Week In Review: Friday Oct 29th

You may have noticed some changes in these parts of the Interwebs over the last few days.  Firstly, Statistical Skier has an awesome new logo, designed by my good friend (and very talented in all things web-related) Cosmo.  He also happens to be responsible for the best professional cycling blog in existence.

If you landed here using Internet Explorer, there’s a good chance the site doesn’t look quite right.  Specifically, you might be wondering what logo I’m talking about.  I suspect that some of the CSS used in the site’s changes isn’t supported by IE1.  Some Googling tells me that upgrading to IE 9 Beta might possibly fix things.  But honestly, you really shouldn’t be using IE anymore anyway.  Try Chrome or Firefox for a few weeks and you’ll never go back, believe me.2  Tinkering with the site will continue, so IE issues may be resolved at some point, but until then you’re better off just switching browsers, if you care about everything looking all pretty and stuff.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, I’ve decided to split Statistical Skier related tweeting over to a separate account.  You can still follow me, personally, at the old account, but if you don’t want to hear about the random goings-on of my day to day life, stick to @statskier.  Also, for those of you more into social media of the Facebook variety, this blog has its own Facebook page as well.

Ok.  Now we can get to the weekly recap:

If you’ve got snow, get out and slide around on it this weekend!

  1. It’s tough for me to check myself, since I’m on a Mac.
  2. To those of you navigating here on IE 6, I seriously hope that’s a work computer!  For shame! ;)

Participation Rates

One really simple question that occurred to me while playing with all this skiing data is, How many races do these athletes actually do?

Now, I can’t really answer that completely, since I don’t have every single cross country ski race in existence in my database.  But what I’m really getting at is the notion that we’ve seen an ever increasing number of races on the international scene:

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Best Young Sprint Skiers: 2009-2010

This is the sprinting version of my earlier post looking at some of the best young distance skiers on the World Cup circuit last season.  The methodology here is basically the same.  I’ve set an age cutoff of 24, I’m only considering skiers who did at least four major international (i.e. WC, OWG, TDS) sprint races last season and only those sprint races are included (so no sprint races from OPA Cups, Scandinavian Cups, etc.).

The major difference between this and the post looking at distance skiers is that using FIS points isn’t so useful anymore.  Since we’re looking just at major competitions, I think just the rank (1st, 2nd, etc.) in each race should be sufficient to a good picture.

The graphs are below the fold…

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Trends In Race Times

Conventional wisdom holds (so I’m told) that World Cup skiers go faster these days for a variety of reasons: improved grooming technology, improved equipment/waxing, larger athlete pool, better training/diet (on average) etc.  It would be neat if this trend showed up in results data.  Namely, have the top times for races of a set distance been falling over time?

As you can probably guess already, this is not so easy to establish.  Along with the factors I listed above that will generally push race times downward, we have the fact that race courses are being designed to account for this, presumably to make them more challenging.  The combination of all this might mean that we see no net change in times at all.  Or do we? Read more

Week In Review: Friday Oct 22nd

Only a few more weeks until ski season kicks off!

  • We took a look at some of better younger skiers from last season.
  • I posted a rundown on some data from the Dartmouth Ski Team’s Moosilauke time trial.
  • We got a quick look at the ages of World Cup skiers, which included the hint of a trend towards older skiers lately.
  • Fasterskier ran an exceptionally cool article on Tuesday looking at how World Cup sprint courses have become longer in recent years.  Ok, so part of the reason I think it’s so cool is that the article featured some graphs by yours truly.
  • Statistical Skier was also noticed this week by the folks at skidpepp.se, a popular Swedish skiing blog.  I agreed to make some graphs focusing on Swedish skiers for them, so that should be fun!

Have a great weekend!

How Old Are World Cup Skiers?

Sometimes it’s a good thing to ask basic questions that everyone thinks they know the answer to.  Sometimes you get surprising answers, sometimes not.

So, how old are World Cup skiers?

In general, World Cup skier ages tend to center around 25-26.  These distributions all have a slight right skew, which just means there tend to be some more unusually large values (i.e. older skiers).

So far, this isn’t surprising at all, it’s about what we’d expect.  The one interesting thing that does pop up is the slight trend toward older skiers in recent seasons.  As we move forward through time, the distributions move (slightly) to the right, and you can notice that the darker colored curves (recent) tend to be above the lighter curves (less recent) for the older skiers.

So it would appear that (within this time frame, at least) World Cup skiers have become slightly older.

Moosilauke Time Trial

It’s nearing the end of October, which means that if you are a skier hailing from the esteemed institution that I do, that means its time for the Moosilauke time trial.  It’s an uphill running time trial beginning at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge up the Gorge Brook Trail, ending around 3.6 miles later on the summit of Mt. Moosilauke.

Conveniently for me, Ruff Patterson, the men’s nordic coach, has kept copious records, so we have some fun data to look at!

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