So, what can you expect for you and your athlete on race day?
Get an early start
A typical race starts at 9:30 a.m. (check the race announcement on NYSSRA to be sure), and you should be on site by 7:45 a.m. or sooner and be ready to inspect the course when your team is ready to go. Your coach can tell you more about their plans for race morning, so touch base with them the day before. Be sure you have registered your child with USSA and NYSSRA to avoid hassles at registration.
When you arrive, get your bib, start order (typically separated by gender) and lift ticket at registration. As a parent and if you’re interested in skiing or in helping (see Volunteer section below), you may ask about discounted parent tickets, as most venues offer that. The start order is quite important: racers must know when they start, and parents can keep an eye out for their athlete. The start order may be different depending on the type of race (for U14 and under, the council alternates boys and girls going first from race to race).
Racers should wear their bib over their race suit. If your racer is at home, you might find that putting your season pass on a lanyard works well (can be tucked inside the race suit). Otherwise, you may place your lift ticket around your goggle strap (look around for how others are doing it).
Slipping the course gives the racers a chance to inspect the course and discuss race strategy with their coaches. There can be many racers slipping at once, so athletes should stay close to their team. DO NOT SKI through the course during inspection; either side slip or snow plow through. After inspection, racers may have time to free ski before their determined start order. When the race is underway, though, it can go fast (one racer every 20 or 30 seconds), so be alert and arrive at the start with plenty of time to spare.
When time is near and racers are gathered at the top, each racer should be in skis and speed suit and be ready to be called. When the start referee calls your racer’s number, your racer must be ready to get in line to start. Skis must be tuned, waxed and scraped at home but some venues allow for final touchup waxing at the top.
At a younger age (U12 and younger), once your child is suited up, coaches and race volunteers are available to help your child with the lineup. Upon request coaches will perform final scraping and brushing before the start of the first run.
Particularly at U12 and younger races, ask your coach if they’d like parent-help getting younger racers in the rhythm of the start, and carrying zip-off pants and jackets down the hill. They’ll probably say yes!
Eat lunch after the first run (even if it’s early!) There is typically an hour break in between runs. You want to be ready for the second run, before which the coaches will want to inspect the course with the athletes again. If you’re ready, you’ll be less stressed before inspection starts again.
Parents and athletes (depending on their age) are jointly responsible for being in the right place at the right time, including the second run start. Stay with your friends, keep aware of the schedule, and you’ll have a great race day.
For the first run in all races, racers are always run in ascending bib order (except for late entries). Second runs varied depending on the race. For all unscored races (U14 and below) and regular U16 races, racers will run in reversed bib order within each gender and class. So, if boys go first in the morning, boys will go first again in the afternoon, but only with the highest bib going first. Scored races (U18 and higher, and U16 championships) however, second run is based on points order earned from the first run. The start list for the second run will be available to all coaches and will be posted at the start. It is important to take note after the first run.
After the Race
Awards will take place after the race is over and results are certified by the race’s technical delegate. The number of places vary depending on the age group and the format of the race. For younger racers, staying after for the award ceremony is as big a part of the day as the race itself. Depending on the pace of the race, you can plan on your day ending anywhere from 3-5 p.m. For more veteran racers, the day is typically over as soon as the race is over and it’s time for after race fun away from the hill.
In the world of USSA/NYSSRA ski racing, results are always posted (typically on the same day). You may view them online in NYSSRA.
Selection to Advance
Towards the end of the season, advancement to the next level happens for athletes U14 and higher (i.e. States, etc.). Some of you will advance and some will not. At some point you will all face disappointment in a performance. Please take GREAT pride in all you have accomplished. You have come a very long way from the magic carpet.
The club is very proud of all the progress and work you have accomplished!
Parents at the selection race finals please be prepared:
- To stay for awards and announcement. Information for registration to next event and beyond will be provided then.
- To have written record (i.e. results) of your child’s past qualification races if you think your child is close to making it.
- To understand the selection process and who is making the selections. The selection committee is composed of volunteers throughout the state.
- Ask questions now and at end of event if you have them.
- Knowledge is power.
- These steps can save a tearful trip home