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Getting started in racing as an adult?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone!  I've been lurking for quite some time, but this is my first real post!

 

Recently I was  able to take some lessons with a coach in New Zealand (I'm here for school currently, but I'm from Alberta Canada) who also coaches a lot of junior racing.  I had twelve lessons total (there was a promotion, and I like cheep lessons!), and we were fortunate enough to be able to ski some gates.  I had so much fun!  I loved how my skiing improved and how technical it was, and just generally had fun.  A week after that, I was able to take part in a small race, and then later on a ski cross race.  Again, it was lots of fun, and something I would like to do again (more the slalom and GS for now, although I did really like ski cross, and it came quite naturally from having snowboarded). 

 

So my question is, what is the best way to get started in racing as an adult?  I'm 20, so I don't think I qualify for Masters and I also know I'm not anywhere good enough to do that.  I started skiing when I was a young kid, but then switched to snowboarding, and have only been skiing again for a couple of seasons.  I typically end up in an "advanced intermediate" group in a ski school situation.  

 

There does seem to be one club around me, but I have no idea if I'm good enough to join yet or not...I will call and talk to someone once I get back to Canada in December but until then...

Would it be best to just get another season under my belt and take some more lessons before joining or??  Or is this just a stupid idea that I should forget about?  Any good resources you could point me towards or books I should read while waiting for the snow again?

 

Thanks, 

Green Tea 

post #2 of 14

Racing is an excellent way to focus your work on improving your skiing. There are, I imagine some types of "beer leagues" in Alberta for adult racing. My experience with them has been that you find people of all skill levels and they tend to be welcoming of newcomers. Not being a good racer is usually not a problem (except for your own ego). Ask at the various mountains you go to if they have such a program.

 

There is also Nastar (kind of a pay (a few dollars) to race on a modified GS course with gates and timing) and Nastar like programs although I looked and did not find any in Alberta. I know that Nakiska has a race orientation and would be a worthwhile place to look.

 

You can also look into race clinics or camps as a way to find a good instructor.

 

I find racing to be the most enjoyable form of skiing for me.

 

 

post #3 of 14

By all means go for it.  Although NASTAR isn't in Canada there are discussions to create a Canada-specific program.  I believe Fernie has something like a NASTAR course. 

 

Definitely speak with the folks from the Alberta Masters.

 

You've caught the racing bug and there is no cure!

 

 

post #4 of 14

I second getting involved in Masters racing. Masters only means 18 y.o. and older. We aren't all old farts. You will find people in Masters at all abilities. Some will have never raced before, some will be grizzled vets.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!  I'll look into the masters racing club in my city then!  Thankfully they seem to train at a hill that I can walk to from my house, and the other mountain I won a season pass to in a grocery store raffle...so that's convenient!  

 

One other quick question though...how much of a equipment investment does one need to make just to get started?  I was hoping to lay off of buying anything race specific until I know for sure I like it...and until I find a job upon my return! 

Anything I "need" to know to not make a fool of myself?  

post #6 of 14

I would hold off on equipment purchases until you get a bit more experience. Then you will find out just how much of an investment you want to make. As a beginning racer, your money will be better spent on lessons/clinics than on equipment unless you have totally unsuitable gear (e.g., real wide powder skis, real soft or too big boots). The equipment choices you would make now would probably not be those you will make with some more experience.

post #7 of 14

Special gear is necessary for SL. Shin guards, hand guards on your poles. If you stick to GS to start, then you can get by with regular recreational gear. Skis for SL run about 12 - 14 m radius, GS 19 - 27 m radius (with the advantage to smaller radius). You will need a helmet that has full hard ear coverage. The shorty helmets with soft ear flaps won't do. Training is generally run under the same rules as racing. In the US, that is USSA. The only absolute gear requirement is the helmet. Look up the Canadian rules online. I believe they are similar to USSA where masters are give broad lattitude to use what is appropriate for the athlete rather than the more stringent USSA rules for juniors and the even more stringent FIS rules.

post #8 of 14

I agree with Master Racer. On a related equipment front, I found, after a few good  bangs of poles, that I like padded race gloves for both SL and GS (Reusch, POC, etc.). When you are getting a helmet, I'd recommend one that you can put a face mask on for SL. I've never needed mine, but it helped overcome my fear of hitting the poles.

post #9 of 14

Padded gloves and a SL face guard. +1

 

If you get the face guard, it is only for SL. You should remove it for anything else.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks! Glad to hear that I can hold off on having to buy anything.  Well other than a helmet, mine only has semi-hard ear flaps....

What's the benefits of gloves vs the hand guards for polls?  They seem to be quite expensive from what I've seen...although likely simpler. 

post #11 of 14

The gloves are more for GS than SL. GS gates are fixed while SL have a spring type joint where the pole enters the snow. The guards on SL poles are more to deflect the gate during an intentional blocking move. The hand hits in GS would definitely be unintentional. In fact, as a beginning racer, you will do better not hitting the gates at all, or if you do, brushing them with the back of your shoulder. (At least that is a mental image I use in training to work on countering.)

 

But to answer your question, you can probably use the SL guards in GS starting out. I can't think of anyone I know who does that but I can't think of any compelling reason not to, at least as a beginner. I am sure that it will cost you a few fractions of a second but I am sure that a few microseconds will not change your results in year one. Try it and have fun.

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by vsirin View Post

GS gates are fixed while SL have a spring type joint where the pole enters the snow.


Actually, the same gate poles are used for both events. Just look at the gates poles in this picture - notice the construction just above the snow line.

319

What keeps the GS gates "fixed", is the panel strung between the gate poles.

I believe there are circumstances where a fixed gate pole can be used in GS, but it will never be on a turning gate.
post #13 of 14

Hey Green Tea,

 

There's a great race training program at Mt Norquay called the Rut Runners running Monday throuh Friday for 8 consecutive weeks (1/2 day per week) 9:30 am - 11:30 am or 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. Make up classes can be taken within the 8 week program.

 Thursday mornings are specific to slalom and Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are geared to stronger GS classes.  
Cost of the program last year was $600.00 per person (includes GST, final fun race and lunch).
You can contact Scott Holland or Bruce Henry @ rutrunners@gmail.com to ask for details and dates for 2012 (usually starts in January).
Other option you can join the Alberta Masters Ski Club, they train each Monday night at COP and again each non-race Saturday (+ some Sundays at Nakiska). Drop ins are welcome. Check this link for more info: http://www.albertamastersskiclub.ca/Join_The_Club.html
Have fun in the gates!
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfricansCanSki View Post

Hey Green Tea,

 

There's a great race training program at Mt Norquay called the Rut Runners running Monday throuh Friday for 8 consecutive weeks (1/2 day per week) 9:30 am - 11:30 am or 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. Make up classes can be taken within the 8 week program.

 Thursday mornings are specific to slalom and Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are geared to stronger GS classes.  
Cost of the program last year was $600.00 per person (includes GST, final fun race and lunch).
You can contact Scott Holland or Bruce Henry @ rutrunners@gmail.com to ask for details and dates for 2012 (usually starts in January).
Other option you can join the Alberta Masters Ski Club, they train each Monday night at COP and again each non-race Saturday (+ some Sundays at Nakiska). Drop ins are welcome. Check this link for more info: http://www.albertamastersskiclub.ca/Join_The_Club.html
Have fun in the gates!


 

Oh cool!  Thanks, I'll check that one out for sure!  I don't think I could get there during the day...but I see they also offer lessons at night?  That's appealing!  

 

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