.


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    Senior Member BitterSweetRacer's Avatar
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    Wow, great effort putting all this together. However, I don&#39;t feel this is necessary. This is just public racing which doesn&#39;t need to be complicated. For Master FIS style racing if a HC system was used then maybe this would work. I know some FIS style public racing (MACC) uses a HC system. I have a couple rules about ski racing.
    1. It&#39;s a ski race anything can happen.
    2. If you want to be a better racer practice often.
    I just don&#39;t think this is necessary. Their are still a few floating variables that can&#39;t be nailed down, like course setting, snow conditions and wax. Either one of those things can&#39;t be predicted. The way I see it it&#39;s still going to be off. Let me make sure I&#39;m clear on this. By using your system you&#39;ll eliminate the need of a pacesetter right? What happens if the racer beats the cap time? You would still need someone to set the cap time right? Wouldn&#39;t that very depending on the floating variables I mentioned. I think it makes it more interesting for the customer to know/feel that they are racing against the zero HC or against someone and not the hill. Guaranteed the customer is going to want to know what the fastest time was and try to beat that. I don&#39;t think people can have a good bench mark of how they are doing when racing against a hill. They will always look back and compare themselves to someone. The main point of ski racing for me has been to improve my skiing and have fun doing it. In a "race" it means nothing if I don&#39;t have a solid bench mark to compare myself to. Is it still a race if no one else races? Wouldn&#39;t that be just me going fast down a hill? I voted no.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    As a golfer, I understand slope and rating. I just find it difficult to compare a golf course to a ski racing course set. The course stays the same. The only variables are the weather and pin placement...neither of which are calculated into the slope or rating.

    To liken golf to Nastar, Tiger Woods (or a Parsetter that played against him at Parsetter Trials) would have to go play the course each morning to set "today&#39;s par". In effect, that is what Nastar is trying to do.

    Unfortunately, when the slope and rating are determined for golf courses, a knowlegable/professional is assigned the task. To liken golf to Nastar, there would need to be someone with similar credentials at every race EACH day that a race takes place at EACH venue. Remember that Pacesetters are folks like you and me that, many times, are volunteers not professionals.

    One way that this system MAY work is to give each resort a RATING (established by either formula [length of slope, vertical drop, etc] or by a qualified person) based on the pitch of the hill being raced on, and any other factors that would make it more difficult. For example, a flat and even slope would have an easy rating. While a steep undulating slope would have a very difficult rating. And there would be room inbetween for flat undulating and steep even slopes.

    While the idea you have is not only a very good one (one that has been brought up before), remember that most resorts are short staffed when it comes to Nastar, and things need to be kept as simple as possible so that ALL resorts can participate in the program. But I definately see the use for this.
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    As a golfer, I understand slope and rating. I just find it difficult to compare a golf course to a ski racing course set. The course stays the same. The only variables are the weather and pin placement...neither of which are calculated into the slope or rating.

    You mean like fast green slow greens, wind, humidity, etc.?

    While the idea you have is not only a very good one (one that has been brought up before), remember that most resorts are short staffed when it comes to Nastar, and things need to be kept as simple as possible so that ALL resorts can participate in the program. But I definately see the use for this.[/b]
    Sounds a little complicated to me right now since my brain is still trying to "steer with your hips, stand like a gorilla, don&#39;t drop your shoulder, drive that knee, forward, forward....what kind of wax?" I&#39;m happy when the announcer or timing board can actually give me a handicap at the end of each race! :neutral:

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    PM FROM DANAQUERY - KEYSTONE RACE CREW

    Hello SkierScott,

    I used to be good at math, but did not review your equations too carefully.

    However, I think in principle, these are very good ideas. I know that we at Keystone have a reputation for our guests receiving low handicaps compared to other resorts. I set the course and paceset almost every day, and do it strictly by the book. I went to NASTAR pacesetter trials and averaged a 9 in clothes and a 5 in a speed suit. I use a 9 because i paceset in the same clothes I used at Snowmass in the "clothes" race. People have argued that I have improved over the year, therefore should have a lower handicap. This is a valid point, though I skied pretty well at Snowmass.

    The reason I like your ideas is that our hill at Keystone is quite flat and short. par times are typically about 17.8 to 18.5. If I set the course straight, people get lower handicaps. (my skis are fast, but i weigh about 150) On turnier courses people score higher handicaps because I can get around the turns a bit better, so have an advantage. Naturally a light pacesetter on a short flat course will produce (other things being equal) lower handicaps for NASTAR racers.

    Someone said that the national pacesetter(s) used to go around and reestablish the pacesetter&#39;s handicaps on their home hills. This also seems like a good idea.

    The NASTAR system is about as good as it gets for standardizing ski racing. However the nature of the sport determines that different people with different strengths will produce different results on different hills.

    I do not know this for sure, but have heard that at some resorts, pacesetters have guesti-mated handicaps, and this would surely only contribute to the problem of handicap disparity among resorts.

    Good luck in your efforts to improve the system. Bill Madsen is who you need to talk to. Let me know if you need his e-mail address.

    cheers,

    dana, keystone race crew.

    (feel free to post this whereever you need to).


  9. #9
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    Dana, if you are reading this I want to start off by saying that while I have been one of, if not the biggest, slammers of Keystone&#39;s low handicaps, it has not been my intention to be slamming you directly. Only that SOMETHING is wrong...what, I don&#39;t know, but there is no reason why a 20+ handicapper in my local area resorts on medium to medium-flat courses should end up with a single digit or very low teens at Keystone. Our hills and course sets really aren&#39;t THAT tough.

    Maybe what SkierScott is proposing would help with this issue. If, for example, someone was 10 percent slower than the par time at an "average" resort, that person would get a 10. Likewise the same skier, still 10 percent slower than the par time, would get an 8 at a "difficult" resort, and a 12 at an "easy" resort.

    Obviously, this is simplified, but to go back to the analogy of golf, this is how handicaps are generated: If, in golf, Player A averaged a score of 80 over 10 rounds at an easy course, (using the slope/rating) their handicap would be higher than Player B who averaged the same 80 over 10 rounds at a difficult course. The reason? Because if both of these players were to compete in a tournament, the only way to "even the playing field" is to take into account where they tend to play.

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    Thanks for the feedback so far. It sounds like folks have been able to see the benefits of a straight forward concept like this slope rating multiplier idea which is already being used in other sports.

    I look forward to more feedback as to what you like/dislike about this slope rating multiplier idea so that it can be further clarified. If you are a pacesetter / know the race crew, please post cap times, par times & dates so that we can validate, refine, or disprove this idea.


    PM FROM DANAQUERY - KEYSTONE RACE CREW

    Hello SkierScott,

    However, I think in principle, these are very good ideas.

    ...The reason I like your ideas is that our hill at Keystone is quite flat and short. par times are typically about 17.8 to 18.5. If I set the course straight, people get lower handicaps. (my skis are fast, but i weigh about 150) On turnier courses people score higher handicaps because I can get around the turns a bit better, so have an advantage.

    ...Good luck in your efforts to improve the system.

    cheers,

    dana, keystone race crew.
    [/b]
    Nice job. Just like all golf courses have a slope rating (degree of difficulty), doing so in Nastar could equalize the discrepancies between:
    flat Nastar - little offset -low hcp pacesetter" and "steeper Nastar - more offset - high hcp pacesetter"[/b]
    ...Wow. Intriguing thought. You&#39;ve come up with a better quantitative approach.[/b]
    ...Maybe what SkierScott is proposing would help with this issue. If, for example, someone was 10 percent slower than the par time at an "average" resort, that person would get a 10. Likewise the same skier, still 10 percent slower than the par time, would get an 8 at a "difficult" resort, and a 12 at an "easy" resort.

    Obviously, this is simplified, but to go back to the analogy of golf, this is how handicaps are generated: If, in golf, Player A averaged a score of 80 over 10 rounds at an easy course, (using the slope/rating) their handicap would be higher than Player B who averaged the same 80 over 10 rounds at a difficult course. The reason? Because if both of these players were to compete in a tournament, the only way to "even the playing field" is to take into account where they tend to play.[/b]




    While the idea you have is not only a very good one (one that has been brought up before), remember that most resorts are short staffed when it comes to Nastar, and things need to be kept as simple as possible so that ALL resorts can participate in the program. But I definately see the use for this.[/b]
    I agree with the need to keep things simple as possible and that is why I am suggesting the use of the cap time information which is already captured by NASTAR.





    Wow, great effort putting all this together.

    ...Let me make sure I&#39;m clear on this. By using your system you&#39;ll eliminate the need of a pacesetter right?[/b]
    The addition of a slope rating multiplier does not eliminate the need for a pacesetter as the pacesetter still is responsible for creating a par time & a cap time.



    ...What happens if the racer beats the cap time?[/b]
    A racer should never beat the cap time since NASTAR defines "cap time" as the time it takes the local pacesetter to tuck from the start to the finish of their course without going around gates, and is the fastest possible time down the venue.

    Also NASTAR requires par time to be more than 5% over cap time.



    ....I think it makes it more interesting for the customer to know/feel that they are racing against the zero HC or against someone and not the hill. ....They will always look back and compare themselves to someone. The main point of ski racing for me has been to improve my skiing and have fun doing it. In a "race" it means nothing if I don&#39;t have a solid bench mark to compare myself to.[/b]
    I definitely agree that NASTAR needs a "solid benchmark" for racers to compare themselves to. The need for a solid benchmark goes directly to the heart of why the slope rating multiplier will further enhance NASTAR. The addition of a slope rating multiplier to the current system will allow NASTAR to capture more of the variances due to the ski area, the course setter & the course conditions. Ultimately, NASTAR will end up with a more accurate / true handicap that enhances NASTAR&#39;s ability to meet the goal of "allowing racers of all ages and abilities a means to compare their results to other competitors across the country regardless of when and where they race".

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