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Thread: Bad NASTAR Resorts

  1. #11

    Are they fair? Don't know about that

    [quote]Sooo, if you are planning a trip to PC to get ACCURATE

    I wish to respectfully disagree with you, my dear, about whether the handicaps are fair. I don't think they are fair at all, because they are inconsistent. My best handicap at the pacesetter trials was a 24 (and probably the most 'accurate' as I had some equipment issues - mainly being on a ski that was perfect for an open Masters GS course, and not so perfect for a course with 17-18m turns - my bad :( ), and there are days when I run that handicap, or even do a little better (it's amazing what appropriate equipment can do for you! :roll: ). But there are a lot of days where I'm hard pressed to get remotely close to that 24 handicap.

    And that creates an uneven playing field. If everyone has handicaps that are consistently 5-10 points higher than they were used to, everyday, it would make things fair; we'd all be at the same disadvantage. Maybe we wouldn't look so good in the national standings, and possibly we'd be accused of sandbagging, but it would be fair across the resort.

    Instead, if you only ski some days (and let's face it, some of us have to work, once in a while), and hit a 'bad' (i.e high handicap) day, you are at a disadvantage to someone else in your age class who was out on a 'good' day. And that's NOT FAIR. Especially if you want to qualify for the Nationals.

    Me? I ski enough that I hit good days and bad days, and it all works out. But there are a lot of people who only run Nastar occasionally, and those are the people who really are being negatively affected by the inconsistent handicapping.

    That said, I would like to reiterate your comment about the staff. Both the paid staff and the volunteers are pleasant to deal with, and are open to feedback. The announcing is very good, and everyone does their best to accomodate the guests. So, if you are looking to have a fun day, and aren't hung up on handicaps, you'll enjoy yourself. But if you're looking to 'catch' your best friend, you'd both better go out on the same day! And if you are looking to qualify for Nationals, you'd better be prepared to put a bunch of days in, so you can catch a 'good' one.
    Melior victus per venenum.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Re: Are they fair? Don't know about that

    Originally posted by PlayHard

    ......Instead, if you only ski some days (and let's face it, some of us have to work, once in a while), and hit a 'bad' (i.e high handicap) day, you are at a disadvantage to someone else in your age class who was out on a 'good' day.  And that's NOT FAIR. ........ Especially if you want to qualify for the Nationals. (Racer X\'s boldface italics)

    Me?  I ski enough that I hit good days and bad days, and it all works out.  But there are a lot of people who only run Nastar occasionally, and those are the people who really are being negatively affected by the inconsistent handicapping...........

    ...........  So, if you are looking to have a fun day, and aren't hung up on handicaps, you'll enjoy yourself............. And if you are looking to qualify for Nationals, you'd better be prepared to put a bunch of days in, so you can catch a 'good' one.

    This is a big potential problem - the inconsistencies from day to day and resort to resort could make it very difficult for an otherwise quailfied racer who doesn't ski every day (or every weekend for that matter - even that can be very expensive!) to qualify for Nationals. Allowing the bronze qualifiers in will help, but I have 2 daughters who were pulling silvers and the occasional gold last year, and who pulled silvers against Daron at the Nationals last year, who can barely eke out a bronze this season so far - talk about discouraging to them - they are starting to say why bother going at all, if the best I can do is a bronze - fortunately, the competivie side is winning out, and both are saying I know I can do better.

    And, after waiting until after the qualification deadline passed the last three years to book hotels and lodging in Park City for the Nationals, and then paying through the nose, this year I got smart and booked plane fare and lodging to Steamboat early to get a better deal (for all five of us) and now I'm sitting on pins and needles hoping the kids will qualify (thanks to the bronze class it looks ok - for now).

    It is something that needs to be addressed by the home office at some point, and I'm sure it will be. My guess is that with Jake running for the first time in AJ's place this year, he wanted to make sure it was done right, thus his continuous multiple runs. And it probably does make it more accurate compared to Nationals, but it is a problem, because my guess is that many of the pacesetters are running 5-7 handicap points lower at their own resort than their time trials handicap. JMHO

  3. #13
    Senior Member Racer X's Avatar
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    Re: Another BTM editorial, I know, nobody asked me ;-)

    Originally posted by backtomasters

    But heck, here in Utah we only have 121 Men in the state overall, for Minnesota there are 1046 men competing.  What the heck is up with that?
    Utah - Mormon State - no beer leagues
    Minnesota - Midwest State - many beer leagues

    (but, hey it\'s all we can do for most of the winter!) :wink:

  4. #14
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Another BTM editorial, I know, nobody asked me ;-)

    Originally posted by Racer X
    Utah - Mormon State - no beer leagues
    Minnesota - Midwest State - many beer leagues
    Makes perfect sense to me!

    "Beer! It's not just for breakfast anymore"

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  5. #15
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    What Makes A Resort Bad?

    We've wandered a little from deciding, as participating racers, what makes a "bad" NASTAR resort, and what should constitute a bare minimum of "customer service."
    So, to get back to creating a group voice that can speak as a united voice to NASTAR HQ, I will describe a hypothetical (that means made up) resort that is bad, bad, bad.
    To start:
    1. A bad NASTAR resort is where the RD (Race Department) does not regard NASTAR as a race, and does not respect the program. The RD spends as little time and money as possible on NASTAR. Thus, there is no real concern for the quality of the program.
    2. Rather than pay for good staff with some race background, the RD uses volunteers, often older retired people who are just working for a free season pass, don't know anything about racing and don't give a crap about NASTAR. Complaints are met with "There's nothing I can do, I'm just a volunteer."
    3. The resort's Race director never visits the NASTAR site, never checks on the state of the course. He/She appoints a staffer to handle NASTAR, and otherwise pays no attention to it. Customers (that's you) never see the race director.
    Have you ever met the race director at YOUR resort on site at NASTAR?
    4. Because a minimal number of NASTAR staff is used, it's difficult to do regular course maintanance. After a few hours, the course has nasty ruts and cross ruts, tilted gates, and is actually dangerous, and not fun for novices. In addition, the lone person at the finish is so busy handing out medals and entering results, he/she can't announce handicaps to racers waiting to hear them.
    5. WORST OF ALL FOR RACERS AIMING FOR THE NATIONALS: Pacesetters are not chosen from the fastest racers on the mountain (and everyone knows who they are), because the RD can't be bothered with the extra effort of seeking good pacesetters. Instead, the RD uses a slow pacesetter who is either employed by the resort or is someone the race director is personally comfy with. The (often) high handicap pacesetter ends up with six or so seconds taken off their real time to produce the day's par time. And the resulting par is usually way out of line with what Jake, Daron or even Bode, would get on the course.
    For example, let's say that at our hypothetical resort, a number of ski team star racers have run the course, and the very fastest World Cup racers usually time out in the low 16's or high 15's.
    Let's say that some of these same racers have tucked the course straight down, no turns, over a number of years, and averaged a 14 on that course.
    That's U. S. ski team World Cup racers taking 14 seconds to tuck the course in a straight downhill.
    But because the resort's race director does not care about the race (because it's "just NASTAR"), and never gets out on the hill to personally learn what's going on, there is no RD awareness that the pacesetter's slow results creat a par time 14 or lower---a time that can only be matched by a U. S. ski team racer tucking the course straight down.
    Since most forum comments concern bogus handicaps, perhaps we, the racers, should decide as a group how this obviously important issue should be handled.
    Suggestions?
    play hockey for great racing cross training

  6. #16
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    What Makes A Resort Bad?

    Any suggestions on the definition of a "Bad Nastar Resort?"
    play hockey for great racing cross training

  7. #17
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    Re: Another BTM editorial, I know, nobody asked me ;-)

    Originally posted by backtomasters


    (but, hey it\'s all we can do for most of the winter!) :wink: Okay, this is simple, we have 3.2% Alcohol Beer here, in Minnesota they have 6% Beer, that is , Let's see, hmmm, 47% alcohol deficiency. So we should get racers in Beer Leagues sponsored by Polygamy Porter beer (and plethora of other local breweries).  
    And here we have 6's and 8's. But not that I would know...
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  8. #18
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    I just wish I didn't have to hear "Baby I'm a want you" (the song) by Bread (a 70's melllllow band) when I'm standing at the starting gate at PCMR.

    Now that's a REAL problem. .. .... :twisted:

  9. #19
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    Yah, it's just that invariably I get up there to the start and instead of, say, a wicked rhythmic Allman Bros. tune, I'm lulled into a state of harmonic complacency with (people, let's not get up in arms here with this next example, it's just an example) John Lennon crooning "Woman".

    We could solve the entire issue by simply moving the Nastar course to where it really belongs: over by the Eagle lift (u know the run i'm talking about) where the more, uh, rockin' music plays.

    Maybe HC wouldn't be such a problem there. :roll: :lol: :wink: :idea:

  10. #20
    Administrator patmoore's Avatar
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    Speaking for the minority....

    Overall the NASTAR program at Okemo is pretty good. The folks in the starting shack are friendly and happy to give pointers. There will be the odd results. see December 23rd: http://www.nastar.com/index.jsp?pagename=r...3413&year=20060

    My gripe applies to the tiny percentage of us who drag our knuckles. The starting wand is mounted on a 4x4 post. Up until two seasons ago there was a matching 4x4 on the other side of the starting gate. Snowboarders used to be able to launch out of the gate just like a skier with poles. With only a single post, we're forced to put BOTH hands on the single post and make a feeble pull which inevitably causes us to turn sideways right out of the gate, effectively putting on the brakes. I'm estimating that it costs me at least two full seconds per run. I've asked the folks to remedy the problem but at this juncture, the ground is frozen and I can't imagine them installing another post before Spring.

    I recognize that one-plankers like myself are in a very small minority but our handicaps are not accurately reflected if we can't get a start that at least gives us something comparable to the pushoff that a skier experiences.

    I realize that my grumbling in this forum isn't going to fix the problem. I need to talk the mountain's race department and I will attempt to do so. In the past, my attempts (on another subject) to reach them via phone, e-mails, and snail mail have not resulted in a single response.

    Pat
    (done ranting for now....)

    p.s. On a more positive note, a contingent of boarders from Wisconsin (including one in my age group!) have indicated that they plan to race at Steamboat. I'm still lobbying hard for a separate course with snowboard-specific gates but I'm keenly aware that we can only justify that with increased numbers. Please talk to the boarders at your home hills and encourage them to try the NASTAR Nationals experience!
    "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room"
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