Icy conditions during Aspen Winternational could have been prevented

Posted By: The Ski Channel on November 30, 2009 5:59 am

The FIS is getting a lot of criticism right now for their decision to inject all of the women’s technical courses for this season’s World Cup. Injection is a process whereby the course is literally injected with water, making it harder, flexible, and more durable. However, it can also make the course icy, which is what happened in Aspen over the weekend.

Men’s courses are always injected because men are stronger and tend to cut up a course faster, making later runs nearly impossible. However, this early experiment with women’s course injection proved less than satisfactory. “It was too icy,”  said Atle Skaardal, chief race director of the women’s circuit of the first course.

Patrick Riml, head coach of the Canadian women’s team and former head coach of the U.S. woman’s team commented that one problem with using non-injected manmade snow is the natural snow falling on it. “That can be messy and make the surface dangerous,” he said. “If the surface is injected, it is much easier to move the new snow off and have a good surface.” However, he then went on to say: “It is not the answer. Look, today we could have raced on the pure manmade surface Aspen put down without any difficulty, but that is today.”

Rockstar Lindsey Vonn‘s husband, Thomas, wasn’t too happy about it either: “You needed a serrated edge. I think they are hurting the sport by preparing courses like this. It is not about who is skiing fast, it is about who is screwing up the least. That is pond ice up there. This is alpine skiing, not skating. You have to train on ice to race on ice. It just wears you down.”