Your point is well taken but as crzesk8dad pointed out, it's not really apples to apples
-AN 600+ competitors, up to 800 starts
-I doubt any SA entrants are juggling vacation time and work schedules in order to attend.
-As crze. pointed out, a vastly different level of infrastructure support by both USFS and the host city (I'm sure due to TV coverage).
My point is that at some time, a short time frame degrades the ability to host an event and also affects the viability of attendance of an increasing number of potential skaters. AN's have all typically been chosen approximately a year ahead of time. This year, for whatever reason, it is less. (Wasn't it Minissota that was actually chosen two years in advance??) Perhaps 7 months is perfectly fine for all involved. Let us hope so. But for all the ones insisting that 7 months is just fine, at what point would you hit the panic button? Would 5,4,3 months be just fine as well? If there are clear business and economic reasons why the decision was delayed this year from the norm, I would certainly understand this as anyone would. So rather then speculate, perhaps icerinque could shed some light on how the process evolved and perhaps 7 months or less can become the new expectation.