We would like to thank all of those who responded to our Feedback Survey. We were happy to receive many positive comments about the Championships, the resort and how the whole event is run.
We are always looking to improve the event each year, so we were also pleased to see some questions about how things work and also a number of suggestions to which we would now like to respond.
We have broken these down into 3 areas
- Programme and Races
- Resort & Resources
We hope you will all be back for the 2021 Championship which we will endeavour to continue to listen and improve the championships
Main comments received on the survey and our responses
“as a first timer at the Champs we weren’t sure what to expect or how it all actually worked”
“more orientation info to help newbies”
We are gratified to see so many new visitors each time, but maybe it is easily to overlook just how confusing some of it can be when you haven’t been before. We are now looking at creating a new “All about the Champs” leaflet or online guide ready for 2021 to help our first-time visitors understand a bit more about how it all fits together.
“it would be good to have a WhatsApp group for message broadcasts”
“clarity about timings of the races each day, often announcements only came up on Facebook
several hours after the event had taken place”
We operated several WhatsApp groups this time, mainly for coaches and the organising team, but we will certainly look at making an ‘open’ group for all to join. This would have to be some form of ‘publish only’ group to which everyone could subscribe to keep the messages clear, and would only be used for the organisers to post official information such as timetables for the following day, timing of prize-giving, or last-minute changes.
“in previous years the dates for the following year were published by the end of the championships. This makes it much easier to re-book accommodation”
We understand the pressures you are under to make sure you get the accommodation you need and that confirmed dates are important. We have been trying to do this but as it usually depends on getting face-to-face meetings with the right people while we are also busy running races this has sometimes proved difficult to achieve. We will step up our efforts to get the dates for 2022 confirmed while the 2021 championships are running.
Programme and Races
“the GS race for under 12 should not have been held on the first day. For young first-time racers this was a tough ask, the other option is for us to get there earlier to train but this is not an option for most parents due to cost”
“it would be useful to have the u12/u10 races begin from the Monday onwards. The Sunday is a
very quick when many children don’t finish school until Friday and are then travelling all day
Saturday and may not have been on snow for some time”
The difficult thing here is that someone has to go first, but we will certainly think about which age groups it would most affect when planning the programme for 2021.
For many children this is their only on-snow competition of the season so the situation is not entirely clear-cut, but given that U14 upwards are a little more likely to be involved in organised Alps-based training before the races then it would seem to make sense to schedule one of the older groups to open the competition on Sunday. We are already looking at this as we plan the order of racing for 2021.
“U12 and U10 should have courses on both slalom and GS set to allow kids who are fast to ski fast and allow kids that are there for the first time and a little slower to finish the course”
Course setters are invariably drawn from those in the coaching community who are working with the age groups for whom they are setting. We rely heavily on their expertise – and that of the other coaches present – to set courses that are appropriate to the standard of the field.
“split resort was hard with kids in different categories”
This arrangement with a few races at Oga (across the far side of town) was necessary this year due to the expected high numbers of Italian visitors for the beginning of their ‘carnival’ holiday. Sometimes our races clash with this holiday, and sometimes they don’t, but when they do we work hard with the resort team to come up with a plan that works as best it can for everyone.
“all good apart from U16 GS. Slope not very demanding and course not very technical”
Driven by the need to be running three concurrent races on some days, and to avoid being ‘encamped’ on the prime slopes in the resort across the whole of their busy carnival week, some races had to be held across town on the Adler slope. With hindsight it might have been better to run the U16 GS using a different part of that slope, something which we will indeed consider when/if we are running this race on that piste in future years.
“number [of races] is good [but] having the age groups on consecutive days if possible”
We have traditionally separated the children’s races so they are not all running on consecutive days, to allow for training or rest days to be interspersed. We’ve felt that this is supported by the coaches of the clubs and teams involved, but would certainly look again if there was sufficient support for running them as a ‘block’.
“would be good if all races finished on the same day. It seems to peter out with people all leaving on different days. Great to have something to officially close it”
We tend to avoid ‘loading’ the last Friday with too many races, and accept that for some teams they are packing their bags for the journey home almost as soon as their last competitor has crossed the finish line.
We have a great opening parade at the beginning of the week, and we do have a final prize-giving including the awards for the club and academy teams on Friday afternoon which formally marks the end of the Championships.
“finishing on Thursday night if possible would be really helpful for people returning home”
Getting the “right” programme across all age groups is always difficult as we are trying to get a lot of races in so that our athletes get the most out of the Championships.
As with the desire of some to avoid racing on the opening Sunday to allow a small amount of space between arrival in resort and their first race, it is difficult to trim anything off the end of the week without needing to drop one or more races from the programme which we are sure isn’t really what most people would want.
“can we have…
team races for U10/12
alpine combined for U14/16
FIS parallel slalom
SG for minis
the Combi back
As you can see, a wide range of desires for extra races across the whole age range! To do any more we would have to extend our stay in the resort – if we wanted, we could probably fill an entire fortnight with races of all flavours to suit everyone, but that could become an expensive trip, and more importantly some of those days would certainly fall outside school holidays and thus be less well attended. We must also bear in mind that we are in Bormio during their peak season when the slopes are at their busiest so we do have to fit in with what the resort can do for us.
“wish there could be U18 races without having to move to FIS”
We accept that there are some U18 upwards – particularly those still in education – who are not looking to compete at FIS level, but adding races purely for that relatively small group would not be viable. However, recent changes in how GBR seeding is calculated might allow us to consider the possibility of running these groups within the U16 races so this is something we will look into.
“the change of the minis format from single Pro Slalom to a head to head format only a few days before the race was disappointing. Many parents said they would not have paid to enter the head to head format”
Looking back at our initial invitation bulletin we have always listed the U10/12 Slalom as a parallel event, so we’re not sure where this misunderstanding arose, in our minds this had always been scheduled as a parallel race given the many positive comments we had about it following the trial event last year.
“the SG on the injected Stelvio had been especially challenging for the less experienced u14’s. It was a
shame that consideration wasn’t made to run this on the Stella Alpina”
For Super-G races we have no option but to run them on Stelvio, as this is the only slope in the resort that is homologated (certified) for Super-G events and has all the necessary safety and security installations in place.
We did split the U14 and U16 age groups to run their Super-G races on different days specifically to allow the courses to be set as appropriate for each age group. Most of the feedback we get about the Super-G is that most of the children relish the opportunity for a blast on a secured slope like this. Clearly this doesn’t suit everyone and the snow conditions will vary from year to year, but within the constraints of what needs to be in place for this kind of race we believe this is the best way to do it.
“it is a bit ridiculous that the FIS slalom events are held down a very good piste (Stelvio) and are challenging and great to watch however the giant slalom is on a very flat, Boring, and always soft Stella Alpina. I doubt I will be returning to the English champs unless all events are held on a challenging enough slope.”
As per the previous response about the U14 SG, all our Super-G races during the week have to be run on Stelvio, which effectively means that there is nowhere other than Stella Alpina for the FIS GS. The FIS races could camp out on Stelvio for the whole week, but that would prevent the U14 and U16 groups from getting any Super-G races which is not something we could consider.
Resort and Resources
“a web booking system for training lanes would be a much fairer way to allocate. The ability to train during the championships is difficult”
We can certainly have a look at how the access to training lanes can be improved, but this has always been an area where the resort wish to retain control so there is a limit to what we can do ourselves. We know that some teams train on the slopes at Oga which can be very quiet even during peak times when it can get horribly busy – and hence impractical to hold training – on the main runs in Bormio itself.
“please do consider organising the racers to slip the course as this did not happen this year. With some categories having over 100 racers using the course the conditions deteriorate and can become unsafe”
Plans were in place to use racers to slip the course, but as is so often the case many of them magically disappear about the time when they will be needed. Some are very helpful and do a lot, others do a lot less. We will certainly be looking at how this can be improved for next time, but in any case at no time would the Jury allow the race to continue if there was any indication that the courses were unsafe.
“with regards to the merchandise, e.g. kids hoodies/t-shirts, these should be incorporated within the race entry fee at a more reasonable price and without the excessive wait”
Garments in resort are provided by a separate company (Fine Designs) and are not managed or overseen by the competition organisers. We provide them with space to use, but they operate completely independently from us in terms of pricing and production.
“the prizes for podiums are consistently really poor. Hats are good but the gift vouchers for a few Pounds are pointless as they will never be used as the companies rarely have something that kids can buy for that amount except a scraper. I speak to many parents who feel the same, that companies are getting good press, yet their prizes are so poor. Better to give out actual prizes like hats, buffs, t-shirts, gloves, English champs hoodies, free Racer Ready professional photo printed on a frame. Something you can’t buy in the shops”
To an extent we are constrained by what our sponsors and supporters are able to provide, but we will certainly take these comments on board as we plan for awards and prizes for next year.
“the cost of accommodation is creeping up every year including the week before the champs. Also, it’s getting busier so getting more difficult to get accommodation. This I can see will be the main constraint for us if we will attend future events.”
We would be sorry to lose anyone, but we guess this is one of the penalties of building a popular event. The better the event, the more people want to come, and the law of supply and demand takes over.
“let’s go back and show Bormio how important they are to us”
We agree, which is why we are already partway through planning for 2021 and beyond! We are looking forward to seeing you there!