Schedule Updates and Info

Hi Everyone, the first weekend at the Skiway is always interesting and this past weekend did not disappoint. We had snowmaking mounds, cold temps, and almost zero visibility for the first part of Sunday. This actually made for a great training environment and allowed us to work on balance, stance, looking ahead, and speed control. Fun stuff. I would also like to point out that not a single airhead was consumed, because they are gone!

Here are some important updates, long email but please read. (note the blog is not working for me so I am sticking with email for now).

Schedule with changes – we will ski this Saturday and then take Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off and then ski five days straight from Wednesday thru Sunday. This is a change from the original plan and I am sorry for the inconvenience. The U10 google calendar is up to date and reflects this change.

Training Day Routine – Now that we are up and running we want to get into our regular training day routine. Please plan to arrive around 8:30-8:35am, so that you have time to pick up a ticket and get your child settled in the lodge. Arriving early allows kids to get ready in a low pressure environment, socialize with their friends, and put all their gear on at their own pace. The U10 team will always meet outside in front of the lodge (near the outside ticket window) ready to ski at 9am ending at 1:00pm. We head to the lift at 9am sharp so if for some reason you run late please wait at the bottom of the lift until one of the groups comes around from their first run. Please do not send your child up the lift alone to try and catch us. This gets tricky when both lifts are open so best to just not be late.

Attendance – Time on snow and mileage is the single most important factor in improving at this age. However, skiing is an individual sport and we encourage the kids to attend as many days as they want or don’t want, but hope they will always be excited to attend training. We meet come rain, shine, cold, or snow and we will not cancel training, unless the Skiway is closed. If there is inclement weather you can use your own judgment as to whether to attend or not.

Groups – Now that the season has started our goal is to establish groups based on a combination of age, aggressiveness, speed of travel, and social dynamics. While your kids may not have the same coach everyday they will have the same group of coaches throughout the winter. We will try to keep our group size to around 6 kids per coach.

U10 Philosophy – Our coaching philosophy is to have fun, ski a ton, and create an environment that encourages learning, improvement, and independence. Having fun can only occur when we work together as a team to be safe, respectful, and listen to the coaches. We had a team meeting on Sunday where we discussed what it means to be a team and we will continue to restate these principles throughout the year. From a technical ski development standpoint we follow the USSA Training System for phase 2 athletes. I have attached a summary of this system if you are interested in checking it out. Note that the majority if our time will be coached free skiing with only 10% in gates and another 10% in competition. This is very important from a skill development standpoint but also to ensure our young athletes do not get bored with the sport.

Clothing and Equipment – being warm and dry is essential if we want to have fun while skiing. Please be sure your child’s helmet fits properly and that goggles fit the helmet (no gap between the top of goggle and helmet), a warm jacket, ski pants, gloves or mittens, neck warmer, and appropriate layers for the conditions are critical. It is also important to make sure boots and socks start the day warm and dry, and it is important to dry out ski boots each night. This best way to dry a boot is to either invest in a boot dryer or remove the liner and place near a heat source for the night. Today’s boots are designed to work best with one thin pair of polypro or wool socks , and kids should have at least one pair of socks that are just for skiing (preferably two pair with one for Saturday and one for Sunday). IMPORTANT – Be sure to have your kids wait and put their ski socks on when they are putting their ski boots on for the day. Wearing ski socks to the mountain in shoes or snow boots will lead to cold feet and unhappy skiers. Skis should be tuned on a regular bases to get them reasonably sharp. More on tuning to come.

Holiday Camp – Starting this Saturday we will ski 6 days over an 9 day period. This is a lot of skiing and the kids will make huge progress and begin to gel as a team. I look forward to this week every year but understand that not everyone can attend due to other commitments. Come as much as you but don’t worry if you can’t make all the days.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. See you on the snow.


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Dryland and Race Registration

Hi all, we will be having our first dryland session at the Richmond Middle School this Sunday 1-3pm.  Plan is to hike over to Storrs Pond and back and then play games on the soccer field at the school.  Primary goal is to begin to get to know the kids and for them to get to know the coaches.

Looking ahead I wanted to share a few details on racing and the race registration process.  All athletes who intend to compete in USSA sanctioned races need to get a USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) membership to be able to participate.  Go to and click on membership to get started.  The membership category you want is U10 competitor.  USSA is the governing body for ski racing in the US and provides resources for coaches, clubs, and athletes as well as blanket insurance for youth racing.

A list of the races we plan to attend is below.  While USSA is the national governing body for ski racing NHARA, New Hampshire Alpine Racing Association, is the governing body for all NH races and information on how to register can be found on their website at  I believe we will again have an online registration option for many races but the website is new and things have changed a bit.  You can do it the old fashioned way by mailing a race entry form to the race secretary of the applicable race (I will email these forms to everyone).  It is not super intuitive on the website so be patient and read the instructions closely and let me know if you get stuck.

Race schedule:

  1. U10 Kombi at Sunapee on Jan 27.  USSA race. Signup via NHARA. I recommend sending in registration soon as it filled up last year.
  2. Suicide 6 Masters of the Mountain (Date TBD) – Non USSA race.  No advance registration I will send in team roster.
  3. Whaleback Masters of the Mountain Race (Date TBD) – Non USSA race.  No advance registration I will send team roster.
  4. Cote Open March 17th at Ragged Mt – USSA Race. Registration via NHARA website
  5. T-Shirt Race March 24th at Sunapee – USSA Race.  Registration via NHARA website

In addition we are planning on hosting an additional USSA event at the Skiway and  I will post that date as soon as we nail it down.  For all of you who are new to this and have questions please feel free to send me an email at or ask any of the coaches at dryland this weekend.

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Weekend Plans, Feb Break, and Whaleback Details

Wow! Let it Snow!  With the past couple snow falls the skiing should be AWESOME this weekend and into February break as well.  After a couple weekends of gate training we are going to go back to working on skiing fundamentals of balance and stance, which means we will be ripping it up in the woods, steeps, jumps and bumps this weekend.  Woohoo.

For break we will have training Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 9am -1 pm.  Current plan is to be at the Skiway Monday and Tuesday with a good possibility of a Big Mt Day at Jay Peak on Wednesday with the U12 and U14 teams.  More details on this to come.  While we be very light on coaches over break we have great snow conditions so I am happy that we will be able to provide a couple days of fun guided free skiing.

Looking ahead to next weekend Whaleback Mountain Club will be hosting its’ annual Master of the Mountain Event on Saturday February 25th at Whaleback.  As in the past – this event will include one GS run and one slopestyle run. Online registration for the event is open.  They have asked that all athletes be registered by Wednesday 2/23.  To register please go to: – on the right hand side of the screen you will see a red button that says MOM-2017 – just click on that.  Cost is $25 per athlete.



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Weekend Plans

Hi All, looking pretty snowy out there!  As many of you know the Dartmouth winter carnival is this weekend with the GS on Friday and the SL on Thomas Saturday.  Lodge and parking lot will be crowded so plan ahead.  We will be at the Skiway both days and plan to free ski in the fresh snow on Saturday and watch some of the SL race as these are the top collegiate racers in North America and its pretty cool to be able to get up close and watch them ski.  On Sunday we are going to start working on our own SL skiing with a stubby course and a dual panel SL.

Speaking of SL races coach Bob found a stubby SL at Pico VT on Feb 26th (1 foot high SL gates in case you were wondering).  This is the day after the Whaleback masters of the Mountain event which I hope all U10’s will attend.  Since the Pico race is in VT it is out of our NHARA division and we need permission from race organizers to attend.  Currently we are scheduled for a total of five race starts which is right where we should be a the U10 level but if your child is a 2nd year U10 and is just dying to go to another SL race please let me know and we can try to get them in.

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Plans for Feb 4th and 5th

I hope everyone enjoyed this past weekend.  With the race on Saturday and the big mt day at Burke on Sunday we were able to do a little bit of everything which was great.  I was very impressed with how well everyone did at the Sunapee race.  It was a tough course with challenging snow conditions but everyone pushed hard and skied to their potential.  It was also good reminder as to why we keep race starts fairly low at this age.

Looking ahead to this weekend we will return home to the Skiway both days.  The Skiway is hosting a boys U16 GS on Saturday and a College Club Team race on Sunday so the lodge and parking lot will be busy early so it is best to give yourself a little extra time.

Coaching staff for this weekend is Carly, Brian, Bob, and Geoff.  I will see everyone next weekend.  Have fun and ski fast!

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Sunapee Update

Just got a few new details from Sunapee

  1. Hard Ear Helmets required.  I think everyone has one but if not you will not be able to race.  I have one extra hard ear helmet if someone is in a bind.
  2. First run starts at 10am.
  3. Registration is open from 7:30-8:30am
  4. 8:30 am – meet coaches in front of the lodge ready to ski.
  5. 2nd run will be on the same course with no reset.
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Weekend Plans and Options

Congratulations to everyone who raced at Loon yesterday.  We had lots of fast runs, a couple missed gates, and a few crashes…welcome to ski racing.  I was so pleased with everyone’s effort and I hope they enjoyed themselves.  Just a heads up sometimes the Valley News runs short stories on local youth sporting events that run in the sports section of the Thursday edition.

We now look to go back to back with our second race of the season this Saturday January 28 when we actually have two options described below.

Option 1. Mt Sunapee U10 Kombi –   this is a USSA U10 only race and is always well done and I would encourage everyone to attend.  Its not too late to register if you have not already.  We will meet in front of the Spruce lodge (the older lodge) on snow ready to ski at 8:15am.  Bib pick up is either upstairs in the Spruce Lodge or in the little gray building next to the triple lift.  Otherwise same drill as this past weekend at Loon.

Option 2. Suicide 6 Masters of the Mountain – unfortunately this super fun event conflicts with the Sunapee race and we will not staff it with any U10 coaches.  However the DEVO team is going so if your child is not a USSA member or if you have a DEVO athlete and can’t be in two places at the same time your U10 skier is welcome to attend this race and can hope in with the DEVO crew.  You will need to register by the end of the day tomorrow.  I have included the event summary and registration link below.

Event Schedule for Suicide 6:

  • 7:45 am Registration opens
  • 8:45 Lifts open by for Course inspections
  • 10:00  Competition Begins
    • We run both courses at the same time… We will split the field up and run the younger half of the field on the race course and start the older athletes on the Slope Style event…
  • Awards Approx 1 Hr after competition ends
    • Awards will be given to the top 3 finishers in each age Category
  • 4:00 – 6ish   Ski area is hosting sledding party with music in the lodge / bar area

Registration Link for Masters of the Mountain:

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Details for Loon GS

Sunday January 22, 2017

First off our goal for this weekend is to have fun!  This is a great opportunity for the kids to experience a different mountain and a participate in a what is always a well run race.  As parents our job on race days is to stay relaxed and focus on the experience and not the result.  So avoid major pep talks on line and tactics during the ride over and just encourage your child to have fun and ski fast!  Most importantly arrive earlier than you think to give yourself plenty of time to get ready and relax.  Ski racing is the ultimate hurry up and wait sport.

DETAILS: You are responsible for getting your child to and from the race and for picking up their bib at registration.  Coaches will take the kids up for course inspection and will get them to the start (no parent helpers please).  Coaches will remain at the start until all our racers have gone and then will bring coats and pants down if kids stripped to GS suits.  U10 Girls go first followed by U10 boys.  After your child completes their run encourage them to stay near the finish and cheer on their teammates.  Once the U10’s are done we will grab some quick food and head out for a couple free runs and then head up for course inspection and the start of the 2nd run.  After the 2nd run we will grab food and then free ski a bit, however you are welcome to leave anytime after the 2nd run.

If your child plans on racing in a GS suit please write your name inside coat and pants and on skis and poles if you have not done so already.  Looks like it will be warmish but they should still start out with coat and pants over their suit.  No GS suit? no problem, it is really just for looks at this age.

Registration/Bib Pickup: 7:30am – 8:30am in the Phillip T Gravnick Competition Center. Racers will be required to show to show a valid USSA Competitors  Membership Card.

Race Course: Upper Rumrunner/Coolidge Street


8:15am Meet coaches on snow ready to ski in front of Gov. Adams Lodge

8:35-9:10am Course Inspection with coaches

9:30am First Woman Racer

Inspection time and start time for second run to be announced prior to the conclusion of the second run. Second run start order: Reverse order within class (this may change)

Awards: Awards for top 5 girls and boys of each class. U10, U12, and U14. Ceremony begins 30 minutes after the conclusion of the race.

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Race Day 101

The kids really looked good the past two weekends in training and I am sure everyone is fired up about our first race at Loon this.  Before I share the details for this weekends races I wanted to share the following Race Day summary that Mark Schiffman put together a few years ago.  Please take five minutes to read as it is full of very useful information and advice.

A Test Against the Clock

By the numbers the time actually spent racing is less than 2/10ths of 1% of the time spent skiing and training, yet is one of the most memorable parts of the season. The focus of the Ford Sayre Program is on having fun and developing skiing fundamentals. Races are great learning tool as they provide challenges, opportunities to test oneself, and encouragement to improve.

Getting There

Parents (or someone designated by the parent) are responsible for transportation to the ski area and back home after the awards at the end of the day. Plan on arriving by 8 a.m. for a 10am start and 7:30am for 9:30 start. When in doubt, get there a little earlier. It will save some stress all around.


When you arrive at the ski area you will need to pick up your racers bib at registration (ask a coach or a parent whose kid has a bib if you cant find it). Always bring a copy of your USSA (print off from website) to pick up the race bib.

Meet the Coaches

Racers should next meet their coaches at the appointed time (usually 8, or 8:30) for warm-up and course inspection.  Coaches will be responsible for supervision of the racers during course inspections and until completion of the racer’s run. Though depending on the start time we may encourage racers to take some free runs on their own. Coaches will be at the start, and when possible along the course and at the finish.

Two Race Runs

Typically, there will be one race run in the morning and one in the afternoon. In most cases the course will be reset between runs. Once the racer has finished his or her first race run the parent (or designee) is responsible for the racer until course inspection for the second run. Grab a snack or lunch, then find some friends, go ski and explore the mountain. The second run starts roughly an hour after the last racer completes the first run, usually at 12:30 or 1 p.m.  We will try to get on the lift for inspection at least 45 minutes before the start of the second run.  This means parents will have to make sure kids eat lunch soon after their first run, and keep an eye on them during this time. A smart, simple rule is to never take the race bib off from around your neck. That way it can’t get left on a table or in the bathroom.

Relax and Ski

For coaches, the focus on race day is mostly on getting the racers to relax and transfer the skills they have practiced day-after-day to a more challenging arena. Almost all kids are nervous on race days. They turn to parents for encouragement and support. Be positive, and try to emphasize the effort, not the outcome.  By seeing you demonstrate a positive, low anxiety, relaxed approach to ski racing, your child will be encouraged to keep learning and improving. Even though well intentioned, there is nothing more counter-productive than having parents coach their child during a race.  It is a sure way to distract the racer, and make him or her more nervous than they already are.  A simple “good luck, go fast and have fun,” proves to be the most effective approach.

Keeping track of clothing and equipment

If you have not yet written your name on ALL of your child’s equipment and clothing, DO IT NOW! It is really easy to grab the wrong skis at a race. If your skis have your name written in large letters close to the tip, this will cut down on the likelihood of mistakes.

Most racers will shed clothing at the start of a race for aerodynamic or at least psychological advantage. First, it’s important that kids don’t do this until just before the start. Staying warm is more important than aerodynamics when it comes to performance. Whenever possible coaches or parents will take these coats and warm-ups down to the finish or into the lodge. To make sure your child finishes the day with everything she started with, follow these simple rules. 1) Write your child’s name, phone number and Ford Sayre on everything. 2) Tell your child to make sure he/she puts anything he/ she takes off in the team bag, or hands it to a coach. 3) Make sure your racer claims all of his/her clothes promptly once the bag or gear comes down.

End of the Day

At the completion of the second run, the parent is again responsible for the child. Turn in race bib(s) and get back USSA or bib deposit. This is a great time to go take a few runs and explore the ski area before the awards, which are typically held one (1) hour after the conclusion of the race. We encourage everyone to attend the awards ceremonies, to show good sportsmanship, as well as support for the team and event organizers.

When it comes to racing, the coaches emphasize that you can control your effort, but not the results. In most ski races at least 95% of all participants at a race do not win, but by giving their all, every race becomes an accomplishment. After a run coaches ask the skiers how they skied, not what their time or place was. However understanding that most of the time they will not win the race is one of the most important lessons of ski racing for kids to learn. To be successful kids rely on their parents to let them know the world is still okay if they don’t reach their goals for a specific day, and on their coaches to remind them that that every race is a new opportunity to succeed.

Congratulate Your Racer

No matter what happened, no matter the result, the coaches always see something that each child has accomplished that day, don’t forget to let your child know all the good things that you saw. Even if they don’t acknowledge it, they’ll appreciate it . . . greatly!

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Race Schedule Update

Hi All, we have decided to make a change to our race schedule for this season.  We had originally suggested an optional race on 1/15 at Gunstock but for a number of reason we are not going to go to that race (the U12/14 team is not going either).  We are instead going to go to Loon on 1/22 for an open GS race.  Its a good hill and closer than Gunstock and should be fun.  This race is still optional (as are all races) but I would encourage all 2nd year U10’s to go and anyone else who is excited about attending a “real” race.  So if you signed up for Gunstock on the 15th you can notify the race administrator that you want to pull your child from the race and they will refund your registration.

If your child does not want to race or you have a conflict with an older child racing at the Skinner Cup at Sunapee on the 22nd don’t worry about not going.  All of these changes are reflected on the U10 Calendar.  Below is a summary of the USSA races we plan to attend and that you should sign up for.  Please let me know your plans for Loon.

1/22 – GS at Loon

1/28 – U10 Kombi at Sunapee

3/19 – Cote Open at Ragged

3/25 – T-shirt race at Sunapee

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