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U12 & U14 Program

The U14 & U12 program is a racing program for 10-13 year olds that continues to focus on building strong alpine fundamentals through drills and directed free skiing, while adding gate tactics and racing to the athletes’ skill development.  Athletes compete in USSA sanctioned slalom and giant slalom races in PARA’s Central Division.  

Participants do not need to have prior racing experience, but must be committed to improving their skiing skills and enjoy being part of a team.

All U16 and younger participants are asked to participate in 75% of the regular weekend practices.   The optional December Holiday Camp and weeknight practices are strongly encouraged but not required

Ages:  

  • 10-13 years old 
  • All new members 9 years old are enrolled in the Development Team until evaluated.

 Minimum Requirements:

  • All the Development Team requirements, plus:  
  • Must have advanced skiing skills:
  • Able to make linked, controlled, and dynamic C-shaped (i.e. small) parallel turns on expert terrain (e.g. Upper Ultra) demonstrating shin contact on the front of the boot, most of the turning motion coming from their feet, and the ability to control speed.
  • Must be also able to ski comfortably at speed on all terrain at Liberty Mountain.
  • Commitment to participate in 75% of the regular weekend practices  

Required Equipment:

  • Properly sized high-performance (4-buckle) junior boots; the skier must be able to flex them in cold temperatures (and easily at room temps)
  • For U12 athletes: 1 pair of multi-event (‘combi’) race skis are required (or properly sized GS and slalom skis; recreational skis are not sufficient)
  • For U14 athletes: 1 pair each of properly sized GS and slalom skis (minimum length of 130cm for SL skis; minimum turn radius of 17 meters for GS skis)    
  • Slalom pole guards are required (shin guards are encouraged)    
  • A helmet designed for ski racing (the hard shell must cover the ears). For U14 athletes: the helmet must adhere to the FIS RH 2013 certification standard and have the appropriate decal visible while wearing the helmet (i.e. no other stickers or goggle straps covering the decal), and should not have any attachments on the shell (e.g. action camera mounts);
  • Appropriate ski clothing

 Format:

  • Saturday and Sundays, 8AM-3PM from resort opening (usually the 2nd weekend in December) through the 2nd weekend in March.
  • Focuses on free skiing and strong fundamentals, while adding GS and slalom gate tactics and racing to the athletes’ skill development.    
  • Methodology includes free skiing drills, directed free skiing as a group, gate drills, AM gate training, video analysis, goal setting, and other group activities   
  • Training time is split roughly equally between gate training on various terrain and conditions, and drills and directed free skiing.      
  • Includes option of Tu/Th PM practice and December Holiday Camp, and participants are eligible for optional early-season camp
  • Sportsmanship and positive team dynamics are an important part this program

 Participation:

  • Ski racing is an inherently risky sport and regular practice is essential for success as well as to help reduce the risk of serious injury.       
  • Athletes are encouraged to participate in both Saturday and Sunday practice each weekend. 
  • Weeknight practice is not expected of younger athletes, but J4s are encouraged to try to participate at least occasionally.   

Recommended Races:

For U14 athletes:

  • LMRT GS USSA Race     
  • Whitetail GS USSA Race
  • Roundtop SL USSA Race
  • Tussey Mountain SL USSA Race
  • PARA U14/U16 Speed Camp at Blue Mountain (2nd year U14s; 1st year U14s by coaches' discretion)
  • Other Central Division Qualifiers events as recommended by coaches

For U12 athletes:

  • LMRT GS USSA Race     
  • Whitetail GS USSA Race
  • Roundtop SL USSA Race
  • Roundtop dual-GS USSA Race
  • Tussey Mountain USSA Race (by coaches' discretion)