Well, it’s the big day tomorrow. I’m sure you are all busy getting your ski gear out and ready and generally getting super excited. What could be more fun than to add to the last minute scramble than a little sage advice. Thanks to all of you who sent in your great thoughts. We’ll sharing more as the season progresses especially as we approach race days. Below you will find a fun list of FAQ answers and lessons learned from the well seasoned race families out there:
- TIMING – Training starts at 9. Please plan to have your athlete at the SPAC shack (see photo above) just under Kehr’s Chair (former Big Chief Chair) at 8:45. Morning session runs from 9-11 and Afternoon session from 12-2 for Mighty Mites and 12-3 for Juniors (U14s have the option to train until 3 with the Juniors). (Mighty Might = U-8 to U-14; Juniors = U-16+; U=”under”). Lunch is from 11-12 (see below).
- PARKING – It is best to park in the lot closest to Pacific Crest Lodge on the south side of HWY 2 (second parking entrance on the right when coming from Seattle). There is paid parking closest to the lodge, or free parking in the two lots below the RV lot. Parking is first come first serve, so get there with plenty of time for a good spot.
- LODGE AND GETTING READY – SPAC gathers, gets ready and typically eats lunch on the second floor of the Pacific Crest Lodge. It may be a little chaotic in the mornings before training, but never fear – simply smile and say hello – SPACers are notoriously friendly.
- CLOTHING AND GEAR – New athletes do not need SPAC (uniform) Jackets. Those are ordered in the spring. If you are a returning family who has an extra jacket you’d like to sell, I’m sure there will be many takers. Younger athletes do not need race specific gear. This was discussed in a previous post, so I won’t go into it here. Feel free to talk to your coach about what is needed if you are uncertain. Helmets are required for all athletes. Once the season gets going, you will be notified via smartsheet as to which discipline athletes will be training on a given day. This will allow older athletes to come to the mountain with just one set of skis. Most athletes train in ski pants and jacket. Some older athletes choose to train in their speed suit. Full side zip pants are critical for racers that plan to wear speed suits. See sage advice below for ideas on how to keep your athlete warm and dry.
- LUNCH – Lunch occurs from 11-12. Parents should meet younger and first time SPACers at the Shack at 11. Most families brown bag it on the second floor of the Pacific Crest Lodge. Table space can be tight so get there early, and plan to share tables with other families. We also share that lodge with several ski schools including Lyon Ski School and Olympic Ski School as well as with the Skykomish Ski Team. It’s a great community – so just jump in and say hi.
- AFTER TRAINING – training ends at 2pm for Mighty Mites. Parents should meet younger athletes and new SPACers at the shack at 2. This is also a great time to check in with your athlete’s coach and ask any questions you have. Coaches will stick around at the shack for 15 minutes or so after they bring kids back to answer questions.
- MISSED PRACTICES. We understand that occasionally you may need to miss a practice. Athletes can make up missed practices on training days that they weren’t otherwise scheduled to come. Please be sure to indicate on Smartsheet when your athlete will miss a typical day, and when they will attend an atypical day. See “HOW SMARTSHEET IS CRITICAL TO YOUR ATHLETE’S SUCCESS,” for more info on how and why to sign up for smartsheet.
- CHRISTMAS CAMP DATES. Christmas Camp runs from 12/26-12/31. There are no regular trainings during Christmas Camp. Christmas Camp is optional. Athletes should have signed up for Christmas Camp during registration. If you are still interested in camp, please contact Dave.
- RACES + VOLUNTEERING – The first SPAC sponsored race is the Junior level night slalom on 12/28. We still need volunteers for that race. Intro and new families are encouraged to volunteer as a way to learn more about racing and to meet more of the community members. See “VOLUNTEER SIGN-UPS NOW OPEN!” for more information on how to sign up for Volunteering. The race schedule kicks into high gear starting in January. See the Club Calendar post for dates and locations of races. More information will be posted regarding races and race protocol as those dates approach.
and now for the fun and helpful advice from some of our most experienced families.
- Use the bathroom before you head out for a race. Those speed suits are hard to get out of when you are in a hurry.
- My second suggestion is to label your gear!
- Don’t prep your kids skis differently for a race than you do for training. If they are on freshly waxed skis for the first time on race day they will struggle. Wax and sharpen the edges for training so they are used to skiing on tuned skis.
- Ski racing is a lot like going to the airport, a great deal of hurry up and wait.
- Always have hand and toe warmers packed for each kid (and parent that grumbles about being cold frequently) for each morning and afternoon.
- Toe warmers go on the outside of socks, on top of toes, then slide into boots
- Mittens seem to keep hands warmer than gloves. Fancy ski race gloves are ok for race day or big kids that tolerate cold hands better.
- Invest in some stuff for cold days and carry around just in case, for the whole family, Heavier fleece Balaclava for coldest days, beanie caps for under helmet, light polyester type balaclava for anytime things seem cold, fleece neck gators for colder days that don’t require the fleece balaclava and polyester type neck gators for all the time. Have lots of neck gators and baklava, as they attract a great deal of gross snot and bad breath condensation.
- Ski race suits (speed suits) are expensive and a nice ‘pre owned’ suit can be easily bought off another family whose child has outgrown a suit. Except for juniors that seem to shred the suits at the boots on gates.
- The coolest race family parents volunteer at the races… The coolest volunteers are gate judges because they are so studly and get the best view of the race! (eh hem – in an attempt at maintaining full disclosure this opinion was submitted by the head gate judge – but I would have to say I completely agree)
- Always have 2 pairs of gloves and 2 inner layers of clothing. On rainy days wear one in the morning, the other one in the afternoon.
A quick reminder to all that there is a new parent meeting on 12/19 (and a smaller one on 12/20) where you can ask more questions and meet the coaches. Hope to see you there. Any pertinent information shared during those meetings will be passed along via email or post for those that are unable to attend.
Looking forward to seeing you all up at the hill.