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Thread: New qualification and Nationals Division Placement rules....

  1. #1

    New qualification and Nationals Division Placement rules....

    Just saw the new rules. Actually, I like how they work. Especially since I live in South Florida and don't get to ski much.....

    Want to make sure that I have this right... I was in the Platinum division at the nationals last year. All of my times during that event were gold (18 or 19 handicap). If I race this upcoming season and have several platinum times, I think that I will race in the 2018 Nationals in the Gold division based on my results at 2017 Nationals.

    Is this correct?

  2. #2
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    That appears to be correct.

    There is a new process for determining divisions for the Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Championships. The criteria have changed to more accurately place participants in the correct division based on their ability: Platinum Division, Gold Division, Silver Division and Bronze Division within each age and gender group.

    Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Championship participants will be placed in a division based on results within their race profile. The first option listed below that fits a participant's race profile will place them in their division:

    Final average handicap from the 2017 NASTAR National Championships
    Best handicap from a 2018 NASTAR Regional Championship event
    NASTAR National ranking handicap from the 2017-18 season (3 race days needed)
    The best handicap earned by March 13th, 2018.
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  3. #3
    Thanks for the quick reply. Actually, I think that works well. Most of the time, the handicap you earn at the Nationals is pretty representative of where you should be. If you greatly improve year over year, the bump rule will come into play.

    Thanks again....see you in Squaw

  4. #4
    The only problem I see is that in my Platinum division in 2017 Nationals there were 14 racers. Under the new rules, 10 of these racers would have been placed in Gold...leaving at best 4 racers in Platinum.

    In the Gold division there were 15 racers. Under the new rules 14 of them would be silver and only one staying in Gold.

    It is all relative I guess. Everyone would be competing against the same people, just a division lower.

    The only impact would be that we all get moved to less challenging courses during Nationals competition.

    Platinum level can be a lonely division......

    Still is going to be fun.....

  5. #5
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    Not sure whether this is going to be good or not, Platinum and Gold courses tend to be more challenging in terrain and course sets. The Silver and Bronze courses tend to be flatter and straighter becoming equalizers. The pacesetters ability to carve and accelerate down the hill is negated by flat straight courses. If one looks at the national handicaps in the platinum and gold divisions, as Monpick pointed out, most racers ski a division lower than which they qualified. If one looks at the Silver and Bronze divisions it is just the opposite, the majority of racers ski to their division. I think this will create an enormous amount of racers in the Silver division, with the racers moving down due to Nationals handicap always winning. I am a good example of this. If one looks at my record, I am a borderline Silver/Gold skier. When racing in the Nationals in Silver, I have always skied gold medals. When racing in the Nationals in Gold, I have never skied to a Gold medal. I do not think previous years nationals handicap should be the "Top/Only" criteria. I think that should be a consideration. If my national ranking for the year is Gold, I prefer to ski Gold, not Silver, based on last years Nationals(Yes I realize I can ask Nastar to move me up) I don't think it's fair to National Silver racers. Possibly have a Racers option, when registering, based on your National ranking that year, to register in your National Ranking division. I applaud Nastar(Or maybe this is USSA) for trying to create additional "fairness" at the nationals however I see this as being a disaster for Silver division racers. Remember this is Recreational Racing, IE FUN, not World Cup Cary Popour
    Last edited by NCSkier; 07-08-2017 at 10:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Cary has a good point. I am in the same situation...I always qualify for a division higher than my results at Nationals. That is because the Gold/Platinum courses at Nationals are faster and more difficult that the typical resort Nastar course used for qualification. I like it that way because I enjoy the challenge. I think there will be three issues pop up this year....

    1) The number of Platinum qualifiers will be greatly reduced. It could be lonely at the top.

    2) A substantial number of Gold and Silver qualifiers will drop down one level. The downside of this is that the courses are less challenging at Nationals. Some will enjoy this...some will not. There will be a much larger Bronze group as well.

    3) New racers at the Nationals that enter at the Bronze/Silver level (especially those new to the racing scene) will be facing much larger groups and more experienced groups to compete against due to the movement down in divisions that many frequent Nationals competitors will experience. This could make it "less inviting" for those new to racing.

    To offset this, maybe awards can be created for the "rookies" so they can get some positive reinforcement for diving into the Nastar pool for the first time.

    I know that there is no perfect answer to the qualification/division determination answer. I really appreciate the effort made by the Nastar squad to improve the process.

    Lets see how it works this year.......should be fun either way!!!! Cary....if you beat me again this year you definitely owe me a beer or two.

    Thanks....Steve

  7. #7
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    Cary is correct. I am also a silver/gold racer. In 2010 I raced with Cary at Nationals in Silver division. For whatever reason, we ended up with low handicaps. I believe my handicap in 1st place was around 14-16. Not realistic. In my mind, the pace setter did not ski the course with the same intensity as on gold/platinum course. As a result, if I remember correctly, 1stthrough 3rd In the Silver division ended up with lower handicaps than the top 3 in the GOLD division. The results did not reflect reality. NASTAR is working with a theory that will only work if everyone races on the same course with a single pacesetting run.Another consequence of the artificial disparity between the Bronze/Silver course handicaps and Gold/Platinum course handicaps is in the Race of Champions. Bronze/Silver champions were, at least then, unduly penalized because their "winning " handicaps are artificially low. NASTAR may be on the right track - but this theory needs some refinement.JDH

  8. #8
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    I agree with JDH. There need s to be some refinement/tweaking here. If I race all season long, and attain GOLD National standing based on results, I should not be placed in the Silver division based on my previous years nationals ranking or a ranking I received in a Regional championship Where is the incentive to improve/race if I'm already slotted in a division?? Bill, I hope Nastar(USSA) weighs in here, Communications in the forum and in general since the takeover, quite frankly, has sucked!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by JDH View Post
    Cary is correct. I am also a silver/gold racer. In 2010 I raced with Cary at Nationals in Silver division. For whatever reason, we ended up with low handicaps. I believe my handicap in 1st place was around 14-16. Not realistic. In my mind, the pace setter did not ski the course with the same intensity as on gold/platinum course. As a result, if I remember correctly, 1stthrough 3rd In the Silver division ended up with lower handicaps than the top 3 in the GOLD division. The results did not reflect reality. NASTAR is working with a theory that will only work if everyone races on the same course with a single pacesetting run.Another consequence of the artificial disparity between the Bronze/Silver course handicaps and Gold/Platinum course handicaps is in the Race of Champions. Bronze/Silver champions were, at least then, unduly penalized because their "winning " handicaps are artificially low. NASTAR may be on the right track - but this theory needs some refinement.JDH

  9. #9
    The problem is that the courses we race on during the year are usually all similar and similar in difficulty to the bronze/silver courses set during the Nationals. The Gold/Platinum courses during the Nationals are always more challenging. Most of the Gold/Platinum regular season qualifiers under the old system will typically earn a handicap during the Nationals that is one division lower than the handicap they earned during the year. This will result in downward compression into silver/bronze divisions for the Nationals. There is no way to avoid this as long as the Gold/Platinum courses during the Nationals are more challenging. I personally think these courses should be more challenging and would prefer not to be moved down a division for Nationals ( I already received a "demotion" in course difficulty because I turned 60).

    Maybe the solution is to go with the new system overall, but create new Gold/Platinum divisions for those that wish to compete on the more challenging courses in the division they earn during the year (and provide the old dudes like me the option to opt out of the age based course demotion). Provide the option to step up a division if you earned it during the year. This would not affect the competition in a negative way, would not diminish the number of Platinum racers and would provide a challenge to those of us that like to chase the top racers (even though it may be a futile effort as in my case).

    Just a thought.........

    I support USSA and their efforts to increase the number of racers that attend the Nationals and that participate during the year. Lets keep up the discussion and we will find a better way to make the program better for everyone.
    Last edited by Monpick; 07-11-2017 at 01:05 AM.

  10. #10
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    The criteria has changed to more accurately place participants in the correct divisi

    I'm still of the opinion I should have a choice, based on my season rankings which division I should be placed in. Give me the option to race in which division(if applicable) at the time of registration and do not allow any changes after that. Last years results are just that. Changing the criteria based on previous handicaps doesn't correctly place one in the correct division. There are too many factors in play here, Course terrain, course conditions, course set, pacesetters accuracy/consistency, etc. Trying to compensate at the Nationals for the many variables at resorts, courses etc that lead to lower handicaps needs some rethinking Why doesn't Nastar make the Nationals courses more representative of the resorts courses. IE Shorter, flatter, straighter. Wouldn't that more accurately correlate to handicaps???
    Quote Originally Posted by Monpick View Post
    The problem is that the courses we race on during the year are usually all similar and similar in difficulty to the bronze/silver courses set during the Nationals. The Gold/Platinum courses during the Nationals are always more challenging. Most of the Gold/Platinum regular season qualifiers under the old system will typically earn a handicap during the Nationals that is one division lower than the handicap they earned during the year. This will result in downward compression into silver/bronze divisions for the Nationals. There is no way to avoid this as long as the Gold/Platinum courses during the Nationals are more challenging. I personally think these courses should be more challenging and would prefer not to be moved down a division for Nationals ( I already received a "demotion" in course difficulty because I turned 60). Maybe the solution is to go with the new system overall, but create new Gold/Platinum divisions for those that wish to compete on the more challenging courses in the division they earn during the year (and provide the old dudes like me the option to opt out of the age based course demotion). Provide the option to step up a division if you earned it during the year. This would not affect the competition in a negative way, would not diminish the number of Platinum racers and would provide a challenge to those of us that like to chase the top racers (even though it may be a futile effort as in my case). Just a thought......... I support USSA and their efforts to increase the number of racers that attend the Nationals and that participate during the year. Lets keep up the discussion and we will find a better way to make the program better for everyone.

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