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>  News Releases >   2007 >   November

Dartmouth Skiway begins safety upgrades to giant slalom and slalom courses

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 11/14/07 • Rick Adams • (603) 646-3661

Dartmouth Skiway has completed the first of two phases of major improvements to its Alpine racing facilities that will bring its giant slalom and slalom courses in line with the current standards for race course design and safety as set by the International Ski Federation (FIS).

The improvements include the installation of nearly 1,400 feet of permanent safety netting known as A-net on the Worden's Schuss trail's giant slalom course, tree removal, and widening of both Worden's Schuss and the Lowell Thomas trails slalom courses to the FIS-required 40 meters, as well as related grading and excavation work.  The second phase of the Skiway's improvements will consist of a major re-grading of both Worden's and Lowell Thomas and will be completed next summer.  When both phases are completed, the Skiway will have invested more than $500,000 in the project.

Workers hang the protective "A-net"
Workers hang the protective "A-net" along the side of Worden's Schuss trail at the Dartmouth Skiway. (Photo courtesy World Cup Supply)

All of the improvements were made following a report by FIS and U.S. Ski Association Course Inspector Ted Sutton, who visited the Skiway in December, 2006, at the request of Skiway General Manager Doug Holler and Dartmouth Men's Alpine Ski Coach Peter Dodge. 

"We considered several of the short- and long-term recommendations included in Ted Sutton's report," Holler said, "and, in the end, we committed to an investment in the long-term solution of tree clearing, re-grading of the giant slalom and slalom courses, and installing the permanent A-net on Worden's Schuss."

The increased trail width on Thomas and Worden's and the net installation on Worden's will provide much safer competition and training venues at the Skiway. "The additional width will give racers a much greater margin of error when pushing the limits of speed and technique, and the A-net will provide significant additional protection," noted Dodge. "In addition, the increased trail width will allow us to set a greater variety of training and race courses, and the improved lines of sight and visibility will provide us with better observation of both training and racing runs."

The 14-foot-high A-net includes a fine-mesh "slip skirt" next to the snow surface to prevent skiers from becoming snagged in the larger-mesh net itself.  The netting and the 16 support towers were manufactured by SPM Italia and were furnished by World Cup Supply, a supplier of ski race equipment and supplies based in Fairlee, Vt.T.

"SPM has designed and installed A-net systems at some of the most challenging sites and well known Alpine World Cup venues in Europe, and this project represents their first installation in North America," commented Jeff Sirjane, vice president of sales for World Cup Supply.

The finished installation of A-net permanent protective netting
The finished installation of A-net permanent protective netting on Worden's Schuss, the giant slalom race course at the Dartmouth Skiway. Now all that's needed is snow. (Photo courtesy World Cup Supply)

"This installation is significant for us, and we are excited to be working with  Dartmouth on this historic ski racing venue. We have learned a lot as we've worked with Doug Holler and the Skiway staff, and we look forward to applying this experience to similar projects in the future." As the North American distributor for SPM, World Cup Supply carries the complete line of SPM gates, air fence, safety netting, and fence poles and is touting their experience to offer ski areas more options to ensure skier safety.

Other recently completed improvements at the Skiway include an expansion of the area's snowmaking system, with new snow guns, rebuilt pumps, and improvements to on-hill drainage.

The Dartmouth Skiway is the home of the 2007 NCAA Champion Dartmouth Ski Team and was the site of the Alpine portion of the 2002 NCAA Men's and Women's Skiing Championships.  The Skiway regularly hosts numerous FIS-sanctioned races each winter and is also the site of Dartmouth's annual Winter Carnival Alpine ski races.  Over its 50 year history, the Skiway has seen scores of its ski racers go on to compete in international and Olympic competition. Dartmouth has sent athletes to every Olympic Winter Games since the Games were founded in 1924.

In addition, the Skiway supports several community ski programs such as the Ford Sayre Memorial Ski Council and Team Spectra, and after-school ski programs for children from the nearby towns of Thetford, Chelsea, Strafford, and Bradford, Vt., and Orford and Lyme, N.H.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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