Thursday, 2 June 2011

FIS Points...How do they work?

As we approach the early-bird deadline of the FIS card registration, I would like to keep new parents and current parents informed on a whole new world of stats and calculations in the context of ski racing. Before I get into details, I will provide a bit of background on the FIS and It's races.

Alpine Ski Racing across the world is governed by the FIS (Federation International Ski). The words are backwards because FIS is based in Geneva, Switzerland and Geneva is mostly French. This is a brief attempt at humor on my part...

When Alpine Ski Racers turn 15 yrs of age they have the option to race on the FIS circuit. This race series can be kept simple by racing only in Ontario or can be more complex by competing out of Province, out of country or even off the continent. When an Alpine ski racer registers for a FIS Card and joins a FIS team, they have the option of racing in many different events depending on if they fall within the quota allowed to compete in certain races.

There are restrictions as to which event a skier can compete in. For a first year FIS skier, there is even a restriction as to how many races they can compete in. First year FIS skiers can participate in 25 Technical Starts (SL, GS) not including speed events (DH, SG). The word Quota also becomes an important one as FIS race entries are governed by quota determined by the FIS, Alpine Canada (ACA) and the provinces. For each FIS race there are guidelines as to who can compete and how many are allowed to competes from each Province or Nation for that matter.

As to how FIS points work...well that is a very interesting question and one that will not get fully answered in this blog. The great thing that FIS points do is allow one to rank themselves with any other ski racer in the world. As soon as you have FIS points you are automatically given a "World Ranking" and can determine where you stand amongst the thousands of ski racers across this huge planet of ours. Personally, I think this is pretty cool. I can't think of many other sports that have a ranking system like FIS points for Alpine Ski Racing.

As a rule of thumb, the lower your points, the better your ranking is. The best ski racers in the world have between 0 - 10 FIS points. You achieve FIS points by entering FIS races and completing both runs in the race. The calculation of FIS points is quite complicated and is not easily described in a blog like this, howeve, I will attempt the "Cole's Notes" version.

FIS points are based on time and more precisely how much time separates the competitor from the winner at the end of the race. Calculating  a skier's FIS points from a race involves two steps. Race Points are combined with the race penalty and these two calculations add up to a skier's FIS points for that particular event.

The Race points are directly related to time and can be summarized as the addition of "points per second" behind the leader. Points per second will change from one race to the next depending on the vertical of the hill and other factors. For example if skier A finished 2 seconds behind the leader skier B and the points per second were established at 8 than skier A will get 16 race points. Skier B, the winner, will get 0 race points because he won the race.

The Race penalty is calculated using quite a complex formula which I'm not going to try to explain here. It can be summarized as being an adder that is mostly related to the current FIS points of the the top ten finishers in the race. A simple explanation is that it's the average of these ten finishers multiplied by a factor that is determined by the FIS.

So there you have it,  my first attempt at trying to explain how FIS points work in the context of FIS racing. In my next post, I will try and explore the benefits of FIS racing for an individual and describe the various levels of FIS racing that an athlete will face as they progress through this great sport of ours.

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