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Monday August 1, 2011 - Email this article to a friend

We get many press releases and newsletters here at PlanetSKI from companies and organisations telling us their news. Can you understand this one from FIS about the new rules for skis in World Cup racing?

All we really want to know is why have changes been made, what are the changes for the world's top skiers and do the racers themselves welcome the new rules on their equipment? 

We have covered the story on the growing number of injures to ski racers and the concerns of the governing bodies.

Committees have been set up and working groups deployed; see here for further details.

So, what have they come up with to address the serious problem of injuries that can cut short careers and have more serious long-term implications?

Difficult to tell from this information from FIS.

"Over the past several seasons, FIS has undertaken considerable work in trying to find ways to reduce the risk of injury and improve safety. This has been an important focus of the work of the Alpine Committee and the Alpine Technical Equipment Working Group. The FIS Injury Surveillance System was set up in 2005 together with the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre and as part of the project the University of Salzburg together with institutions from Lausanne and Davos focused on three main injury risk factors for Alpine ski racing: course setting/speed, snow conditions and equipment (combination of ski, binding, plate and boot).

The equipment project has involved the development of special ski prototypes through the support and close collaboration with the ski manufacturers. Last summer FIS, the ski industry and the University of Salzburg defined the specifications in terms of radius, length, standing height and ski plates with the goal of gaining more safety. A number of prototype skis have been built for downhill and giant slalom and last season recently retired World Cup racers tested these prototypes.

Following the results of the prototype testing, new specifications for implementation in the 2012/13 (Northern hemisphere) season for downhill, super-g and giant slalom skis, as well as standing height for men and ladies have been approved by the FIS Council on proposal of the Alpine Committee and its Working Group for Technical Equipment.

As far as the timing of the implementation of the new regulations is concerned, these specifications will apply at World Cup and European Cup level. For other Continental Cups and FIS level races, an implementation tolerance will apply in 2012/2013: The men will be allowed to use the ladies' skis whilst the ladies will have a tolerance of -5cm in their ski length."

Anyone any the wiser?

If you are do let us know and in the meantime we will be contacting FIS for clarification.

Update:  We have since discovered that both men and women racers will have to use longer skis in the 2012/13 season in an attempt to reduce injuries.

In Giant slalom men skis will need to be at least 1.95m, that's 10cm longer, and the women will have to use a ski of at least .88 meters, 8cm longer.

Downhill skis will also have to be longer; 2.18m for the men and 2.15m for female racers.

Another update: Not all are pleased with the changes from ski racers to the manufacturers. See here for some of the reaction to the new rules.

For the spirit of the mountains

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