FIS tests single gates in Aspen slalom races
The women’s World Cup slalom race Saturday was historic for reasons beyond Mikaela Shiffrin’s astounding 3.07–second margin of victory. It also marked the first time that single gates were used in a World Cup slalom race.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) ran an experiment with the single gates in Aspen on Saturday and Sunday. Atle Skaardal, race director for women’s World Cup events, said at a team captains’ meeting after the race Saturday that he felt the test went well.
The men’s World Cup slalom racers also will use single gates at a slalom race in Val d’Isere, France, in mid-December. After the races, the men’s and women’s teams will be surveyed on whether they prefer the switch to single gates or want to retain using the traditional double gates.
For decades, two gates have been used side by side, often with a sponsor’s advertisement or the venue logo on a banner between gates. The skiers have to make alternating turns through a series of the gates.
In the team captains’ meeting Friday, Skaardal said the switch to single gates was proposed to make it easier for spectators to see the path the racers had to take. It wouldn’t require an adjustment for the skiers, he said, because they practice with single gates.
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The city of Aspen’s office building is exempt from paying encroachment fees, yet private developers have to now pay $9 a square foot, per month, starting in 2020.