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How do you do ski team every weekend?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My 9-yo and 7-yo kids have taken a real interest in skiing.  I was thinking of getting them into ski team next season, but then looked at the schedule.  Every weekend!

I'm from San Francisco Bay Area and it'd be a 5-hour commute to Tahoe every weekend.  How do other parents manage this?  It's a commitment for sure, but was wondering what strategies others have to make this work.

post #2 of 8
While my daughter was first racing, we had a condo at the ski area, and most of the races were day trips, which worked out fine as she was young, but she could only train on weekends. Later (mid high school) we moved to a ski area, but now the races were all over weekend excursions. Suddenly mid week training was a snap, but the races were a major expense, as some involved airfare. It was a pricey undertaking. I can't imagine doing it without a seasonal condo located closer to the training at a minimum or the racing (but, that's tough in the area you are in, I'm guessing). I know there is NO WAY we'd have done it without the condo at the age your kids are. Even then, every weekend was driving up Friday, and return on Sunday. Housework was not done during the winter. Now try combining that with a gymnastics competition schedule....

I'm guessing a lot of families combine it with home schooling, but I'm not a believer in that (and let's not deflect the thread about it.)
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your response!

Do families take carpool duties?  You take my kids up this weekend and I'll take yours up the next?  I'm sure missing weekends is frowned upon, but how detrimental is it?  

Looks like I'll be scoping out some condos or seasonal leases!

post #4 of 8
Around here, kids definitely carpool or have vans for the team, or both, but as the kids get older, they're getting on planes as well. It ain't cheap. Remember, beyond the training, there are races AT OTHER MOUNTAINS. So, you're not just taking them locally. Go to Far West's (I think that would be you) schedule (http://www.fwskiing.org) and look at the races for each age group group.

At the younger one's age, missing the odd weekend won't hurt, but if they stay with it, they're going to need more training time during the week because they're traveling and racing on weekends. Plus your school will be getting involved with missing class.

Racing is great training for good skiing your whole life, but it takes commitment... and cash. It's going to ramp up every year. I'm sure others have more recent numbers, but my daughter's junior year of high school a decade back it was $10 grand. And that's not some academy, that's going to the local public school. Entry fees, skis, lift tickets, transportation, camps, coaching fees, FIS license, USSA license, lodging. It all adds up until you stop looking at the totals (I did). A team mate of hers was training in Chile and Austria in the off seasons, ran through her college fund. Fortunately she got a full ride on her tuition. But then she got injured. Couldn't race. Younger siblings could no longer afford to race.

This is a big investment. However, if you look at it in a more relaxed fashion as a way to build a good recreational skier without buying into the "next Olympian", it's a good compromise.

In a way we've "gotten some back" as my daughter has coached both full and part time the last five years. Of course, that money's in her pocket, not mine. But it's helped her pay the rent a bit over the years. This will probably be her last year doing it for a while, as she's now in career mode and weekend time is getting more precious. But it's been a satisfying experience for her.
post #5 of 8
Not exactly the same for me (Stockholm, Sweden) as we have a traininghill 15 minutes away for weeknights. But go every other weekend 5-6 hours by car to a bigger mountain for more challenge. Many rent condo's or cabins for the season at the farther away location. We car pool with other families just like you suggest (I'll bring your kid and you bring mine), however we waited until they were 11-12 with that. Otoh we didn't have a lot of travel when they were U10, almost all practice and racing was local. As Sibhusky say, it will have an impact on the whole family. But it's so much fun.
post #6 of 8

My kid isn't in ski team but has also expressed interest (Bay area/Tahoe), so I've been thinking about how it might work too.


If the commitment isn't for the whole weekend (e.g. Kirkwood has a less serious program that's Saturdays only), then driving home on Saturday night can make a nice change from time to time.  It has the bonus of missing the horrible Sunday afternoon traffic driving back to the Bay, and you have all of Sunday to relax and/or get a few odd jobs done. 


Another idea I've experimented with is staying somewhere on the way on the Friday night, e.g. Jackson on the way to Kirkwood.  The benefit being saving a few $$$, and a shorter drive on Friday night.  Of course it's one more rep of unloading/loading the car :-)  Overall it worked well the couple of times we did it.  It probably beats leaving at 5am Saturday morning, although we haven't tried that one yet!

post #7 of 8

Depends on days on snow.  For the most part we look at about min. 55 mountain days a year now for u10 racers.  Now this is the more serious committed group (often already racing for 4-5 years), lots of programs running 15/25/35 days as well....so at age 9 and 7....both days every weekend seems like a lot for kids just starting to race.


As expected travel time is the biggest issue.  We've been doing it a while now so have a decent routine now.

Effectively we all have a small luggage and a ski gear pack.  Gets packed by Thursday at the latest so we are ready to go right after work on Friday.  Usually have wraps or hot dinners prepared in thermoses with healthy snacks (veggies and dip, fruit, cheese/meats, hummus/crackers) and a couple treats so we aren't stuck getting fast food dinners on the drive out.  


We usually rent a condo, so we also pack a cooler of food (milk/eggs/bacon/hill lunches to heat up/etc.) so we can prepare meals at the condo.  Ski Saturday/Sunday and head back home after skiing.  Back home Sunday night and back to the real world Monday am.


Once you get into routine and can be efficient (my daughter is responsible for her activities backpack and her gear) it's actually not bad. I'm responsible for packing the vehicle, keeping gear organized and ready, while my wife packs clothes/food.  We all know our jobs and when working together it goes smooth. This year we'll be looking to rent a condo for the 6 months so we can just leave stuff (food/drinks/ski gear we don't need back at home) to simplify things as well.  


It's certainly a time commitment, in addition we just don't see non-ski friends in the winter unless it's getting together during the week.  As for work, our family has a number of work related events to go to or host so if those are on a Friday, we have no choice but to send our daughter up with another family for the night, or we all head up early Saturday morning and she misses a bit of early gate training (no the end of the world and better than not being there at all).  


We see the bigger challenge (but not for a number of years) when they have training every Friday/Sat/Sunday which then progresses to Thursday to Sunday training.  Not as much for the kids (as they can work with school to make sure they stay ahead) but with our individual work commitments.  However I've been told at that point families take turns chaperoning the kids so your individual time commitment might be once a month instead of every weekend.

post #8 of 8
It's a time commitment for sure and not cheap. Ski racing teaches kids so much about determination and hard work and matures them while they have fun.

At u10 and u12 you can get away with skiing weekends. At U14 and up to be competitive they need to be on snow at least 3 days and a couple of nights a week to be competitive.

Check out the resources of USSA web site to learn more.
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