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What percentage of skiers in each division should qualify for Nationals


disland
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Currently the percentage varies by each division in an attempt to ensure enough competitors in each group. It also has a very low bar for juniors to help drive attendance and participation. The result excludes many skiers in the more populated divisions like Mens 4 and 5 slalom
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@MarkTimm Thanks for voting, No offense but, you cant make it a festival if you only let the top 20% in. Thank you for your post but this is the root of the problem. If its too small there isnt enough money to pay for all the fancy officials and boats, and vendors wont come. So its either a tournament like Sr Worlds (very exclusive) super competitive with great skiing or a festival. To be both a festival and a tournament you have to let more people in.
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While I did say "keep it the way it is" I do think it needs to be tweaked. The straight percentages don't work for me since it would tend to make the younger (and older) divisions much smaller than the way they are. Simply lowering the bar to include 50, 80 or 100% of a division would tend to add to the middle groups (M/W 3-6) and keep the rest the same or close. The "way it is" allows for each event and each division to be adjusted separately for (presumably) justifiable reasons.

 

For example, I personally believe that it would be good to push 3 event participation particularly in the younger groups. So I would set 'overall' to include a higher percentage of participants. (Note - Skiers would need to compete in their respective regionals and, to qualify for regionals, the bar can be pretty low as long at the skier has a score above zero in the previous year).

 

Likewise, I very much like the idea of the LOC bids to target a tournament size. If it's a two lake site that can only manage 350-400 skiers adjust the qualification thresholds accordingly. If it's a 4-5 lake site and the tournament(s) want to go on for a week or more, potentially let everyone in.

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@disland what do you mean by fancy officials?? I don't think I've ever seen you work a Nationals. National officials are anything but fancy, most if not all give unselfishly of their time to make this event happen, skiing at the Nationals is an honor for most and having skied in over 20 I still miss it to this day.
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I believe that the "official" National tournament should be just that: crown National champions. Nobody below the top 10% really has a chance at that, so keep it to the best.

 

However, this excludes me! So I think it is important to have other tournaments nearby or even at the same site, so that folks can attend "the festival," watch the very best, and still get a chance to ski themselves.

 

To me that is a super-attractive package: see all the cool gear and talk to industry professionals; see focused, incredible skiing; ski a few rounds myself with other "good-but-not-THAT-good" skiers.

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@LLUSA Very sorry to offend anyone of the many dedicated volunteers that serve at Regionals and Nationals. That certainly was not my intent.

 

Let me elaborate. Compare Sr Worlds or a "small" nationals to an all inclusive Nationals. If we were to say restrict nationals to the top 10% of the rankings list then most of the competitors would have a shot at the podium. We could then bring in the best drivers and officials who would be "voted in" like we do now and it would be a top tier event. Small and short. Of course you would most likely have to raise entry fees to cover the expenses.

 

The other option is to make it an all inclusive festival. Since its a festival we dont have to sweat all the high end competition aspects. Make it class C. Let any rated official, and driver volunteer. This spreads the work out beyond the small core group we have now. The elite skiers could ski in masters division. Make masters and B3/G3 a class R and everything else class C.

 

What we have now is a "crisis" where the governing body budget depends on a revenue stream from Nationals. To generate the revenue you need entries. So we are continuing to try and manage the number of attendees in order to make it big enough to have enough revenue yet not too big that it cant fit at the site or be too long. If its too long its a burden on the dedicated core group doing all the work.

 

How about we do what the members want. Take a vote, its a democracy right.

 

My point is lets figure out what we want it to be and then build it from the ground up to be that and stop letting the "budget needs" drive the decisions.

 

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@klindy what's the difference? Remember when Mens 3 slalom had to be on two lakes.

 

Whats the difference between skiing on the turnpike lake in the bottom seed group at Nationals and finishing 53rd, or skiing on the turnpike lake under a different sanction and finishing 20th?

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@JeffSurdej, that's a good data point but I think it speaks more to ability to go rather than desire as far as its possible more people who are qualified may want to go but simply can't for schedule or cost. Regardless of inclusion cut off the number of people who qualify will likely always be less than the number of people who attend. Personally I don't think your ever going to accomplish a ski festival on top of a national competition format. If you want a ski festival do a convention, 3 lakes, coached practice pulls behind various tournament boats, ski demos, etc. Call it ski-con and put our national competition somewhere else. Most collegiate regions have a "winter conference" depending on the region there may or may not be skiing involved but in the Midwest they bring in 3 pros to do classroom instruction and have beginner, intermediate, and advanced forums for all 3 events. It goes for one weekend, you have 100+ skiers in the same place, ski talk all day, drinking at night, with a banquet Saturday night, there's you ski-con model.
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It wasn't an option, but I'd say around 30-40 percent, so pretty close to where it is now. Maybe a little looser.

 

Unlike @Than_Bogan I don't think it should be a super exclusive event. Like any sport there needs to be something for participants to shoot for, and let's face it, getting into the top 10% isn't a real practical goal for the vast majority of us. Myself included.

 

A few years ago I was right on the bubble for Men's 3 (cutoff was top 30%, I was top 35%-ish). Man, I chased that goal so hard for two-plus years. I bought a boat so I could train more often, upgraded gear and drove to a tournament 9 hours away on the last qualifying weekend hoping for a miracle (didn't happen ... looooong drive home). And I probably doubled the number of tournaments I skied in, all trying to qualify for Nationals. Two years ago I got in by placing top-5 at Regionals (one of my best all-time sporting memories) and last year I qualified via the ranking list for the first time ever.

 

Would I have pushed so hard if I had to get into the top 10%? Probably not ... I am a better, more committed skier today because I had something to shoot for. And I don't see how me paying $160 to take 20th-something the last two years hurt the quality of the event in any way, shape or form. But they were the highlights of my season.

 

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@disland the difference in your example is 33 places but I don't think that's your point ... I'm suggesting the events outside the actual National Championships can be set up as handicap events or team events or something where it's not quite the same as the best-in-class wins the trophy tournament. Clearly the format would need to be different to appeal to the rest of the community and attract participants.

 

Long ago I also did a lot of Trapshooting. Each year they have what's called the "Grand American World Trapshooting Championships". It's an 11 day long festival type event where only the last three days are set aside for the true Championships (1 day for each of the three events). The rest of the time are other side events/competitions on the same site which attract lots of people. The site is purpose built by the association which has allowed vendors to even build permanent display buildings, etc. They have been able to do a pretty good job combining a festival type event with the prestige and competitiveness of a true championships. Check out the progam on the link above (direct link here)

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@jcamp We may actually be thinking more similarly than it appears. I would still want a cutoff to be able to participate in the "side" event(s) because it's infinitely more fun if it's about "good" skiers AND it provides an incentive to get there. Out of my ass, maybe top 30% for that?

 

However, I'd still like there to be an event which is just about crowning the champions, that I could reasonably hope to watch in its entirety.

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@klindy I like your ideas. I am super excited about some of @hortons ideas. What's good about them is they aren't gated by any major decisions, rule changes and such.

 

I hope some of my ski buddy's get to come to nationals too while a slip in the back door by doing over all.

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@Than_Bogan @JeffSurdej If US National was run like Worlds, we could accomplish both. Worlds breaks each division into several Series with each series being 10 skiers. For some of the events there are as many as 5 series and you almost wonder what some of those skiers in Series 5 are actually doing at Worlds, but they are the best skiers in their country so they get to go. Nationals could be run the same way where the top 10 skiers from the premier events (Open, Masters, BG3, MW1, MW2, etc) were all held back to back on the last 2 days of the tournament. This would actually make for a fairly compelling spectator and webcast event. The lower ranked skiers would ski earlier in the week (perhaps even under Class C instead of Class ELR).
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@JeffSurdej, I think there would be some debate around duration. For example, just Saturday and Sunday and the most people would have a workable schedule to go but there wouldn't be enough time for them to do what they wanted, stretch it to a full week and no one can stay the whole time so you lose money each day. I'm sure there is a balance at a 3-4 day mark. I should clarify this is not an event I feel any need to see ever happen, it was me suggesting that if you want a waterski festival that the national tournament is the wrong approach and should be a separate event.
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Then there is the skier that skied 1 tournament to get qualified for the nationals took a big deduct and was seeded so as he was first off the dock in his men 2 division and won the event!! This did happed.

 

So now here we are wanting waterski industry manufacturers to give us skiers some kind of buying percentage to become AWSA members, then ask these waterski industry manufacturers to step up and supply monetary resources in supporting and sponsoring the regionals and nationals and then only take 10% of the skiing population at the big show? when only 10% come to the show that means only 10% of the family's come to the show and who the hell wants to come to another waterski tournament just to watch??

So here I am Widget boat or ski manufacture that was approached to offer discount's and sponsorship to the sport and the big show and you can only syphon 50 people through my vendor station? Guess what I am going to tell you.....? Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!!!

 

Want to support the sport? Start thinking inclusion and not exclusion!

 

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USA BMX's Grand National is the final national of the year, and the place where the NAG (national age group) champions are crowned. It's an open race. Anyone can enter. It's also the largest bike race on the planet with over 4000 racers in attendance. And it's also a quadruple points event. So your top 6 national event points, plus Grands get added up. With Grands being quadruple points, making the main event in your age class can put you in the hunt for the NAG championship. In a lot of classes, though, you have to win Grands because if you don't, the guy who you're competing with for the NAG title will win. Getting a top 10 NAG jacket at Grands is a HUGE deal. You have earned the right to have a special 1-20 number plate for the entire next year. There is huge competition for those NAG positions coming up to Grands every year. Even down at the 18-25th points position. Just making it to NAG20 signifies that you are the best of the best in the US.

 

 

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@Jody_Seal not saying he can't win by skiing in one of the lower Series, but it does add an incentive to ski more tournaments to move up the ranking list to the big show. Shouldn't we do things to encourage skiers to ski more tournaments!
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When I first read this thread I was of the 10% opinion. @Jody_Seal 's last argument for inclusion caused me to vote 100%. Not only should the Nationals be open to any skier with a score, so should Regionals. Fill'em up! ... and no requirement to ski Regionals to ski Nationals!

 

Set the max number of competitors/pulls for Nationals and Regionals just like any other tournament. Allow the top 10% from the prior season to get their entries in before an early deadline, after that entry is open until the limit is reached.

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@Jody_Seal they are not excluded from the tournament or the opportunity to make it to the podium. They have the same chances as they do now. The only difference is they ski earlier in the tournament.

 

Now that you bring it up, who is more deserving of an opportunity to ski at Nationals? A level 8 skier that only skis regionals and nationals each year and isn't an official and doesn't help the sport in any way other than skiing these 2 tournaments or a Level 7 skier with a State Safety Rating, a Senior TC Rating, a Regular Driver Rating, a Senior Judge Rating and an Regular Scorer Rating that skis in about 10 tournaments a year and attends several others in various support roles but doesn't ski?

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Just a different idea...

Two Phase Nationals.

 

Top 20 ranked persons in any division are qualified for the finals no matter skill. Yes, so maybe B/G1 or MB/W10+ might mean everyone is qualified, so be it. Not all "Top 20" skiers will attend. So be it. Thus, there may be vacant "top 20 seats". More on that in a moment... read on.

 

For everyone else, there is a 1st phase Prelims which is a 2 round Class C with open enrollment, up to a max number of pulls per the LOC capacity and event schedule. The best of two rounds score is used to rank the field. From those rankings, more skiers qualify to make the finals. Finals is capped at say 40 seats per division. So, the attending "Top 20" persons fill up their seats (up to 20), and the remaining seats are populated by the Class C results. That could be 20 from Class C or more if some of the "Top 20" skiers didn't attend.

 

Since the Class C is open to anyone, those "Top 20" skiers can also ski in it, but they are excluded from the ranking, since they already have a seat in the finals. All scores go into the score book as Class C for everyone who skis. Registration has a very early deadline so the LOC can plan accordingly.

 

This puts the event back to a state where the number of skiers in the finals is not out of hand huge, but is representative of those who are the top and those who are dominating at the event. With about 26 divisions and up to 40 pulls per division in the finals, finals represents up to over 1000 pulls. We know some of the divisions won't fill 40 seats, but there you have it. Plus, the Class C Prelims will draw a wider audience, too.

 

The festival is set for the days of the finals. Event/divisions are organized such the the most extreme scoring divisions are scheduled for spectators to attend. Marketing is focused to the public with those division's competition's schedules highlighted. Once the sun sets, bring on the live music festival atmosphere. Possibly combine with Open in the lights.

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If Nats was open to 100% of competitive skiers, would it really change attendance? I think it might pull in a few more than currently go just so they would have the experience, but I imagine that would only be a 1 or 2 time thing.

 

Where it would help increase ski numbers is with families. There were five of us there last year but 2 of the kids weren't qualified and therefore didn't ski. A quick survey of the kids showed me that one would have skied just for fun and the other wouldn't have.

 

Anyway, my point is that I don't think as currently run it's going to get much bigger regardless of who you open it up to. Either open it wide and include a lot of other stuff to make it a draw, or make the thing a true championship and only allow top regional and/or ranking list skiers to attend.

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