Winter is just around the corner. While there are many fun activities to do indoors to avoid the cold, there are many fun ways to embrace the outdoors. Getting involved in a kids ski racing program at any age is an amazing way to really enjoy the snow, make new friends, teach discipline and learn a new sport. You can get involved no matter what your little skier's current ski level is. They can start as young as age 6 in a development program, which is an intro to ski racing. These early age programs are designed to teach them their fundamental skiing skills with drills focused on balance, agility and rotary skills. This will give them all the guidance they need to go into USSA racing. Once your little one is ready to age out, typically around age 10, and join a practice team, they can go onto a U12/U14 race program. This program can certainly be a commitment however it is a great way for your skier to work on physical conditioning and mental training as this is introduced as ways to improve their athletic and dynamic abilities. Plus while the kids are in training during the day, as parents, you can enjoy a wonderful day on the slopes as you watch them compete and work on training drills. They can continue in a USSA race program at your local mountain up until U21.
Starting them in this program does require an early weekend wake-up call as lessons typically start around 8:30am, the racers will be the first ones on the lift ready to start their day. Training mornings typically begin with a stretch and warm-ups which will teach them the importance of a routine and taking care of your muscles as you work hard during the day. Practices will normally go into the later afternoon around 3pm. Training activities will not only involve gates, they will also include fitness, video reviews, drills, and learning how to ski glades, backcountry, powder or any conditions of the mountain to prepare them for any weather. When it comes to the race day, racers are not required to sign up for the races. If your child is new to the ski program and still really working on their skills, they can sit that race day out and have a fun day of free skiing or cheering for their team. If they want to race, go ahead and sign them up! Races normally include both events, slalom and GS; they are able to learn how to adapt to a new mountain, a different event, and snow conditions.
Now that they are excited about ski racing and ready to take their skills to the next level, they will need the right gear. Luckily we have you covered! Check out Arctica, Helly Hansen, North Face and Hestra for all of your jacket, thermal, snowpants, and glove needs. To get more insight on how we like to outfit ski wear, please check out our musing post "How to Gear the Kids Up for Winter on the Mountain."
Now get out there and have fun!
Visit our Kids Ski Racing Chatroom HERE to comment, share ideas, parenting tips, etc..
Photo Credit: One of Mini Ruby's staffers racing when she was a girl.
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