The FIS, the world governing body for ski racing, has come under fire after ordering ski racers to use longer skis with a longer radius. The Ski Racing Supplier Association has accused the FIS of rushing through changes, with incomplete testing.
The decision was made to lengthen skis and increase their radius due to the large number of accidents that have taken place in recent years, and though the ski manufacturers support the ideas and want to promote safety within the sport, they don't agree with the approach the FIS have taken.
In an open latter from the Ski Racing Suppliers Association, representing all the major race ski manufacturers including Head, Fischer, Voelkl, Nordica, Rossignol and Stoekli, they have questioned the haste in which the decisions have been made and have also criticised the lack of testing for the new shape skis under race conditions.
As things stand for the 2012/13 season the minimum length of GS skis will be increased by 10cm for men's skis, to a minimum of 195cm, and by 8cm for women's skis, to a minimum length of 188cm. Downhill skis will also be lengthened with men's skis starting at 218cm and women's skis starting at 215cm.
Another change that is being implemented in the radius of the ski. Current race skis use a 27cm radius, helping them carve at speed, whereas from 2012/13 they will have to offer a minimum radius of 40cm in race skis. This change is being particularly criticised, with many believing it devolves skis back to dated technology.
The Ski Racing Suppliers Association has also pointed out that though they support changing their skis to make the sports safer, these changes are only making a fraction of a second difference in testing, whereas the FIS have the power to slow the sport down by a greater margin by adapting the course layouts.
You can read the open letter in full here.
Written by Stephen Adam