This may be a gloomy subject during a season of typically good cheer, but the most important item
on the new year’s agenda has to be working toward a resolution of the alpine accident rate. Too many
good skiers have gone down to injury in the first six weeks of competition and the World Cup season
is yet young. As senior editor Hank McKee points out on pages 8 and 9, more than a dozen top quality athletes have experienced season-ending injuries, depriving the World Cup tour of both stars and
The FIS World Cup directors, Atle Skaardal and Guenther Hujara, are desperately seeking answers,
but new preventative measures may be out of their reach and purview. The FIS professionals have looked
and are continuing to look at measures on the hill to ensure further safety. What they cannot completely
control, however, are the mechanics of skis and bindings. That is up to the manufacturers, and therein
may sit a possible solution to the plethora of
Two decades ago, the
ski industry corporate
landscape was very different. Back then, there
were ski manufacturing
companies and binding
manufacturing companies. They were separate and independent.
During the go-go years
of the late 90s and early
When binding companies were their own entities, they competed for market share and spent dollars
on research and development, if for no other reason than to get a competitive edge. In looking at today’s
binding environment, it does not seem that retention devices have kept pace with the technical structures that have poured into race skis. Recently, Rossignol reintroduced the Look binding because the
company felt its heelpiece had properties that would help prevent knee injuries. In Vermont, there is a
young startup company that says it has a binding specifically designed to prevent knee injuries.
This author does not pretend to have answers, but in looking at the extraordinary strength of today’s
athletes coupled with the stunning new materials that go into today’s race skis, one solution may well
be in creating a new release mechanism specifically developed to avoid the sport’s bugaboo — the tearing of knee ligaments. While this observation may be off base, there is no question that the FIS and
interested parties need to continue to address the injury problem in alpine skiing. True, a high-speed
sport with little to no protection will always have the potential for injuries, but the sport can do better
if its leaders really put their minds to it. They have to, if the sport is to remain viable.
With the holidays upon us and 2010 around the corner, there is a lot of exciting competition to come.
Ski Racing associate editor Shauna Farnell has left for Europe and will be covering the women’s circuit
and superstar Lindsey Vonn right through the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. Catch her World
Cup update beginning on page 22. Hank McKee and Eric Williams combined to cover the men’s circuit. Their update appears on page 16.
Edie Thys, a former Ski Racing editor, recalls the horror show that led up to the debacle of the Calgary 1988 Games. Bryce Hubner visits with 1964 Olympian Starr Walton, reporting on how the former
racer has contributed so much to her community. Ski Racing’s Bill McCollom previews the upcoming
masters speed series and Peter Graves previews the upcoming Tour de Ski and the Four Hills jumping
As always, the Ski Racing website will keep you updated on the World Cup. Be sure to click on it
frequently, as news often changes several times a day. And enjoy our digital edition. You’ll be surprised
how much the interaction adds to the reading experience.
From all of us at Ski Racing, best wishes for the holiday season and may your skis run fast in the
new year! — G.B. Jr.
The finish at Alta Badia — more racers hould be making it across the line.
PE TER Q. GRAVES
SALES AND MARKETING
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The U.S. Olympic Trials for freestyle and
nordic combined kicked off December 22. Find
the latest news on who’s going to Vancouver for
the 2010 Games at SkiRacing.com.
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