Originally Posted by rosalita
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.