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What would I be getting myself into?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am a 17 year old who has been skiing for 4 seasons and have become interested in racing. I have taken about 120 lessons and have progressed fairly rapidly. I have taken lessons with several instructors associated with the local race team who have recommended that I join and said that I could even join this season. The race training would certainly improve my skiing much more than the PSIA lessons, where I have recently not been getting much out of the lessons.

So as for my concerns:
One of the race kids I talked to is my age and said that he was enrolled in cyberschool as he would miss too many days from school and they would not have let him pass regardless of his grades. Is this common among high school age racers?

What are the average yearly expenses for a high school racer? The people I talked to all have custom race boots, 3+ pairs of race skis, and thousands of dollars worth of clothing and protective gear along with "play" equipment for skiing with friends. With the ever changing FIS regulations, they have to replace all their race skis almost every year. These are all high school kids and many had just come back from VT or other places up north and some even have traveled to Europe.: $$$

This leads me to the question of where to draw the line. Do you need different suits for SL and GS? What would I need to start with? My current equipment consists of Head iSupershapes and Tecnica Mags, both of which seem to be leaning towards the "play" category.

As for the actual skiing changes, about how long does it take to become competent in gates. I have only ever taken one NASTAR run and was very hesitant as I did not want to take a gate to the face or snag a tip. My time was 25.6. However, my instructor, who had raced, beat me by .8 seconds, and the local pacesetter beat me by about 3.8 seconds, which according to the instructor was respectable for a first run.

The local team is willing to allow you to chose your level of commitment. Do more competitive teams allow such freedom, or do they expect you to be training daily and attending many races?

Any insights into what I might expect would be helpful.

post #2 of 13
Racing at a high school level can be very expensive and time consuming. The high school racers on my team (I coach our youngest racers) are all on early release from school and train virtually every day they aren't racing. Equipment and fees are very expensive. Even our Y7 racers (5 & 6 year olds) have at least $2000 a season between team charges, USSA licenses race entries, gear, passes etc) If your local team will allow you to train with them without competing the first year maybe that's a good way to see if it's really something you want to do.
post #3 of 13
what COSkigirl is describing is really the extreme...

If I were you I would start in a more "rec" aimed program and went from there, don't try to skip steps either. Another thing is that a Nastar set is nothing like an actual USSA GS so there is quite a bit more in play here.

Don't worry too much about gear, go at a local swap get a pair of SL and GS ski and cheater plug boots (like the atomic CS) and giv'er a rip. Also don't worry about travelling all over the place your not at that level yet.

I'm thinking 2 years before you get comfortable with the line race technique.

Good Luck and most importantly HAVE FUN.
post #4 of 13
A few thoughts:

At 17 (at least if you've been 17 for longer than the last 22 days), you're a J1. I'm sure this varies a lot from region to region, and I have no familiarity with your region, but around here, J1s have been whittled down to a fairly serious group, with only a few exceptions, who at least have some years of race experience. TMAS29 is clearly a well-informed poster, so that's presumably not the case elsewhere.

As for teams: I'm sure the orientation of the various clubs varies a lot too. The one I'm most familiar with isn't oriented, beyond the J4 level, toward people who are casual about it. Training is two weeknights and Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While no one is there all the time (except coaches!) and they'll certainly allow you not to show up, it would be a bit of a mis-fit (not to mention a waste of money) for someone who doesn't, at the very least, train every Saturday and Sunday they're not racing. The typical expenses for equipment, travel etc. are, I think, in line with what COSkiGirl is talking about: higher, if anything. Sure, you don't have to do all that ... you don't even have to go to any races if you don't want, but then I sort of wonder what the point is.

A bigger and potentially happier thought:

USSA now lets people race Masters at age 18. That might well be a better way to go, though you'd have to wait until next season. If the field is anything like it is around here, you'll likely win prizes right off the bat (in your class, that is). There's a much broader (and generally lower) mix of abilities and "intensities" than in the real competitor ranks.
post #5 of 13
Junior or Senior in HS? Are you asking about a school team or a team at the hill where you ski?

You could just train with the team at the hill, in order to race you would have to join PARA & USSA.

At any rate, some racing is better than no racing, even if it is just training with the group .... not everyone that was in the program was on the "Travel Team" .... so it's not unique.

What will you be doing next year?
post #6 of 13
The race program I work with has fees for anyone 17 years of age of $4650 which doesn't cover travel expenses, gear or fees so that's where my point of reference came from. But, absolutely, if you can find a more casual team or club that is a much better way to get an idea of whether you're interested.
post #7 of 13
I assume you are thinking about skiing at Roundtop. They have a great program, with good coaches. Talk to the coaches about your concerns. Not everyone is a serious racer in PA, even at the J1/J2 races. If you are brand new to racing, you might want to get a little time in gates before you try a PA Cup slalom, though. There are open age class races that include J1's and J2's that are less intense. The schedule for races is at PaRacing.org. My experience is that even the most competitive teams have some people that are not that serious about it.

Another option for getting into racing without blowing a lot of money is to hook up with ASRA. They are a fairly low key group, and allow juniors to race. Some of them are serious with real race gear, but many race on upper end recreational skis. You should look into them soon, though, because they have a race at Roundtop on January 26.

Check them out at http://www.asra.org/indextwo.html

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am a junior would be looking at the Roundtop team. My plans for next year include many possibilities including art school for half high school for half day, college classes half or all day, or just highschool. So that is pretty much up in the air.
post #9 of 13
Do it! You will never know unless you try ..... and ..... running gates will put you well into the next level of skiing.

You can make decisions on gear and fancy junk later, some guards and sharp edges will get you though.

Racers are always getting rid of something for something better so there is used gear for sale as you advance.

Just remember not to judge yourself against others. Hard to do sometimes but do it for ... you ...
post #10 of 13

Hate to say it...

I love racing as much as anyone.

However, in your case, going into Sr. year never having raced before...

I vote you bag it. Concentrate on getting into school, your portfolio, and if you can snag some college credits, DO IT.

Getting beat by 4 seconds on a 21 second course does not bode well. Don't take this the wrong way. I am sure you can ski well but you will get smoked in competition by kids who have been in gates since they were 9.

For the time, $$, and standing around a lot freezing your butt off, I think you can make better use of your time.

Adult leagues will always be there in the future as will ASRA and Masters.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
My college application process will be fairly easy as my course load is pretty stacked. I have already taken more math than most people will until grad school so I will likely go into some field related to mathematics. The art classes are just something to do as even if I take every academic class offered at my high school that I have not taken, I will still not have a full schedule. The college classes that I can take at local colleges are not even fully transferable to the level of college that I am considering. As entertaining as art classes are, there is no way that I would go to school for it.

The skiing thing is not really a replacement for something else productive, the others are more or less a replacement for complete boredom.
post #12 of 13
I wouldn't sack the Idea but don't get carried away with it man, just have fun
post #13 of 13
If all you do is USSA J1 races, that could be pretty frustrating for a new racer. But between ASRA and the TROEGS friday night races, you have a lot of opportunities to get into some races where people wont care if you arent competitive.

And dont be too worried about being last in a race - I can tell you from personal experience that you can be last in a race and still have a great time.
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