Introduction to Racing

Welcome to the Ski Butternut Alpine Racing Program! Our program includes the following programs:

The ultimate purpose of all of these programs is to teach young athletes to become the best skiers possible and to foster a lifelong love of the sport. We focus on having them build their self confidence and practice good sportsmanship. We ensure that every child who has the desire to participate in ski racing is given that opportunity. We help the athlete develop a strong base of fundamental skills. All groups develop skills and participate in drills based on the age and developmental stage of the individual. We provide an opportunity to excel and to enjoy ski racing in a fun, safe and honest environment.

We encourage each athlete to reach his or her own potential. This is achieved through various learning stages and techniques. We offer high quality coaching and a clear path for skill development. The coaching staff will assess and build on the athlete’s current skill set and provide the individual attention needed to address each skier’s specific needs. As the athlete improves and grows, they will move onto more challenging terrain and higher speeds.

Our goal is to work on mastery of fundamental skiing skills which provide them with a foundation upon which they can attain success within the sport of ski racing. All groups will work on sound technical free skiing, including pole plants, one ski skiing, aspects of dynamic balance, carving drills, gate drills and race tactics. We teach the athletes to apply a wide variety of skills in varied weather and snow conditions and on a variety of terrain. Remember, a skier with good fundamental skills will be good racer! Skill development is based on repetition; therefore, consistent attendance is crucial to their success. This is especially true early in the season, when the most rapid improvement is seen. Keep in mind that at all levels, training time is the most important and is far more productive than race days, where there tends to be a significant amount of idle time. If you have to miss a day, miss a race, not training.

The Butternut alpine race programs follow the guidelines and philosophies set forth by U. S. Ski & Snowboard. U. S. Ski & Snowboard defines core competencies that address both physical and psychological factors, which in turn, address all aspects of athlete development. Skill development is a complex interaction between the athlete’s inherent physical and psychological abilities at a particular development stage and his or her opportunities to make the most of those abilities.

The entire Ski Butternut mountain operations staff has made a significant commitment to the alpine race programs by providing us with quality snow conditions and excellent training facilities. At times during the season, we are provided with early lift rides, closed trails and other training opportunities. We are thankful to have such a welcoming and supportive environment where we can spread the love of ski racing to the next generation of skiers.

Training Suggestions & Recommendations

  • Be on time for the start of the program each day. Once the group heads up the mountain, it is very difficult to connect with late arrivals.
  • A good breakfast will make your day more enjoyable.
  • Go the bathroom before you meet you group, as our training time is limited and valuable.
  • Dry your ski boots every night and wear high quality ski socks. It is hard to perform if your toes are frozen and painful.
  • All programs at Ski Butternut require a helmet. For Interclub & Tri-State, U. S. Ski & Snowboard mandates that this is a hard-ear model. Soft flaps are not acceptable (nor are helmet mounted cameras).
  • Always have your Butternut season pass. Skiing with your coach and group does not alleviate this requirement!
  • Dress warmly and appropriate for the weather. Again, you cannot learn or perform if you are uncomfortable. Use hand warmers if necessary.
  • Label all your clothing and equipment with a permanent marker. This is especially important for race days, when all the black ski pants look the same.
  • Phone, iPods and MP3 players are not allowed during training. You are there to listen to your coaches, not the latest hits.
  • Do not ski or ride the lifts with your suspenders hanging down, this is unsafe.

Members of the alpine race programs are ambassadors for the mountain. You are to be courteous and well behaved at all times (and especially when in your groups).

  • When gathering at your meeting places, stay out of the way of the general public.
  • Do not throw snowballs or sword fight with ski poles.
  • When navigating the lift lines, you are not to cut the line without your coach present. When doing so, organize yourselves into proper groups and merge in an organized manner.
  • Be inclusive of all members of your team (and especially to any newer members); we all want to enjoy our time at the mountain.
  • Members of the race teams tend to ski much faster than the general public. Be courteous on the mountain and respectful of slow skiing zones. This is especially true when skiing in a large group. Do not all go at once and overcrowd the trail. Spread out and focus on the particular drill being practiced.

In addition to safety equipment such as a helmet and goggles, all athletes should have high quality modern ski equipment. This is important to your development as a ski racer. Interclub and Development team racers can get by with a single pair of skis, but Tri-State racers will need multiple pairs for the different events. We are aware that this is an expensive sport. There are numerous resources (through the Butternut Ski Club and the Butternut Ski Shop) to try to obtain deals on both new and used equipment. Talk to your coaches about your athlete’s specific needs. Keep in mind that almost all new skis are excellent and the specific brand is not really important. More important is that the skis are appropriately sized for your rapidly improving (and growing) child.

As a racer, the skis will generally be much longer than that normally recommended to you at your local ski shop. A U18 racer is required to use skis of a minimum length, and you need to maintain your child on a progression along that path. A common approach is to alternate with new GS skis one year and SL the next so that you do not have to buy two new pairs in a given year.

Do not forget poles as well. Given your child’s rate of growth, it is unusual for poles to last more than a year. Fortunately, they are one of the cheapest components of the gear. Tri-State racers will need multiple poles as well, with hand guards for slalom events.

NOTE: Chin guards are not required for slalom events and are prohibited from giant slalom races.

Your child’s ski equipment is the tool they need to be successful in the sport. Properly tuned skis are very important for your athlete to maximize his/her training time and skill development. You are investing a lot of time and money into the sport; please make sure that your child’s equipment is in the best shape possible. We recommend tuning at least every other week and certainly on the night before a race.

The Butternut Race Club organizes events during the year to teach you (and your athlete) the basics of ski tuning. It is not difficult, and the tools are readily available. Long term, the only cost effective approach will be to learn to do it yourself. If done consistently, the skis will stay in better shape and it will take little time to keep them properly tuned.

For those needing to have tuning performed, the on mountain tuning shop (in the rental building) does a fine job.