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Thread: NASTAR Rigs the Michigan Pacesetter Trials

  1. #1
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    When five locals beat National Pacesetter AJ Kitt on a straight up basis at the Michigan Pacesetter Trials held at Nubs Nob last year we knew there would be some payback.
    Here is how it played out.
    Bill Madsen (NASTAR competition director) and AJ moved the trials to Crystal Mountain and set a course not on Crystal's NASTAR hill but on the steepest thing there.
    From all reports the course was as nasty as AJ could make it.
    Naturally, the Michigan Pacesetters couldn't hang with AJ on a course totally unlike any normal NASTAR course in the country.

    Some Results

    NameLocationClassYearTimeHandicapMedalChange JIM STANLEYHudson, WIMale 30-34200921.470.37Platinum 201020.825.26Platinum4.89 Brett DohertyOrchard Lake, MIMale 17-20200921.291.24Platinum 201020.935.81Platinum4.57 Phillip ReeceBoyne City, MIMale 30-34200921.271.14Platinum 201021.599.15Platinum8.01 Eric SmithPetoskey, MIMale 45-49200921.843.85Platinum 201021.79.71Platinum5.86 John MedicinePetoskey, MIMale 40-44200921.833.8Platinum 201022.312.7Gold8.94
    Even Bill Madsen couldn't ski the handicap he established at Snowmass (3.5) on this course (5.0)

    When I contacted NASTAR here is Madsen's reponse

    "I appreciate your concern. The pacesetting trials at Nubs last year created a number of challenges for us throughout the season. Following the race we considered adding four points to all of the pacesetters handicaps so that the handicaps would be consistent throughout the country. After numerous discussion we decided against the adder and told the pacesetters to work hard and race fast to protect the par time.



    As the season progressed we had to recalculate a number of races because many pacesetters had a hard time keeping their races above par. Participants won medals they had never earned previously and posted handicaps that were not realistic. The short term effect was that people felt good about their results but the long term effect is an erosion of the handicap system.



    The results from the pacesetting trials this year are representative of how the NASTAR system should work. The pacesetters earned handicaps that represents their ability and they will set realistic par times.



    Racing is about having a good time and socializing with friends and family members. The NASTAR handicap system needs to be consistent from coast to coast. Last season the pacesetter handicaps that were earned at the pacesetting trials did not correctly represent the National Standard, this year they do."

    The fact is that low gradient hills put a premium on cleanly arced turns and minimum drag.
    AJ the gate crusher is not good at this and cannot beat the Michigan locals on a typical NASTAR course.
    We all know that if the NASTAR trials were held on a World Cup Downhill course very few of the pacesetters would even finish.

    My question is this..

    Should NASTAR pacesetter trials be held on a NASTAR hill or should NASTAR management management be free to game the system and hold the trials on a hill that gives them the result they arbitrarily want?

    Nobody who doesn't have great gliding and arcing skills is going to beat Jim Stanley on a low gradient hill.
    Since he is a 5 that means nobody in Michigan can hope to de better than a 5 on a course he sets.
    Based on last year's results his means AJ would ski a 6 or a 7 on a course handicapped by Jim and could only get a Gold Medal.
    Ain't that a laugh.



  2. #2
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Bill is right. Last year was a joke. I assure you, no one that beat AJ last year really felt like it was legit. You can even look back at some of the posts from last season on that exact topic.

    For the Nastar system to work the way it is designed, the national pacesetter needs to be the fastest guy in the country. The choice of run and the course set this season assured that the best skiers could achieve separation.

    and the course was not "as nasty as AJ could make it" It was a normal course. The only thing nasty about it was that you were actually required to (gasp!) TURN.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    Dakine, welcome to the Forum. Now that you have said your peace, leave before we RUSH you out.
    I drink, therefore I am!
    CRU145

  4. #4
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    Avoiding the question and personal abuse.
    That's off to a good start.
    I think it is a valid question as to whether trials should be held on a hill that NASTAR races are actually held on.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jclose8's Avatar
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    Avoiding the question and personal abuse.
    That's off to a good start.
    I think it is a valid question as to whether trials should be held on a hill that NASTAR races are actually held on.[/b]
    I agree. It is a valid question.

    Last year was OBVIOUSLY a problem. If people that really have very little race background or experience can get 1 or 2 handicaps, there is a problem with the system. I saw it plenty last season. Nastar took appropriate steps to maintain the integrity of the Nastar program. They did not "rig" the trials.
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  6. #6
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    I think last year was a problem not this year. Ed take a look at soem of the same pacesetters from years prior and you will see they scored similarly to the years before 08/09. I think the results from this year are about where they should be
    An eye for an eye!

  7. #7
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    Actually, I agree with that.
    Why NASTAR didn't re do the handicaps is beyond common sense.

    AJ did get beat straight up because we are the kings of low gradient technique.
    I'll bet if he and Madsen come back to Birch Run it will happen again.
    If NASTAR sent a real glider it would be different.

  8. #8
    Senior Member putterman's Avatar
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    Dakine, you are right, I should not have attacked you. The reason for you short temper is that every year someone jumps into this Forum attacking Nastar and the way they do things. I'm sick of it! Instead of the members here chatting about the skis they got, and waxes (on skis, not personal), technique, and how much they love racing, we end up in debates. I am guilty of getting drawn into these types of discussions. I am going to make a SERIOUS effort to just ignore those subjects and not get involved. Personally, I believe that if you have that strong of an issue with how Nastar is running things, you should take it up with Nastar, not drag the Forum through it. Again, that is a personal belief. Not a Forum rule. Sorry for the attack. But if anyone thinks I seem peeved now, wait to see how angry I get when Nastar gives up and is sick of getting bashed for unfairness and accused of rigging things, forcing them to give the whole thing up. Nastar is what got me back into skiing. It got me back to doing things with friends and family I hadn't done in almost two decades. So, pardon me when I get short when Nastar gets bad mouthed. Yes, it upsets me. Maybe a lot of you have choices to race other things besides Nastar, but we don't have as many choices around here...weekly clubs, weekend races without memberships, recreational settings, last minute sign-ups.

    The other reason I got short with you, Dakine, is that you JUST joined the Forum, and came in with a bang. In the past, the only ones that I have seen do that are just looking for arguments, conflict, and to stir things up. Maybe I pinned you incorrectly. Maybe you've been following the Forum for years. Maybe you've been racing Nastar for decades. I don't know you and shouldn't have attacked. Only time will tell.

    Now, to not attack, but to state this calmly and politely: If you are not happy with what Nastar has done, take it up with Headquarters. State your dissappointment, they usually listen. If you find that things aren't to your satisfaction, no one is forcing you to race Nastar. Boycotting Nastar will make your statement. It will hit Nastar most where it counts, in their wallet. You would certainly not be the first to decide to never give them any more of your money. Hey, I've done that with Sears. They did me wrong. I refuse to buy anything from them, regardless of how good a particualar product they have is, or how much I need it. If I can't find another company/manufacturer for what I need elsewhere, I end up doing without. All I can suggest is that if Nastar has done you as wrong as Sears did to me, well, turn your back on them.

    To directly address the issue you have: Only 5% of racers are supposed to get Platinums. More got them last year than should have. Nastar did something about that this year. Was it the right thing? I don't know, but they did SOMETHING. They listened. What will they do next year? Don't know. But I'm sure they will try to figure it out. Mercedes arguably makes the best production car in the world (if you don't like MB, fill in another manufacturer). Every year they STILL make changes to make their cars even better. Have they had some junk along the way? Sure, but that is because they tried new things in order to improve. Nastar is doing the same thing. Their job is like parenting. There really is no one to truly tell them how the "right" way to do thing is. They have to figure it out. They have to evolve.

    I have sent numerous suggestions to HQ, and they have actually used one. Agruing with them and telling them what to do, IMO, is like being a bratty teenager. I know that I have a choice, as does everyone else, use their program or don't. I find it great that they are open to suggestions. Hey, they listen! Look, we have TWO Opens this year...something we lobbied for. Do I like the format, the cost, the ONE day of racing? No. But it is a start, and I know that they will tweek it.

    Dakine, the best of luck in your ventures to change the program, as long as it doesn't adversly affect the rest of us. Happy Holidays, and have a great 09-10 season.
    I drink, therefore I am!
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  9. #9
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    Not to worry.
    I'm an old veteran of internet forums and often make my posts provocative just to get some action.
    If you want real abuse, try some of the motorcycle drag racing forums.
    At least nobody has threatened to take my life or burn down my house here.......yet.

    The wonderful thing about these forums is they allow for discussion.
    As Harry Truman said "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

    One thing is clear from the many folks I have discussed this with.
    Nobody likes the idea that Reigonal Pacesetter Trials are held on non-NASTAR hills just to get seperation.
    This is totally arbitrary and gives the appearance of improper behavior.

    I just started this game and at a gut level don't like the idea that our area will be docked 6% because somebody screwed up last year.

    We have league racing three nights a week, NASTAR on weekends, speed series on Friday and assorted Masters and USSA races.
    And that's just at Nubs Nob, the Boynes have their own programs.
    Our town is the only place I have seen where the fastest guy on the high school ski team is considered more of a stud than the quarterback of the football team.
    It is no accident that we have many guys that have mastered low gradient technique.
    Technique is the real issue here.
    What works on an FIS course doesn't work on a low gradient NASTAR course...and vice versa.

  10. #10
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    How would anybody not consider AJ Kitt a good glider, he's been to 4 Olympics in DH. When a local beats a WC skier [and it happens] they've caught lightning in a bottle. Its a great feeling, and a great accomplishment but not exactly a true measure of day to day racing. The pacesettter trials tend to be a little tougher to get some seperation and the pacesetters know this, we're professionals. No good is served with a vanity hdcp when you get to the finals and are now in the wrong class.

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