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Racing programs

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
ok, tell me about rec racing programs...this is where im headed next season, i REALLY want to race. By nature im feircely competitve, and like the idea of my skiing going in a solid direction.

I am 31, however, and have been kicking myself forever about getting a late start skiing, jeeze, i cant beleive I've lived in NH that long, and did not start sking until i was 28..of course now im hooked

but ANYWAY can anyone speak to the whole "getting started" thing...WHat is the best way to do it and where do i find the best programs? ARe local programs worhth it? Ive heard NASTAR is making a comeback? was it gone? Does it just suck? do I wanna go there?

where is the best week or three day long training in the Northeast? Ive been resarching some, but it would be good to have some real world opinion rather than travel brochure marketing spin...thx

post #2 of 45
Tog has spoken very highly of the program at Stratton, which I believe happens some time in December. He is currently skiing at Les Deux Alps, but I will email him whem he gets back and have him give you a more detailed reply.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #3 of 45
NASTAR isn't dead and it's a good way t start. Just relax and have fun..... your times will start dropping sooner than you think. You can usually buy five runs for seven dollars or unlimited runs for ten.

Many areas have a "bar circuit" and I would ask at a race oriented shop. Some ski shops are hooked in more than others since they tune and equip the fanatics and they will know who, what and when. Some of these are of the whine and cheese apris gates variety and are very social.

Masters Series USSA website....... Ed Green can post in detail on this.
post #4 of 45
Hi Linda,

It is refreshing to see people are still interested in ski racing. Current trend of "instant gratification" makes it pretty unpopular, since the sport is impossible to perfect. It may be frustrating at first, but once you see you results start improving (if you survive that long), there is no turning back ;^) .

Here is my overview of the race programs available in New England (you live in Nashua, right?)

NASTAR: recreational GS type courses set on a flat terrain. Average lengths are about 20 - 30 seconds. Depending on a resort difficulty ranges from not-worth-my-attention to cute-tuck-turns. Good way for beginner to get a feel for the gates. Handicap system allows you to easily gage your progress. Nice way to get introduced to ski racing, however do hang there for too long since easy flat courses can give you some bad habits, that will be hard to break later on. Once you get your first "gold medal" there consider graduating to more challenging programs

Race arenas: some resorts that do not hold NASTAR have their own NASTAR type race arenas. More often than not those courses are a bit more challenging than NASTAR and usually are not that expensive. (last year NASTAR was $5 for 2 runs, Race arena at Sunapee $1 a run or $10 for all day).

Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge: sponsored by Pepsi, the tour goes around NE resorts. NASTAR type set, often held on NASTAR course itself. You register in the morning that gives your one free run (you sill have to buy your own lift ticket). A lot of giveaways and prizes, but mostly a waste of time as far as racing experience goes. Still something fun to do for a change once in awhile.

Town leagues: usually are the night programs. Courses, again, are similar to NASTAR, some resorts (Pats Peak, Wachusetts) hold them on NASTAR sets. Good way to spend a couple of hours on skis after work. Usually it is a team competition, so you need to find some partners. I do the one at Nashoba (closest for me) - they tape both runs and then show the tape at the bar after the race - nice way to see what you are doing wrong, especially with someone knowledgeable by your side.

ASRA: A good step up from NASTAR and such. They hold SL, GS and SG events. The sets are pretty close to FIS standard (somewhat shorter and not as fast). Bunch of fun people to hang out with. Check out http://www.asra.org/ for more info. They usually hold a 5-day racing camp in December, which could be a good way for you to get started.

Sise Cup (NE Masters Series): The top level of adult ski racing. About 20 starts over the season. Visit www.nemasters.org for more information. Almost full length SL, GS and SG courses. Great social atmosphere. If being among the slowest on the hill (for awhile) does not intimidate you, going against the best is certainly the fastest way to learn. Even the upcoming season I would recommend trying a couple of races (you can use temporary membership for that).

If you are serious about improving it is more important to find adequate training opportunities. For training you would want to find good coaching and, if you do a race camp, having a group of similar abilities helps as well. As I mentioned, ASRA camp can be a good start. During the season there are usually racing clinics associated with night racing leagues (I know of one at Wachusetts and one at Nashoba).

You can start getting ready right now. Roller blading is a great cross-training and there are some race specific drills on roller-blades. I live 20-30 minutes away from you, drop me a note at VK@epicski.com, we can hook up and I can show you some things to work on.

Also, never forget that you need to be a good skier in order to be a good racer. However, I would avoid PSIA instructors (no offense to you guys), since PSIA (and such) instructions are designed to teach an average overweight couch-potato get down the slope safely, which has limited use in teaching how to get to the finish line of a race course in a shortest time possible. Stick with race coaches or at least make sure your instructor understands that your goal is learning racing technique.

Couple more things: you will need modern sidecut, race oriented skis to learn and do the right things on a race course. At certain level you would need different skis for SL and GS in order to progress. Be ready to spend some money.... If you go to Masters events, and you do not want to look out of place, get a race suit.

Hope that helps and see you in the gates,


Speed does not kill, the difference in it does...
post #5 of 45
>>Also, never forget that you need to be a good skier in order to be a good racer. However, I would avoid PSIA instructors (no offense to you guys), since PSIA (and such) instructions are designed to teach an average overweight couch-potato get down the slope safely, which has limited use in teaching how to get to the finish line of a race course in a shortest time possible. Stick with race coaches or at least make sure your instructor understands that your goal is learning racing technique.<<

The average student is actually young and fit, though certainly couch potatoes try every sport too.

Morever, there are World Cup and Olympic Coaches and Racers who are PSIA certified! The PSIA's various divisional boards of directors regularly have training with former or current World Cup Skiers - the Demo team gets to ski and train with such skiers often. It used to be that to be a certified race coach (USSCA) you HAD to be PSIA certified. I would say a majority of the top coaches still are.

Yes there are instructors who specialize in cruising and not in tactics and speed. But there are also a lot of instructors to whom racing is seen the as the foundation of all good skiing - just ask for such an instructor at the desk. This is the case in any sport, when you are the customer - you should ask for what you want.

Generalizations belittle the speaker and listener.
post #6 of 45
Good recovery at the end there, Todd. (haha)
post #7 of 45
And there are, of course fantastic instructors such as Todd who just happen to have a racing background.

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #8 of 45
Nashoba Valley, eh VK? I used to watch you guys under the chair all the time. It always appeared there were a couple guys who would put away everyone else (by a healthy margin).
Were you one of them, or one of those being put away?
Was only there for two years as we got a better deal and were closer to Blue Hill (but both areas have superior skiing in ALL respects).
post #9 of 45
You know, Todd,

I suspected that the phrase “avoid PSIA instructors” will make a few eyes red. However, I expected people to, at least, finish reading the sentence before starting to flame.

I know PSIA instructors, who are very good racers and are proficient in teaching racing technique; I also know a few, who just have no clue. I know coaches who are PSIA certified and I know those who could care less about PSIA. If you had enough patience to finish reading my statement, then you would see, that I never generalized PSIA instructors based on their ability to teach racing (or skiing in general for that matter). I suggested to avoid PSIA instructors because of the PSIA teaching methods and philosophy, which has nothing to do with personality and ability of any particular instructor.

The whole idea of PSIA is to provide teaching methods and evaluation criteria that would be the same wherever you take the lesson and whoever gives it to you. These methods were developed targeting the widest possible customer base, hence my statement that “PSIA instructions are designed to teach an average overweight couch-potato get down the slope safely”. It has nothing to do with the average student fitness, just like the statement that car’s bumper was designed to withstand 5mph collision does mean that every car will be having a fender-bender.

One thing I do agree with you on is that such generalized approach of PSIA to teaching does belittle both instructors and students.


Speed does not kill, the difference in it does...
post #10 of 45

What year were you there, I was doing it only for the last 3…

At Nashoba, they offer the racing program three nights a week, with one championship night at the end of the series which brings together the top 10 (or so) teams from each night. Most competitive is Wednesday night – there are about 10 racers who also race Masters and several more of the same level (who do not have free time on weekends). Monday night has about 5 racers who can fit among overall top 20. Tuesday is known to be least competitive…

Nice things about their program are that you always (except for the first night) get paired with someone of your own ability and you do not need to be among the best to score points for your team. That is why, I think, the ability level is so diverse there. The only incentive to being fast there is that you beat everybody to the bar after the second run ;^)

post #11 of 45
I guess I never saw you then.
'91 and '92 were the years I trained at Nashoba--Mondays and Wednesdays.
I always wanted to forerun but never did.
Blue Hill is interesting because of the Austrian 'flavor', as well as the chairlift that never gets more than ten feet above the snow/dirt.
The first time I went there we had a new guy who had never skied outside of VT (he was from Rutland). We tried to prepare him for the Blue Hill experience, and he assured us he had skied small areas so wouldn't be surprised, but for the first hour we were there I could see him looking around for the non-existent rest of the mountain, and laughing on the lift.
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
wow. thanks for all the info, i never would have thought to NOT see a PSIA certified instructor for racing.....(vk, dropped you an email...)The thought of not getting one scares me, actually. Its been ingrained...

No couch potato here...hell i cant sit still for more than five minutes anyway. Good skiier? well, im no expert. Not great, ok, Ill say good. Solid level 6, with a little of 7, is that a good point to start racing? or should I concentrate on the basics more before starting?

Sugg. on skis? will probably be doing mostly GS courses at first, right? But I LOVE the short little Rossi T-power Deviators...demo'ed some last year and had a blast! ARe there regulations on length?
post #13 of 45
Whoever/whatever program you get, do a little reasearch. There are a lot of folks out there who profess to have all sorts of knowledge/experience they may not.

It is true many PSIA instructors have no racing experience/background/knowledge. I know some who would say they do when they don't. This may be a time to step out on your limb...although..an introduction to racing isn't necessarily best done by joining a hard-core racing only program.

The difference in the experience and the level of athleticicsm and performance are liable to be humbling to the racing novice. If you can take it, do it and stick with it.
It will take your skiing places you never dreamed of.
post #14 of 45
I read the entire post VK, thank you.

The quote about generalization . . . it wasn't aimed at the PSIA bud.

I'm stepping out of this one, its already reeking of religious fevor!

~Todd M.
post #15 of 45
150 cm for women

155 for men

Check out www.skiracing.com under the FIS Regulations section you will find all of the particulars. NASTAR also has a sight. I have never seen them check skis..... for awhile, racing suits were banned however.
post #16 of 45
As I have posted somewhere in this site,the ski sizes only apply to NorAm and World Cup skiers. I have posted an email reply from USSA. Unless you are at this level, you can ski anything you want.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by edgreen (edited July 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #17 of 45

Do the size limits also apply to the Masters and J racers?
post #18 of 45
USSA is not going to restrict ski sizing for any of its sanctioned events except NorAm and World Cup. Some local event not under USSA sanction could limit lengths, but its unlikely. Same applies for USSA sanctioned Masters events.

Remember, 55mm max for bottom of ski to bottom of boot for 15 years and older (J2 and above) and 50 mm for 14 years and younger apply.

Also, bottom of boot to top of boot board can not exceed 50 mm for J2 and above men and 45mm for women and younger racers. Junior boots fit the rule, but adult boots don't. For this reason, I doubt the 45 mm rule for in-boot height for women can or will be enforced.
post #19 of 45
Ed: ..............thanks again!
post #20 of 45

I've just recently gotten into racing also though I've actually only done 2 real races. In the last 2 years I've done a bunch of psia race clinics. These have been between 2 and 5 days and were excellent. The big one is in early December at Stratton and is either 3 or 5 days - you decide.

These are excellent and the experience ranges from zero to former college racers. Although most are instructors, it is open to non psia people for a slightly higher fee.
There is usually one at Loon,NH in early Feb/late Jan.. What will happen this year is still not determined yet but there will be something, it just might not be through psia.
I highly recommend these, and you might perhaps become a race clinic junky. I did four of these clinics this year and just returned from France doing another. All you need is one good turn and you'll be hooked. It will also improve your skiing tremendously. I'm going to attempt to get lisamarie to do one this year...

Definitely agree with VK on the Nastar courses. I find them an abomination and disgrace to racing, but it's good to do something. It's just they're like the musak version of music.
post #21 of 45

I'm just curious what were the 2 real races you are referring to? Have you tried any Masters events yet - these are as real as it gets. I hope to see you there some day.


Speed does not kill, the difference in it does...

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by VK (edited July 30, 2001).]</FONT>
post #22 of 45
Thread Starter 

thanks for the info and the encouragement. Im really excited about racing but a little intimidated...ok,scared, but I really want to do this!

I will definitely look into the programs you mentioned.
Im hoping to find like an "introductory" sort of program....

thanks for the info
Linda<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by LindaA (edited July 30, 2001).]</FONT>
post #23 of 45
Tog! Welcome Home!!! xxxxxxx

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #24 of 45
Well I'm calling them "real" because I got a bib and a time. One was at Cannon, Mt. - the Avalanche Cup, that was pretty "real". The other was at West Mt.,NY and was a head to head night race.
The race at Cannon was on the Avalanche trail which you probably know is quite steep. It had snowed the night before probably 10 inches. The course was set too straight for me, plus just before we're still slipping loose snow. To go fast and off the track would've been dangerous so my goal was simply to survive. I got down my first run and feeling good I didn't crash I look up and see someone who looks like frigging Michael VonGrunigen coming down! Turns out he's a coach for Williams and used to be on the Norwegian National team.

We got 3 runs and at least I got faster by 3 seconds so I was happy. I was still 7 seconds behind Mr. world ranked super-g performer but since there was only 2 of us in my age category I got last and second. For my second place finish I got a trophy!

You should defininately try the clinic since there will be people there with just as little experience. You'll learn some technique and something about line. There'll probably be a little timing but for you it really doesn't matter. You'll have fun and learn enough to get you more interested. Don't be intimidated there's others in your situation. Besides, if we get lisamarie to join you, there'll be two...
post #25 of 45
AHEM!!! Not me! I'm the one who is "fiercely uncompetitive!"

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #26 of 45
Thread Starter 
Awwww comon lisamarie!!! I hear its great for technique!

how about gear? do I show up to these clinics with my all-mountains???
post #27 of 45

you're the one who's the "professional student" so this is just your next class! It's easy. As for the competition, it really doesn't matter since you're not really racing. You just make some turns in definite places that are defined by some poles stuck in the ground. Remember "calculating the turn arcs"? (Also, I suspect you're more competitive than you let on...)

As for gear, whatever you've got is fine though it would be good if they're shaped skis.
post #28 of 45

the guy you are talking about is Sverre Melbye he is an assistant coach for Williams and does a number of USSA races. Currently he is ranked 23 in US in GS. Being 7 seconds behind him is pretty damn good.

Good luck in the upcoming season.

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by VK (edited July 30, 2001).]</FONT>
post #29 of 45
Lisamarie and Linda,
I too want to enter the world of racing.I plan on doing some race clinics this winter-
I was also fortunate enough to hook onto a level 111 instuctor that also races.
It would be fun to enter some together-we could all root for each other.

post #30 of 45
Uh, I think LM said she doesnt want to race. Besides with the way she has at least two race coaches who cant stand her, Im not sure thats a good idea.
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