Course Setter Franz Gamper: "Slope Widening has Positive Impact"

Norway's national team coach Franz Gamper has set today's Super-G encountering a novelty on the Salsong: the section at the Camel Humps has been widened.

Mr. Gamper is from Ulten in South Tyrol and without giving away any details, he is certain to be the oldest national team coach on the World Cup circuit.

Mr. Gamper worked in many roles for the Italian ski team before being a coach for the German, Canadian and Swiss teams. For the last ten years, he has been with the Norwegian national ski team. In this interview, Mr. Gamper is shedding some light on what it means to set the course for a Super-G:

When did you set the course for today's race?

I did it yesterday immediately at conclusion of the second Downhill training run. It takes about half an hour, but we already prepared for this over the course of the last couple of days. The rule is that each team gets to set the course for each discipline about once per season in relation to the number of skiers in the first group. 

How difficult is it to set a course?

It's not as easy as one would think. The Saslong is actually quite difficult to set for a Super-G because there are so many gradients in different parts of the slope. There are certain minimum and maximum ranges that have to be fulfilled to set the gates at the correct distances to each other. At the same time, we have to make sure that the turns are not too tight and the run not too fast. For instance, we had a minor issue with the final jump that was set up a little too broadly. We had to run the Super-G to the right of the jump.

How did the widening of the course at the Camel Hump impact the Super-G?

That was a positive development as it provided for additional options. It is easier for the Super-G to by-pass the Camel Hump jump leaving plenty of space for safety. That could also have a positive impact in the Downhill. The jump can be eased without a problem if it gets too windy and it becomes too dangerous. 

What can we expect from today's Super-G from a technical perspective?

The course has 44 gates and requires a total of 36 changes of direction. The minimum is 35 which means that the race will be quite fast. That is a good thing as the Super-G was created for Downhill competitors. It was first introduced in December 1982 and up to that point the World Cup was dominated by technical racers. They could collect points in the Giant Slalom and the Slalom thereby increasing their chances to win the overall World Cup. Which is why I think that the Super-G should not be too similar to a Giant Slalom. 

What do you say to the allegations that the a course setter is benefitting the athletes of their own countries. Is that even possible?

That would be very difficult. The coach will set the source as he thinks is best and yes, that might end up helping his own team. I can totally live with this criticism given all my experience.