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How serious is USCSA for a sport club?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

 I just started a ski club at my college in Maryland and I was looking into intercollegiate competition for us since our school requires us to compete if we want to receive any funding. I was looking at USCSA, but that looks really serious. Do sport clubs usually go to the races decked out in padded suits and multiple pairs of skis for the different races? And would a decent skier who skis about 10 times a season embarrass himself by trying to compete?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 12

Having had a USSA/FIS racer, our opinion of USCSA is like gymnasts think of cheerleaders.  Wannabes, but they spend too much time drinking and partying and can't run a serious race.

 

Of course, a NorAM racer thinks of NCAA racers (the "serious" college ski racing federation) as wannabes as well.  They've (most of them) given up or postponed college to pursue World Cup dreams, after all.

 

And yes, competitors of almost any persuasion soon are decked out in speed suits and different skis for different races, whether they are the Wednesday night race league or NASTAR.  I remember when my daughter started racing and I showed up for the first race and these 11 year old kids were in speed suits.  At that age, it's unlikely that the CLOTHES will help them win a race, but acceptance is important to kids, so you buy the suit.  You can start out in regular clothes as a club, but when you show up to compete against another team and they are all in speed suits, I bet your team starts buying speed suits.

 

The embarassment factor for someone who only skis 10 days a year will depend on who you are competing against and how often they ski.  I wouldn't assume that just because you're about to compete against a team from South Carolina that they don't have some people who grew up in Colorado.  You have to decide if that will make you embarassed or not.  You can choose to be embarassed or choose to have fun anyway.  You need to decide if the competition is just to have fun or it's real.  The USCSA races I've been to look like their emphasis is on fun.  That may vary by region.

post #3 of 12

I just got back from the USCSA regionals where you would be competing.  I'm in the Allegheny conference, but I'm guessing you would be in the Southern conference? As far as your concerns go, it really depends on the school.  Some schools take it really seriously and practice a few times a week.  Others don't practice at all. 

 

I would guess that most of the men (at least on the A team) have some experience racing in high school.  A lot of people have speed suits, but there's also some people that don't.  The women's racing is much less competitive.  At least half of us have never raced before.  I went into it having never raced.  I realize I'm not very good at it, but it's definitely fun to try the courses.

 

I would say to go for it.  Most of the people on our team do it to get a chance to go skiing relatively cheaply on the weekends.  The few people that are there for the races take it seriously and do well, but the rest of us just go to have fun. 

post #4 of 12

I would consult the University of Wisconsin Ski Club, I don't know all the details, but they seem to have a simulator situation. Team has Race, Nordic & Freestyle. The club allows all skill levels, from beginner to seasoned veterans. I'm sure they can answer any questions you may have.

 

General UW Club site:

http://www.hoofers.org/

 

Ski & Snowboard site:

http://hoofers.org/sns/teams.php

post #5 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rosalita View Post

 

I just got back from the USCSA regionals where you would be competing.  I'm in the Allegheny conference, but I'm guessing you would be in the Southern conference? As far as your concerns go, it really depends on the school.  Some schools take it really seriously and practice a few times a week.  Others don't practice at all. 

 

I would guess that most of the men (at least on the A team) have some experience racing in high school.  A lot of people have speed suits, but there's also some people that don't.  The women's racing is much less competitive.  At least half of us have never raced before.  I went into it having never raced.  I realize I'm not very good at it, but it's definitely fun to try the courses.

 

I would say to go for it.  Most of the people on our team do it to get a chance to go skiing relatively cheaply on the weekends.  The few people that are there for the races take it seriously and do well, but the rest of us just go to have fun. 


I'm also a racer in the acsc which is where your school probably will end up if I'm reading the map right.

 

There's definately a wide range of skill in the league, from really good to the occasional snowplower (in the women's races anyway).  Skill wise, you should be able to comfortably and agressively ski a black at an eastern resort to get down a course semi-competently (keep in mind they are always icy and/or very rutted). You don't need to have skiied alot (I never skied more than 6 days in a year before college), but you should be very comfortable in skiing in adverse conditions.  Without experience you won't compete in your first couple years, but my team made regionals in only I think our 4th year this season, and only two guys on our A team had any prior racing experience.

 

It does take some dedication and investment though, its a lot of time and things like race skis make a huge difference, but you'll hardly be the only ones racing on all-mountains or worse.

 

For all the time and money investment though, it is a lot of fun.  The atmosphere is good and the people are friendly.  I'd try and find at least someone with some race experience to guide you on the little details, (tuning, procedure, basic strategy/technique, etc.)  basically all the little things most people take for granted.  Regardless, I agree, go for it.  See what you can get from your school moneywise, talk to the league, do up a tentative budget and see what interest you get.

 

post #6 of 12

I raced USCSA at Michigan Tech.  Like others have said, its totally up to you how serious you take it.  We had some great racers (top 10s at nationals) and a whole bunch like myself who were in it for the parties and comraderie.  I'm sure there are a few folks around your school who raced in high school who are chomping at the bit to get into the gates again.

post #7 of 12

I've been involved with ski race organization for over 20 years and the most fun event I've ever been a part of was the USCSA national championships. Go for it and don't forget to have fun with it.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtp3xp View Post

 

 I just started a ski club at my college in Maryland and I was looking into intercollegiate competition for us since our school requires us to compete if we want to receive any funding. I was looking at USCSA, but that looks really serious. Do sport clubs usually go to the races decked out in padded suits and multiple pairs of skis for the different races? And would a decent skier who skis about 10 times a season embarrass himself by trying to compete?

 

Thanks

I had my first experience with the USCSA as a ski patroller doing a race sit at Hunter Mtn. Some of the racers seemed OK, some had race suits on, but left thier jackets on because it was cold, some of them were downright intermediate at best. Nobody was really good. I thought this was like the "F" team competition, but looking at the other posts, I realize it must have been the "A" team.
 

 

post #9 of 12

I don't know about the division you'll be competing in, but some USCSA racers/races are decently competitive. The MacConnell division in the Eastern (NE) conference have penalties right around 40 for all of their races, and the Thompson division (also in NE) had penalties around 80 (both for men). Regionals saw penalties of 35-40 for men (slightly higher for women). While this isn't horribly good, no, the idea that all USCSA racers are bad isn't really true.

 

Obviously, the racers are not as good as top-flight NCAA racers ... but not all D1 schools field phenomenal alpine rosters either - SMC and Harvard fielded male racers w/ 100+ FIS points this entire carnival season.

 

However, one thing that all USCSA races do have in common is a high level of fun. As people have said, how serious competitors take the races varies a lot, but everyone is really there to enjoy themselves. Anyone who has ever raced before will almost assuredly be looking for some reason to get back into gates, and this will almost assuredly be in a more relaxed, more enjoyable environment. Nobody will be embarrassed to compete, there is usually a wide spectrum of skill levels represented.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the details everyone, I have another question. I know there are minimum ski lengths for the different races in FIS rules, but do they enforce those rules at the USCSA races we would be in? 

post #11 of 12

They only enforce the minimum length and radius rules for the competitive skiers- if you're not finishing in the top 20, no one will care.

post #12 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtp3xp View Post

 

Thanks for the details everyone, I have another question. I know there are minimum ski lengths for the different races in FIS rules, but do they enforce those rules at the USCSA races we would be in? 

 

the acsc officially does not enforce FIS ski lengths/radii (I don't know about the other conferences).  the uscsa does in regionals and higher, but a coach needs to challenge, so if your not at the top of regionals it doesn't make a difference.

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