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Thread: Pace the hill not the pacesetter?

  1. #1
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    Pace the hill not the pacesetter?

    From the Keystone thread..
    http://forums.nastar.com/showthread....ht-at-Keystone


    As you said Rick.
    If the course meets basic NASTAR standards for set and the par time is even close to the cap time, the only thing that can be wrong is the pacesetter's handicap.

    How do you think this approach would turn out?

    Open the course by having the pacesetter do both a pacesetting run and a cap time run using the same skis.
    The timers then adjust the pacesetter's handicap so that par time is 5% greater than cap time. (Or whatever, see below)
    That is then the pacesetter's handicap for the day and is used to figure all the other participants handicaps.

    No pacesetter trials are required with this system.

    This system could be tied to a National Standard by using an ex-US Ski Team member to travel around and establish the correct par/cap time ratio for each hill.
    This would need to be done once and then adjusted only if things change.

    This is a pretty radical departure from the way things are done now.

    Be interesting to get some real data from a couple of courses and pacesetters to see if this would work.
    Last edited by Da Kine; 03-12-2012 at 07:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    Like I said, no data, but here is how it would work.

    Let's suppose a pacesetter shows up at hill X and sets two courses, one straight and one very turney.

    First he tucks the hill and gets a cap time of 18 seconds.
    Then he runs the straight course and gets a 19.5 second run.
    Then he runs the turney course and gets a 22 second time.

    The par time is computed by multiplying the cap by 1.05 to get 18.9 seconds (assuming NASTAR has said that a 5% par cap ratio is right for this venue.)

    The pacesetter than has a 3.1 handicap for the straight course (19.5/18.9-1)*100
    And a 16.4 handicap for the turney course (22/18.9-1)*100

    The race is then run using the different pacesetter handicaps for the two courses.

    NASTAR can easily quality check the results for course appropriateness by watching the spread in the pacesetters handicaps. A rule might be made that if the pacesetter's current course handicap is more than one standard deviation from his norm the course should be reset.

    This approach avoids arbitrary pacesetter trials and produces results that should be similar to what we get now with the built in quality control of rejecting race results where the courses are not within NASTAR standards.

    To answer NE1's question...I don't think the results would be any more effected by sets than a system that assumes a constant seperation between your pacesetter and the Ski Team Pro regardless of hills.

    The added advantage is that customers wouldn't be jerked around from year to year by flawed or erratic pacetter trials.

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    How do you account for the fact that the gates will be in a different place every race?

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    You don't.
    That factor is what determines the pacesetter's handicap for that particular course on that particular day.
    The key to understanding what I propose is to understand that the pacetter gets a handicap for the course of the day just like anyone else.
    It is obviously incorrect to say that the pacesetter's handicap is independent of the course. This may be mostly true for some low handicap pacesetters but is wildly incorrect for pacesetters with handicaps more than 10 or so.

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    But that 3.1 and 16.9 will apply to specific courses in specific conditions, but may be different the next day when the courses are different. And you can't ignore the starting ability of the pacesetters, because that obviously comes into play.

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    But what I completely agree with you about is that a par time should never be below 105% of the cap time.

    I don't thin I understand the concept of your system, but I agree that there is going to be some (relatively constant) coefficient between a given course's par time and the cap time, and this coefficient is going to be dependent on the hill's pitch and terrain.

    As an aside I think flat nastar courses need to have less offset, not more, and steeper ones more offset. The former I think causes times to go too far in the other direction.

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    Main issue I see with this is the same as with the current set-up - you are going to have different pacesetters run the "cap time" with different times - i.e. Pacesetter Bob, who runs on Saturday, might run the cap at 18.5 sec, while Susie Pacesetter, who takes the Sunday session, might only be able to pull off a 21.4 sec run. This will drastically affect the handicaps awarded.

    And this doesn't even take into effect the differences in ski length, wax used, etc, and the fact that some pacestters might not even be able to tuck straight down some NASTAR courses - I know I sure wouldn't want to try this at Deer Valley - they'd either be scraping you up off the snow when you wiped out, or they'd be scraping you up out of the safety netting at the end of the finish corral.

    JMHO
    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

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    No one would like to see some improvements in this system more than me. BUT, everything I've seen so far appears to make the process more complicated/complex and I'm afraid that might just lead to more variables to go astray from day to day and course to course. Here's another possiblility. Have three or four types of courses set up at pacesetter trials. Individual pacesetters can then choose which one most resembles the hill and off-set upon which they regularly pace. As a result, they receive a handicap which is generally suitable for that resort. I know we're never going to make this perfect, but some simple changes, like this maybe, could make a big difference/improvement and make handicapping more representative for most competitors. OG

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    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgold76 View Post
    No one would like to see some improvements in this system more than me. BUT, everything I've seen so far appears to make the process more complicated/complex and I'm afraid that might just lead to more variables to go astray from day to day and course to course. Here's another possiblility. Have three or four types of courses set up at pacesetter trials. Individual pacesetters can then choose which one most resembles the hill and off-set upon which they regularly pace. As a result, they receive a handicap which is generally suitable for that resort. I know we're never going to make this perfect, but some simple changes, like this maybe, could make a big difference/improvement and make handicapping more representative for most competitors. OG
    OG, excellent idea, and pretty easy to set up.

    And I agree that every alternative suggested (with the exception of GB's idea of a three year average - which I agree with) is just as complicated, if not more so, than the current system, and my guess would lead to many unforseen consequences, that would be more detrimental than the current "problems", not to mention the racers not understanding - they have a hard enough time understanding the current "percentage slower" handicap set-up.

    Good post!

    JMHO
    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

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    True, no matter what you do, there will be numerous variables for which you can't control and which will alter handicap numbers.

    Ski selection, wax, how well the pacesetter slept the night before, the course set, the list goes on.

    We should probably all accept the system for what it is.

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