OUT OF THE GATE
Racers Cry Foul over FIS Ski Rules
Athletes meet with researchers and officials in Austria, but new
dimensions are definite BY ERIC WILLIAMS
World Cup racers including Ted Ligety, Anja Paerson and Didier Cuche stood up to voice their concerns about the research.
SOELDEN — The mood was tense from the beginning of the meeting between FIS officials and athletes to discuss proposed changes for 2012-2013. World Cup race directors
Atle Skaardal and Guenter Hujara shared a table with several scientific researchers while
members of the media crowded the room, and a line ski racers opted to stand for much of
the two-hour meeting.
Though the printed agenda mandated that athlete questions be held until after the presentation of scientific data, American racing icon Bode Miller broke the athlete silence within
the first 10 minutes, questioning why the international governing body of the sport analyzed
ski dimensions before looking into bindings.
“If your primary goal is the safety of the athletes, how come there has been no effort to
address the bindings at all?” said Miller. “With all the changes that have happened, the
bindings are the most important safety mechanism we have. In the last 30 years we’ve
made almost no changes but there is no regulation at all, I can have a DIN setting of 50
— at that point, regardless of the ski radius or any of that other stuff, that is going to be a
“We cannot attack everything at the same time,” responded Hujara, who steered the meeting into two planned lengthy presentations by scientific researchers.
The pair of research projects is the basis for the FIS proposal to increase the radii and
length of race-approved skis, a decision that will take effect on the World Cup level for
2012-2013 before working its way down to younger athletes. The meeting was the first time
the athletes and media were shown the information.
The first presentation reviewed the past five years of data collection via the FIS Injury
Surveillance System (ISS), which conducted more than 1,300 athlete interviews and discovered 493 injuries of varying severity; 220 (labeled severe) were injures that caused
athletes to miss time on the snow. Of the severe injuries, 38. 6 percent were reported as
knee injuries, the vast majority of which were results of giant slalom or downhill training and
competition accidents. A separate chart indicated that knee injuries also require the most
American GS world champ and World Cup title holder Ted Ligety snatched a microphone
to point out that the volume of GS training runs performed by athletes throughout the season is much higher than the number of downhill runs racers are able to get.
The summary of the ISS report outlined the findings that in knee injuries, “the main mechanism of ACL injuries is abrupt valgus and internal rotation loading of the knee” and that most
“occur while skiing when the inside edge of the ski engages/catches the snow surface.”
SkiRacing.com OCTOBER 31, 2011 | 7