This is Cassie. I have had a pretty good start to my season this year. At the Copper Mountain Race to the Cup, I finished 5th in Giant Slalom and 2nd in the new event Triple Slalom. Triple Slalom is what people are now looking at to eventually replace the traditional Slalom. In Slalom (like Giant slalom), all racers take a time trial run on a red course and a blue course. Their times are added together, and the top 16 (those with the lowest combined times) advance to the finals, where they participate in a series of two-run races to try to advance as far as they can. If a racer advances to either “big finals” (the race to determine 1st and 2nd place) or “small finals” (the race to determine 3rd and 4th place), they will have done a total of ten race runs that day! Riders must be in excellent condition to compete at this level.
However, in the new event Triple Slalom, a rider who makes it all the way to the race for 1st place will only need to do five total race runs in a day! This in itself makes Triple Slalom a totally different venue; yet there are still more differences. Both time trial runs are taken on a single course; and rather than a combined time being used to rank riders, each rider’s best time is used. Then, the top 27 riders advance to finals and are placed in heats of three. The time trial course is taken down, and three new courses are set up side by side. The top ranked rider in each heat is permitted first lane choice, then the second best ranked rider. In a short series of only one-run races where the winner in each heat advances and the two losers are finished for the day, the “big finals” (to determine 1st-3rd place) and the “small finals” (to determine 4th-6th place) happen in about half the time of traditional Slalom and Giant Slalom.
Triple Slalom first debuted at the Copper Mountain Race to the Cup November 15, but has been met with mixed feelings. Some have said it is a welcome change, but others have said it is harder for spectators to watch. I think we will need more time to see if it catches on or not. It is still rather conceptual in its design, with several kinks to be worked out.
I also raced in the Giant Slalom at the Steamboat Springs Race to the Cup December 9th. However, due to a bad fall I took in the second time trial run, I did not advance to finals and was unable to compete in the Slalom the following day. I am glad to say I am feeling much better now, and look forward to the upcoming races in February. I am grateful that I have the rest of January still to train. Stay healthy, everybody, and happy riding!