Freestyle Course Components

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Freestyle Course Components

There are three main areas of the Freestyle Skiing course:

[edit] The Start

The start area including the warm up area, the start ramp and the start gate.

The Warm up area is an area delimited by rope or fencing provided for the convenience of the competitor and their coaches so they can prepare for the competition without interruption.

The Start Area must be large enough to allow the competitor to stand relaxed at the starting line. It must also be large enough to contain the competitor, any required Officials and the competitor’s coach.

The Start Ramp must have an angle of approximately but not greater than 45 degrees, steep enough to give the racer rapid acceleration. If needed, the ramp can be iced using salt and/or water. A shovel is an essential tool for the constant maintenance of the start ramp.

The Start Gate consists of a specially system, which mark the start line. They should be solidly anchored and iced in place. Also, a solid base should be provided for the competitor to stick his ski poles in front of the start gate. The competitors feet must stay behind the starting line until the start signal is given.


[edit] The Course

A well-prepared course is essential for a good competition. The more firmly and uniformly packed the snow is, the better the course will be. An area used by recreational skiers usually provides a good base to work. The amount of time and effort assigned to course preparation will depend on the manpower available as well as the cooperation and assistance from the ski area operators.

Before race day, the snow on the course must be made as firm and smooth as possible. Under most conditions, it will take at least 12 hours for re-worked snow to set properly.

Planning and cooperation with the area personnel are essential for getting a well-prepared course. In order to ensure fair conditions for all racers, sufficient and proper course maintenance is required throughout the race. The better the pre-race preparation has been, the easier the course maintenance will be during the race. As with all other race operations, course maintenance is easier, more enjoyable and more effective if it is properly organized and there is good leadership and coordination. Course crew rotation on the course is generally the most successful.

A knowledgeable course leader should lead the crew. Essential equipment for course maintenance to correctly upkeep the course include rakes, shovels, drills, poles, gate keys and a tiger torch, to name a few.

For all competitions, a course must be set. This is done by a Course Designer who is experienced in ski competitions and both trained and competent to set a course.

The Course Designer is a very important person. Good course setting can make the race enjoyable for all participants, with a high completion rate. No one appreciates a race, which is technically too difficult for the competitor.

Ideally, the course should be set the day before the competition to allow enough time to complete preparation, including flagging, numbering and the dyeing of the gates on competition day.

As mentioned earlier, the racer must correctly pass through the gates, featues and the jumps on the course. Individuals who decide if a competitor has correctly crossed the gate line are the Gate Judges who are positioned along the course, in strategic positions that allow them to evaluate whether racers properly passed through each gate. It is a very important role.


[edit] The Finish

The preparation of the finish area is also very important. The run out area must be large and its surface must be firmly and smoothly packed as the competitor is coming through the finish line at a high speed.

The finish posts (maximum 2"x2" cut at 50 %) on which timing beams and finish banners are fixed and must be well padded. Willie bags, insulation bales or hay loosely packed may be used for protection.

The Finish Area must be fenced to protect the racer against the intrusion of the spectators, skiers, animals, etc. The scoreboard must be located out of the way of the finishing racers. Note that the last gates are set up in a way to direct the racer towards the center of the finish line.


Return to Officials Education, Freestyle Skiing, Freestyle Officials Education and Programme or Freestyle Skiing Education

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