Race Events

USSA & Tri-State Alpine Ski Race Association
The United States Ski and Snowboard Association is the governing body of ski racing in our country. Membership in this organization is a requirement to participate in the sport, for insurance and other reasons. U14 and younger racers should register as a “Youth Competitor”, while U16 and older should register as a “Competitor”. The online system will allow U14 racers to register as a “Competitor” (as this permitted out west), but do not do this.

You are also required to be a member of your regional organization, which for Butternut is called the Tri-State Alpine Ski Racing Association. Please make sure to register (or renew) each fall to be ready for the ski season. Tri-State’s allocation of post season roster spots is based on our enrollment population as of December 1 each year, so it is critical to register and pay your dues before that date. As coaches, we are required to verify your child’s memberships before we can enter them on a race roster, and every year, there are several athletes that fail to comply.

Interclub Race Entries
Interclub race rosters are submitted by the coaches prior to the event. The individual racers simply show up and pay for the event at the registration table. Please make sure to notify your coaches if you do not plan to attend a race, so that they can plan their day (and do not waste time looking for missing racers).
An Interclub race is a large affair (over 300 racers). It is run from young to old age categories. Despite running at the end, the older racers need to arrive early so that they have time to inspect the course with their coaches. Inspection is a skill learned by repetition and is an important skill to master. With proper inspection, a racer can ski faster, since they are ready for whatever the course throws in their direction (and are not simply reacting when something occurs).

U12, U14 & U16 Race Entries
These younger Tri- State racers are part of a season long roster submitted by the coaching staff prior to the first race. It is important to register for the races beforehand by submitting what is called a “race voucher”. The form is available for download from both the USSA and Tri-State websites. Below is an example of a completed form. A word of advice: fill out the form with your child’s standard information (name, age, address USSA number) and then make several copies. Then fill out the race specific information at the bottom. You must mail in this form along with a check for the race entry fee. The race schedule, entry fees and mailing address for the race secretaries are all listed on the Tri-State website. The best approach is to complete and mail all forms at one time, preferably in Mid-December. Having to remember to register for each race individually during the season is not worth the aggravation. Note that the race schedule is also posted on the website.

As mentioned above, the roster is set prior to the first race. Your child will have the same bib number for every race. The race is organized with the girls from each age group running first, followed by the boys (i.e. U12 girls run first, followed by U12 boys – U14 boys run last). Within each age category, the racers are divided into seeds A, B, C & D. The first race run of the season is run ABCD (which is actual bib order). Following that run, the second run shuffles, moving the A seed to the end (BCDA run order). The next run of the season is CDAB and so on. This is done to provide each racer an opportunity to start earlier in the race (and take advantage of better course conditions). So even if your child is D seed, they will have two opportunities during the season to go first within their age grouping. If you lose a ski on any run, you must leave the course (and not re-enter). At this level though, a racer can take their second run even if they do not complete their first run.

IMPORTANT CHANGE FOR 2012-2013: Due to the new age categories, Tri-State has revised the race structure. U16 racers now have their own race series and will race against all regions (including Eastern Massachusetts & Connecticut) in every race.

U18 & U21 Race Entries
The older Tri-State racers also utilize the USSA race entry vouchers to register for their races. These events are called “scored races” and utilize the USSA points system. Coaches do not register them or submit the roster for each event. The race organizer will set the race roster based on the points of each racer in the discipline. Every new U18 racer starts their career at 990 points and will run at the end of the race. Second runs at each event take the top 30 racers from the first run and run them in reverse order (#30 goes first and #1 goes last). Upon completion of the second run by the #1 racer, the rest of the field then runs from fastest to slowest. If you do not complete your first run, you do not get a second run (so hiking is encouraged!). If you lose a ski, your day is done.

Please note that if a race is very popular (like over Christmas when the college kids are home) you may not get into the event. Priority is given to racers with lower points and the event may fill up before your child is accepted. Not to fear, there are many race opportunities at this level.

USSA Race Entry Card
For each race you participate in you’ll need to complete a USSA race entry form and mail it to the hosting mountain’s race secretary along with a check for $40 dollars.

Here’s an example of a completed USSA Race Entry Card
Click image to enlarge

Parent’s Role on Competition Days

  • Support your athlete by providing them with appropriate ski equipment so that they have the maximum opportunity for success.
  • Make sure their equipment is properly tuned; course conditions on a race day can be very challenging.
    Have a good breakfast and put a snack in their pocket.
  • Arrive at the ski area in a timely fashion to register and meet with the coaches for inspection.
    Encourage the athlete to take responsibility for their equipment and clothing (make sure everything is properly labeled!)
  • Dress warmly. Athletes who are warm will perform better.
  • Send your child with their coach to inspect the course and warm up. They can ski with you (if they want to) after the race.
  • At Butternut, we encourage the best effort and best performance for each athlete. It is their overall effort, not the outcome that is most important.
  • During a race, parents should offer to help carry down clothing for all athletes, not just your own child.
  • Remember, there is only one winner in a ski race. Everybody else is further back in the results. Success is having fun, feeling good about your performance, doing your best and spending time with your friends and other ski racers.
  • Be positive, no matter the outcome. It is wonderful that your child want to participate in ski racing and that their skills are increasing with every event. Ask them how they think they skied, and try to see the experience through their eyes.

Post-Season Policy
Due to the success of the training program at Ski Butternut it is becoming more common that our athletes qualify for post season events within Tri-State and beyond. We need to enter each season with an understanding of what our program policies will be regarding the support of these events, especially if this will require extensive travel and other significant expenses.

Butternut is a developmental program and does not have full time coaching staff. Our coaches are well rounded people who do this job out of a love for skiing. They all work at other jobs during the week and may not be able to take time off from their regular jobs to accompany an athlete to a distant event.

For Tri-State U14 & U16 Championships, the events are held on a weekend and we usually have several athletes in attendance. For these races, Butternut is able to cover the cost of the coach (generally just one). If your child is fortunate enough to qualify for a subsequent higher level event (such as Eastern Regionals or Can-Am Championships) you definitely should attend. However, the cost to have a coach accompany your child is your expense (but can be split among several families if there are multiple athletes in attendance). In cases where it is not feasible for a coach to attend, we will make every effort to team your child with another coach from a Tri-State program. This has worked extremely well in the past and also promotes a bond with the other racers within our region that often lasts a lifetime. The ski racing community is very small (especially at the upper levels) and you will likely see the same faces year after year.