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Racing newb (fool?)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Last year was my first year running gates and what a blast I had! Looking forward to the coming season. A question or two for the regulars.... I currently ride RTM 84's for Nastar gates. Im intrigued enough to consider some USSA masters courses in my region this coming year.

Do you HAVE to ride racing skis in these races? i realize the obvious, but before i go "all in", will they "allow" me on the course in my RTMs?

At this point in my life, Im going for the experience, not the GOLD.... my own personal challenge if you will.

i appreciate your thoughts, comments.

Patrick
post #2 of 23


Yes, you will be allowed to.  Equipment rules for masters are advisory.  As a referee the only time I would consider intervening would be from a safety perspective if someone wanted to run a Masters GS on a slalom ski.  Strictly speaking I couldn't prevent it but would counsel very strongly against it.  

 

It is not that uncommon to see new prospective Masters racers try it out on something like your RTMs for GS.  And if you are just doing it for the experience it will be OK.  Remember though there is a world of difference between a 15 second Nastar course and a Masters GS which is effectively  a full on GS set and can vary from 45 to 75 seconds depending on your Region.  And the speeds attained are typically a fair bit higher so your RTMs will behave a bit differently.

 

Now you will note that I have talked about GS here.  I would NOT advise using them on a Masters slalom.  Quite apart from being totally unsuitable and uncompetitive there is a strong possibility you are going to end up causing more damage and strange lines on the course which does not make it fun for following racers which will not win you any friends (and in Masters, oldest run first so depending on your age there could be a lot of more serious racers running behind you). 

 

So, by all means go for it and try it out, once you get the bug you can get some real skis! (and of course Scotsskier is always happy to feed this habit!  :D)

 

 A few other basics you will require.  First a USSA Masters license.  If you just want to try it out you can get a temporary license for a couple of races ($25 IIRC). Second, a helmet that complies with the event rules.  Not all recreational helmets are suitable.

post #3 of 23

Nastar to a masters race is a huge jump (I'm not saying you can't do it). I started racing as well last season, mainly beer leagues and Nastar, and I've been bitten by the bug. Race skis will definitely help you improve as a racer, and will help you immensely on a Masters course. You don't have to go all out and get an FIS ski, but the GS "cheaters" are a great place to start. I'm not sure where you live, but there are other series on the East coast like ASRA, which might be a great option for you to try if you don't want to make a big jump to Masters races. Best of luck with racing!

post #4 of 23


What they said, additionally, go find a good Masters race program and do some training, as in lots of it...

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
thanks for the responses. im located in Frederick, MD about 1.3 hours from Roundtop PA. i would love to find an adult group to train with. What is ASRA and where can i go for more information?
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadskis21774 View Post

thanks for the responses. im located in Frederick, MD about 1.3 hours from Roundtop PA. i would love to find an adult group to train with. What is ASRA and where can i go for more information?

Paging @TheRusty .  He is an instructor at Whitetop who may be able to help.

post #7 of 23

Here's the site for ASRA. http://asra.org/

 

They are also on Facebook if you do a search (not sure if you're on there). The ASRA races are split between Vermont, New York, and Pennsylvania. The race list is just preliminary as of now. I'm not sure if you've ever been to Montage near Scranton, but they should have 2 ASRA races this coming season (it's an extension to the regular Nastar course), and they also have the Montage Open, which is open to anybody (run on the Nastar course). Let me know if you need any additional info. Maybe I'll see you on the slopes this year. I definitely want to make it down to Roundtop. They started Nastar in mid-December last year.

post #8 of 23

I would suggest NOT using the RBTs.  Got to a swap and get a race ski. Masters courses are steeper and generaly icy-er than nastar.  Higher speeds beg for a beefier ski.  You should also make sure you have proper protective gear aka at LEASTa padded suit and race gloves or hand guards.  For Sl guards, shin guards and a bar are minimum.  For old dudes like myself i might also suggest a back protector.    

A NE masters course generally runs about 60 seconds which will have you burning.  I do not know how the pros run a 2 minute course.

 

A masters SL race would likely be an expensive and frustrating enterprise.  The odds of middle aged joe weekender finishing and walking away unscathed are not great.    A GS race is a bit more exhilarating and fun and your odds of standing up are much better.  Again - just fun to race.  Prepare to get your ass kicked by guys (and gals) 10 years your senior.  

 

Yes you will need a ussa lic though you can SOMETIMES get a temp lic at the races.  Make sure to find out ahead of time.  

 

Good luck.  Have fun!

post #9 of 23

I'm a relative newb to racing as well, but I have made a few runs / raced on Masters or Masters-size courses and of course tons of runs on NASTAR / beer league courses.  Watched quite a few races, too.

 

As others have mentioned, the Masters speeds are going to be significantly higher than what you have experienced in NASTAR or beer league.  Think about all the extra netting in some spots for Masters (or Masters-like) courses and compare to any safety net you may or may not have seen for NASTAR.  Those nets are there for a reason & I have seen them in action a time or two.  Skiing fast & turning when/where you want is one thing, skiing fast around fixed targets is another.

 

If you are just going to have fun & usually aren't too fast on your regular NASTAR course, the RTM's might be OK on a Masters or Masters-like course.  Certainly for regular NASTAR the RTM's are probably pretty darn good.  If your NASTAR times are already up in the high-Silver or better range, I'm going to recommend against the RTM's on a larger/steeper course, however.  At high speeds on the bigger/steeper courses I have found that even the better wood/metal/sandwich construction all mountain skis lack 'beef' and are less stable than you would want.  If the skis get too sloppy at speed you may not be able to correct any small mistakes and end up going down hard.  I'm a big guy, so your results on a given ski may vary...

 

One more thing to consider are the bindings- not sure what you have but it's important they are working properly.  I am completely against the 'max DIN' mentality, but you do want a beefy binding so that you can set for level III+ (normal for rec racing, IMO) and NOT be at or very close to the high limit of your bindings.  

 

So I think the answer depends more on you:  Are you still learning and likely to be relatively slow, or are you one of those gifted newb's who is already maxing out your RTM's on the NASTAR course?  If you are already competitive on your regular course, I highly recommend at least a used cheater GS or older women's FIS GS for you and they are not hard to find for ~$200 with bindings (avoid 20 DIN bindings, min setting still too high for us rec guys).  If you get lucky, you may actually find a deal on 'Masters' GS skis- though these are harder to find and usually not cheap.  If you don't stay with it, you can still sell the skis for about the same price as you paid.  Just sold a pair of Volkl 183 23M WC Racetigers for $5 less than I paid 3 seasons ago.

 

Not trying to discourage you from trying- in fact you really should go for it.  However, it will be important for your skis to be stable and safe for their intended purpose.  Most of all, have fun!

post #10 of 23

Oh, one more thing that I highly recommend:  Take a Masters clinic- great way to check it out in a low-key setting.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventura View Post
 

Oh, one more thing that I highly recommend:  Take a Masters clinic- great way to check it out in a low-key setting.

 

There you go, and your previous post as well. There's kind of two approaches to the NASTAR to Masters transition:

 

(1) Go ahead, jump in.

 

(2) Prepare well, including but not limited to equipment, training, conditioning, etc. then start gradually with some easy Masters GS.

 

I'm with Method #2. There are Masters GSs that aren't much more than a NASTAR course; there are others that are almost a FIS level course. I'm thinking about the GSs at Winter Park, Colorado, Park City (when it was run on CBs), and at Breckenridge, Peak 10. We don't run Gold Peak at Vail any more, but that's right up there, too. If you don't prepare, you're likely to get Sticker Shock if you show up and end up having to measure your time behind with a calendar. And that's probably the best that can happen; you can also end up in the nets...and in the E.R.

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the input. i would love to find a masters clinic in the MD PA area... closest ive seen is an ASRA Clinic in Dec up at Killington.

As for gear... where do you demo racing gear? around my region..... internet searches dont seem to be very helpful. any recommendations within distance of Baltimore, or is it buy/try/resell and repeat? im a big guy... 48yo... 6'0" 250#
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadskis21774 View Post

Thanks everyone for the input. i would love to find a masters clinic in the MD PA area... closest ive seen is an ASRA Clinic in Dec up at Killington.

As for gear... where do you demo racing gear? around my region..... internet searches dont seem to be very helpful. any recommendations within distance of Baltimore, or is it buy/try/resell and repeat? im a big guy... 48yo... 6'0" 250#
You will not find anyone to demo race gear in tht area. Quite frankly demoing race gear or even any masters level ski will be a waste for you. If you want it, buy it and very well you might have to buy on line. Tune is key, maker sure the skis get a god tune. The tune is more important for you that what brand they are. The courses you will be running there will be on the short side, look for a masters (cheater) gs with a <20 meter Sidecut in a 180 or 185. You will be good with that.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadskis21774 View Post

Thanks everyone for the input. i would love to find a masters clinic in the MD PA area... closest ive seen is an ASRA Clinic in Dec up at Killington.

As for gear... where do you demo racing gear? around my region..... internet searches dont seem to be very helpful. any recommendations within distance of Baltimore, or is it buy/try/resell and repeat? im a big guy... 48yo... 6'0" 250#


Not exactly close, but Sugar Mountain in NC has a race clinic in mid-Dec.  As I remember, quite a few of the participants were, well, not that young.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadskis21774 View Post

Thanks everyone for the input. i would love to find a masters clinic in the MD PA area... closest ive seen is an ASRA Clinic in Dec up at Killington.

As for gear... where do you demo racing gear? around my region..... internet searches dont seem to be very helpful. any recommendations within distance of Baltimore, or is it buy/try/resell and repeat? im a big guy... 48yo... 6'0" 250#


My advice? Move to Colorado. If you were in my program, between all of us campers, we can put you on any length/any discipline/any manufacturer you want. I'd say just go for it and buy online...Artech, Ski Depot, and there are some others. Get a 183 GS with 23M sidecut, a 165 SL with 12M or thereabouts sidecut, and you'll be all set...:D

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
thank u for the advice! So skiing in MD has been slow getting started. I have 6 days under my belt so far, and two days of running gates. Most recently ran theASRA GS at Elk mountain.

Though I wiped out (only injury, my pride) on my 2nd run, it was still an great experience. Beer League starts this Friday @ roundtop.

I did invest in race skis.... 2014 Volkl Racetiger Speedwall (185 and 19R) that i got on end of year clearance from Skiessentials and was able to return my RTM 84s to ski.com with a full refund. $$$ wise it couldnt have worked out any better.

Aside from training and addl experience... my next question is this.... When would/do you buy a racesuit? better than 80%were in suits last saturday .... but im not sure if im "ready for prime time" just yet.

In lieu of a suit.... and not wanting the "bulkiness" of ski jackets and pants.... what do others race in?
post #17 of 23

dadskis,

 

I'm glad you got to try an ASRA race. I was going to do my first ASRA race at Montage this coming weekend, but I got hurt last night. As far as suits go, this is a tough time of year to get one. You'll see the best deals at the end of the season, or before the season starts. With that being said, you can always find deals. If you're looking for a deal, I know Arctica race has some XL suits from last season (not sure what size you are), and they're only $149, which is a great deal. If you ski at Roundtop, I know Mountainside in York carries suits. I got a leftover Karbon suit from Mountainside, earlier this year for half price. Try checking out reliable racing and race depot as well. I know they had some leftovers. Best of luck this season! Hopefully I'll heal up to race with you this year.

Also, you're going to love your Volkl racetigers. I got a leftover pair of the GS cheaters from 2013, and I absolutely love them.

 

Also, you don't HAVE to get a suit. I just got one so I had some padding if I decide to hit some gates. I know plenty of people that don't wear them, that can smoke just about anybody racing with them. It will help you about a second. But I'm sure you saw that just about everybody that does ASRA wears them. I'm a little "body conscious" wearing mine. lol.

post #18 of 23

Excellent, sound alike you caught the bug!  If you are looking for a suit (and if you are going to continue racing, I highly recommend one, you would be surprised at the time difference it makes) I have a new with Tags SRD Tarnaby GS suit, blue/yellow, size XL that fits ~ 5'9- 6'0+ @ $225 shipped (also in gear swap) 

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Price is right.... at 6'0".... im 235#

how much "give " is there in this suit?
post #20 of 23

Not sure how the SRD suit sizing is, but I'm 5' 10"  180 +/- lbs. and I wear a Spyder XL, You'll want room for at least one layer under it or more depending on race day temps and you'll need side zip pants or shorts for easy take off/put on. The suit will make a difference though-it will be faster and you'll feel faster (and the padding will protect from incidental contact with the gates). If you don't have them, gloves with knuckle protection are a must-once you've smacked your hand on a gate you'll wish you had them.

 

We've had a slow racing start up here in NY-1st Masters race postponed last Sunday because of 55 F and rain, and tonite's beer league cancelled because of 0 F and -20 wind chill.

post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice! Ive checked my measurements.... Though ive dropped 30+ pounds.... im still a little supersized for most manufacturers suits to "try on". Fuxiracing has my size, but want to lose a bit more before and stabilize before i drop coin on a suit.

in lieu of a suit, any recommendations (trim fitting jackets/, cold gear shirts, pants)? what could i wear outside of bulky skinpants and zipout liner parka (parachute)?
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dadskis21774 View Post

Thanks for the advice! Ive checked my measurements.... Though ive dropped 30+ pounds.... im still a little supersized for most manufacturers suits to "try on". Fuxiracing has my size, but want to lose a bit more before and stabilize before i drop coin on a suit.

in lieu of a suit, any recommendations (trim fitting jackets/, cold gear shirts, pants)? what could i wear outside of bulky skinpants and zipout liner parka (parachute)?

Yeah, I hear ya- I'm 5'10" 215.  Still bigger across the arms & chest and not too bad in the gut, but still not easy to find a good fit for race gear.  Last year I bought one of the Energiapura suits on clearance- IIRC it's an XL.  I'd need a XXL for Spyder, etc.  I'm pretty happy w/ the fit and quality of the Energiapura suit, and an added plus is that the zipper goes all the way down for post race (think BEER league :beercheer:).

 

First week for our league, and as luck would have it I'm 'on' tonight in the middle of this 'polar vortex' and may enjoy some single digit weather, LOL.  Probably I'm going to wuss out and not wear a suit but will wear this https://www.reliableracing.com/detail.cfm?edp=11423597 plus some insulation underneath.  Also picked up this jacket on clearance last year, but the standard price isn't too bad.  Fits close and holds up to lots of gate abuse.  I wear some armor under it as well.  I have since notice a few of these worn by folks in our league and/or NASTAR.

 

Hopefully others will chime in on pants- would be great to have something more close fitting & warmer and/or more durable than a suit.

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
... well after some research (thanks Google)... i decided to try out the Artica Race "Speed Freak" Hoodie as my racing top. Couldn't find too many reviews online, but it looks like it will meet my needs, and I spoke with their Customer Services Rep to discuss my size "needs" so I believe I have the correct size for me. I will post a review after it arrives.
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