With February & March loaded with races, let’s take a minute to talk about gate numbers & how they are placed on shafts by your crew. Safety as it relates to gate panels ..and the way they release from the gate shaft..has been under a great deal of scrutiny by TD’s the last two seasons. While SPM took the step of including a “panel height indicator” on shafts starting last year, another important consideration is placement of adhesive gate numbers. Placing numbers above the the panel near the top of the shaft, especially when multiple stickers are used, can add significant resistance to a panel as it slides off the gate. We recommend that the gate numbers be placed below the panel. This will ensure that the number doesn’t inhibit the panel’s release should it become necessary. Attention to details like this will help you “soften” your race arena and ensure products related to safety work as designed.
Based on some calls we have received over the past few days we thought it important to clarify the current rule regarding gate panels. So here is the skinny:
- The only colors that may be used without any additional consent are red and blue (FIS and USSA Scored races).
- Hi-Vis orange panels may only be used for speed (SG/DH) when weather or course conditions dictate (low visibility) AND the TD approves of their use. When Hi-Vis orange panels are used they must be in place prior to inspection.
- Older style panels that attach to gate shafts with clips are no longer approved for FIS or USSA Scored races.
- The new SPM Safety panels (World Cup Safety Panels and Junior Safety Panels) both have the approved attachment system.
- SPM Safety panels made of colors other than blue and red are not approved for FIS or USSA Scored Races.
- SPM Junior Safety panels are NOT approved at this point for use in FIS Children’s races or USSA Scored races – while the attachment system is the same as the approved panel, the size of the panel is in question.
If you have any questions regarding what the right panel is for your club or event please call us and we’ll find the right panels for your needs.
The picture of the Hi-Vis orange panels was taken on Thursday (1/22/15) on course at the Hahnenkamm and is a perfect example of the use of the Hi-Vis orange on a speed track – one location, tough vis and OK’d by the TD.
It is with deep sorrow that we acknowledge the passing of Ronnie Berlack, our dear friend and WCS athlete. Ronnie was with a group of athletes who were caught in an avalanche at Soelden on Monday that took Ronnie and fellow development team member Bryse Astle. Ronnie represented all that is good about ski racing. His drive and determination to reach the top of the sport he loved will serve as an example for all aspiring athletes. His spirit, humor and good hearted nature are examples for us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Berlack and Astle families.