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FIS change format of Alpine Combination!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
At a meeting in June in Dubrovnik FIS decided (apparently without much prior notice) to change the long established format of the men's Alpine Combination (consisting of a Downhill race and a slalom race) to a format consisting of a Super-G race and a slalom race, see this article (in German). This has come as an unwelcome surprise to Wengen, home of the Lauberhorn course (the longest downhill course on the World Cup circuit at just over 4.4km and with a vertical descent of 1028m) as it will cause them considerable organisational problems. The current Men's Super-G rules specify a maximum vertical descent of 650m, so the Wengen organisers will obviously need to shorten the existing course to comply. The article says there's no intention of abandoning the iconic Hundschopf jump as below it there is a large viewing area for spectators. Incidentally in 2016 due to heavy snowfall the start was lowered to shortly before the Hundschopf resulting in a shortened course length and shortened vertical drop of 729m which obviously still exceeds the current maximum for Super-G. The Swiss are not best pleased!
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Seems like a silly change which will favour the slalom boys a bit more, to my mind the current format is a good balance
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Not many people train Downhill and Slalom any more, seems a sensible change to me.
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I can see how it causes them problems but last year they were very emotional that the combined would cease to exist. (as it seemed to be falling out of favour)

I'm not a huge fan of the combined, I know it should crown the best all round skier but it's come to feel like an irrelevance. The speed and tech disciplines have moved far apart over the last 15 years.

Obviously I have sympathy for the organisers as they work really hard and stage one of the best race weekends on the circuit.
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grumpygargoyle wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the combined, I know it should crown the best all round skier but it's come to feel like an irrelevance. The speed and tech disciplines have moved far apart over the last 15 years.


If that's the case that downhill and slalom disciplines have moved further apart then doesn't that reinforce the argument that the winner of the existing format combined race has demonstrated that they are the most versatile all round skier?
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@Alastair Pink, +1. Surely the fact that they’re further apart makes the Combined more relevant?
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Sorry, what I meant was that these days athletes train and race for tech or downhill, there's almost no crossover. The schedule reinforces this, only Wengen, Kitzbuehel and I think one north American resort have tech and speed on the same weekend.

In Wengen I'm pretty sure the combined downhill leg is always a shortened version which arguably favours the technical skiers, the slalom doesn't have less gates

There's no doubt that someone like pinturault is an amazing skier, or Wendy holdener for that matter but the lack of depth in these races rather undermines them. The best racers in downhill and slalom rarely race them.

On paper the combined is an excellent test but I'd suggest in recent years its has begun to feel irrelevant.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Every time I seem to have watched it in recent years the slalom specialists seem to win - I probably ought to check that out.
I had previously thought they should change slalom to giant slalom
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Seems like a good idea the get hirscher closer to stenmark
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Favours the tech skiers as it is. I think a GS and downhill would be fairer. Isn't VS the root of all disciplines
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I think this is a good idea. Downhill is very difficult and very expensive to train; very few hills are set up to train downhill safely. I think insistence on still running downhill is losing some skiers in NA and as the pool gets smaller, the significance of the race diminishes.

I see downhill going downhill over here. Parents don't want their fis kids doing it. Its simply too expensive and not safe enough, plus means way way more time off school.
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That's really interesting @gryphea, I hadn't considered downhill in those terms. I'd say, in Europe, Downhill still draws the biggest crowds, with the possibile exception of the schladming slalom.

The IOC haven't helped by having Korea and China host races that barely scrape through the minimum vertical for a downhill.

I suspect the increased success of Swiss and Austrian athletes might also begin to hit participation in the traditional alpine heartland.
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@Alastair Pink, In that case the events should be Downhill and (no holds barred) Ski Cross (no poles, full body armour) Madeye-Smiley
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@grumpygargoyle, So the 17/18 season saw two deaths of downhill skiers in Alberta. One the French national skier at nakiska training , but less publicised, a European fis kid at Lake Louise. Very sad. The speeds are so much now, that its really hard to find training runs. They have to be dedicated runs, no side by side training and they have to have the right safety gear.

To race downhill needs so many days off school due to training days. All those training days are at a travel hill, so there's accommodation to pay for and all mid week My son, now FIS skier cross, gave up alpine this year at the FIS cusp. He didn't want to do downhill; he doesn't think its safe and didn't want to miss all that school. Fis alpine here miss tons of school. All races are mid week and all travel races , sure you can opt not to do downhill races, but you are still paying a lot for something you don't do. Switching to ski cross was about half the price of Fis alpine.
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