Even if you can say “Been There, Done That” you’re probably keen on being more efficient and doing a better job.
Whether you’ve been around for a thousand years or today is Day One, you’ll find the ideas, tips, comments and thoughts within our Tech Tips interesting and helpful. We’ve leaned on some notable resources and titans of our industry to supplement our own extensive product and sport-specific knowledge to distill best practice so you don’t have to learn the hard way. From what’s the best tool for the job to equipment care and athlete management, it’s our hope that this helps raise the bar for you and your program.
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.
Commonly, the end of the season leaves expensive race and resort equipment in disarray and poorly cared for. A little time now can save a large expense in the Fall and insure that your equipment will be ready to go when the snow returns.
We’ve devised this list with suggestions and best-practices from our collective experiences and perspective as an equipment supplier. What follows may not be fool-proof or apply to your exact situation, but we hope that it contributes to equipment longevity and saves you hassle and money in the process.
It is recommenced that each gate be inspected(shaft, shaft protector, hinge and base) before summer storage. Set aside any broken gates and make a list of needed parts. If the budget allows, purchasing replacement parts now could save you money in the fall when new pricing takes effect. Likewise, if the product is still under warranty, now is the time to submit a warranty claim to WCS.
Gates should be cleaned of debris and stored upright or flat in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. If you use bungees or WCS BMA Bungee, we recommend that you loosen then to relieve tension on the hinges.
FENCE, FENCE POLES and MESH WARNING BANNERS:
While fence, fence poles and Warning Banners can be deployed for summer events and activities with our adapters, we recommend that you and your staff take note of worn or tired equipment and neatly roll them for easy deployment at your next event. Remember that while most of our plastic products are UV stable, we suggest storing these items in a dry place out of direct sunlight.
For B-Net to perform as it is designed, it needs to be cared for off the hill as well as on. Any sections of B-Net that are torn, sliced or cut should be flagged for immediate repair or retirement. For assistance with B-Net repair, please contact WCS. B-Net that is more than 5 years old should be evaluated for wear and tear as well as UV exposure and replaced if necessary. Replace broken or damaged poles and clips.
B-Net should be dried and rolled tightly and stored in a dry place out of direct sunlight. Roll net with poles adjusted so nets have a clear top and bottom. Storing B-Net vertically with dryer sheets may discourage critters from taking up summer residence.
With summer operations increasing at many resorts, lift pads may play an important role in summer safety. Those pads that are not needed can be removed and stored in a dry place out of direct sunlight. Pads that are needed should avoid direct contact with the ground (dirt, water) if possible. Doing so will help prevent mildew.
Kids, guests and athletes don’t want to put on a bib stained with hot chocolate or ketchup from last season. Put them away dry and clean. WCS recommends Granger’s Performance Wash for dye sublimated products.
DRILLS AND DRILL BITS:
While each individual drill is different, we recommend making sure that the drill’s chuck is well lubricated and battery stored as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Drill bits should be clean, and dry to prevent rust. If drill bits are dull, consult WCS for suggested sharpening locations.
With all the snowfall in the east, coaches and race crews are spending plenty of QT managing their B-Net.
Here are a few tips to make the job easier:
- When pulling b-net by yourself, pull the fence from the downhill end to the uphill end and lay it down on the hill with the poles perpendicular to the hill.
- Stake the top of the fence at the top end to keep it from sliding down the hill. You can use the section of fence above a gate or drill providing that the venue is closed and there isn’t any skier traffic.
- After pulling the fence, work your way down the hill to align the poles and move the clips apart on the fence so the net is taught. Clearly delineate a top and bottom of the fence. Top should be toward the center of the hill, bundle straps at the uphill end of the section of fence.
- From the downhill end, pull the net down hill so it is tight. The uphill end of the fence is staked so this should be easy.
- Walk the last pole of the fence up the hill to the third pole, and then double back to the second pole. So you’re rolling with two poles to start with instead of one.
- Maintain tension and roll uphill. Always uphill. Doing so makes the roll tighter and easier to handle and store.
- Maintain direction so it rolls straight; this makes all the difference when unrolling.
- Once at the top, use the straps to secure the bundle- or weave the last pole back into the roll at the top and bottom. Start with the bottom of the pole and finish with the top.
- Store upright and out of the snow. If you’re putting b-net away for the summer, see our “Summer Storage Suggestions and Best Practices.”
As soon as you get this system dialed, you can make quick-er work of you’re b-net installation.
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.
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