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Thread: Return to Expert/Recreational

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    Senior Member oldgold76's Avatar
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    Return to Expert/Recreational

    I'm semi-retired from Nastar, as I have moved too far from favorite Nastar resorts to make it a practical regular event, and am still rehabbing a shoulder injury I acquired in the last Nastar race of '13/'14 season. Might come back someday, or not, but have a suggestion that might lure other on-the-fence old racers like me to climb back into the saddle. When I came out of my last ten year retirement in the early years of this millennia, that one brought on by serious back injuries and two subsequent surgeries in 2001, there were Rec and Expert divisions. Don't remember the specifics anymore, but I had no problem with the Rec label because then, as now, I only got out to ski/race a few times a year at best. Long story short, I did quite well for a flat-lander. I got my handicap back to lower numbers I achieved as a kid, won a bunch of Platinum medals (after coining the tag OLDGOLD76), and finished very near the top of my state age most the years I competed. Consequently, I surpassed all my racing goals and feel no driving urge to extend my comeback. BUT, here's my thought. No way I can compete, in the standings, with only a couple yearly outings and it's just too costly and time-consuming to take the number of trips I'd need to be sure I hit a few of those wonderful fast-course days that drop everyone's handicaps five to eight points a shot. I hate seeing guys I beat regularly face-to-face besting me in the standings because they race at great resorts twenty to thirty times a season and benefit as a result in those low handicap bonanzas that boost them up the rankings, while I can only average my best 3 of 4, on average, and that is a sure way not to go low. So, here's the idea. Bring back the Recreational Racer category for those who only race four times or less during the regular Nastar season. Give them back their own standings and make their lowest handicap the only one that counts. That group would probably make up about half the Nastar field and it would make it more interesting for those of us who don't race much, but still would like to see how we stack up against others who also can't get out often. Of course, anyone who would rather compete in the overall mix could still opt out of the Rec standing, should they choose. I'm thinking this could only be a win-win, since I can't think of a down-side effect. Anyone have thoughts? OLD GOLD

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    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    I always like to hear the perspectives of others and appreciate the thoughts you shared.

    I competed under the old system (Recreational vs. Expert) in 2004 and 2005. When the Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum system was introduced the following year it was well received. Nearly ten years later it has undergone some tweaking and has developed into a nice way of classifying racers attending the Nationals.

    You raise some good points but I suspect there wouldn't be much support for reverting to the older system.
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    Senior Member oldgold76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patmoore View Post
    You raise some good points but I suspect there wouldn't be much support for reverting to the older system.
    Thanks, Pat. I appreciate you taking the time to look over my suggestion. You may well be right, in that Nastar probably wouldn't want to retool the program they've been developing for the last decade or so. Still, the P, G, S, B system basically addresses skill levels without consideration of frequency of participation. They could actually keep the current system, and add my upgrade with little difficulty. This could be advisable because there are so many Nastar racers who don't participate regularly (more than four times a year, probably a majority) and would feel more inclined to stay involved in a competitive program where they are not at such a disadvantage. You could be in Rec/Plat, Rec/Gold, Rec/Siver, etc., if you choose, and see how you stack up against others who don't race often. That could increase the overall popularity of Nastar because it would make more racers feel they have a chance to rank well in their own demographic, so to speak. Regardless of how often we race, I'd say most of us are pretty competitive folks. In general, more choices and options are usually seen as positives. OLD GOLD

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    In theory,it should not matter how many times you run within the medal bracket you are ranked in. That is the point of a handicap/ability class ranking. If you improve enough, you advance to the next bracket.

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    Senior Member oldgold76's Avatar
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    A lot of racers don't have the opportunity to race often. Why shouldn't they be able to compete with others who also have limited opportunity so it levels the playing field for those racers. If you look at the participation numbers it is obvious that most Nastar racers don't race more than a few times a year. That would seem to be a natural place to draw a line between recreational and regular participation. In general, the people who participate most either live reasonably close to ski resorts or can afford to travel long distances to visit them. If you can encourage the racer who normally races once or twice to add just one more race day per season that would do wonders for overall Nastar numbers. OLD GOLD

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    Old gold, just want to clarify my understanding. Your proposing that if there are 6 racers ranked in the bronze medal bracket and 3 have x+ days, they should be ranked together as experts based on days raced and the 3 with x- should be ranked together as recreational.....or somthing to that effect?It's an idea.Question in the old expert, rec divisions, wasn't it based on handicap. >20 = expert,

  7. #7
    Senior Member oldgold76's Avatar
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    Hi, Cinciracer. Hope you're having a good year in the gates. To tell the truth, I don't even remember how they did the Rec/Expert thing in the old days. I just used those terms because they are familiar and suggestive of someone's level of commitment and participation. Others designations might be better, I suppose. The idea is simply to rank those people who don't race much with others who don't race much. As it stands now, I race three or four days a season and am ranked by averaging my best three handicaps. Joe Competition, in my same gender, age and skill group, races 24 times and is ranked by averaging his best three handicaps. Obviously, with him racing about six times as many days, he will benefit greatly from the occasional fast course days that allow him to lower his handicap by five or so points on those days. They average those lower handicaps and, even though Joe Competition has never beaten me face-to-face, he now beats me in the rankings by five points or so. I'm suggesting we can opt for, or not if we choose, a Recreational Ranking that uses our best handicap, from a total of no more than four regular season races, all season, as our handicap. No averaging, because there are not enough races (max. 4) to make averaging significant. So you'd still have the P, G, S and B divisions, both divisions could ski the same courses, but you'd only be competing against and ranked with those in the division of your choice (and you could only choose Rec if you raced four or fewer times that season and didn't race in any other organizations beside Nastar). There are a lot of people who don't race that much each year and I bet they'd enjoy seeing how they stack up against others like themselves. I know I would. Sorry if this sounds confusing. I don't see it as a major change to the system, just a bit of fine tuning to benefit a sizable number of Nastar participants. Hope this attempt at an explanation didn't make it worse. If so, maybe it is too complicated to pursue. Thanks for your interest! OLD GOLD

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    Old days the recreational racer was the general public Nastar racer, no matter how many times they raced. The Expert was classified as someone that worked for a resort or in racing in some capacity- pacesetters, ski instructors, coaches, etc. were the Experts back under that old system in the early 2000's and before....

    I do not see the number of days you run Nastar as a indication of racing experience. If you are in a non-Nastar race league (beer or otherwise), run Ski Council or club race series, high school or collegiate race leagues, Masters or other USSA race opportunities, then you may race more than the average Nastar die hard, but still should be in the Expert category. Also there are a number of resorts that have elected to leave Nastar and started their own series out there now, which if your home mountain (or hill) is one of these, then you could be racing regularly in those also.

    There could also be those that would state since I only ran Nastar 2 times or days-whatever (no matter how many other non-Nastar races they did), I should be recreational and no way of forcing a sand bag in the recreational category. The number of days may not be the best criteria, just the old argument was if you happened to be a ski instructor, does not make you a racing expert always.
    Last edited by RShea; 01-28-2015 at 09:26 PM.

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    Old gold, thanks for sharing / expanding on/ explaining your idea.Enjoy the season, it'll be over all too soon

  10. #10
    Senior Member oldgold76's Avatar
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    You are welcome, Cinciracer. The very same to you!

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