Training Starts This Weekend

Hello Fabulous SPAC community –

So great to see some of you out this weekend at the parent meeting. My apologies for the mix up with the address on the website. Lots of great conversation and questions came up. I will do my best to recap the information below. But first ….

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. If you haven’t filled out a waiver yet for your athlete please do so before you come to training this weekend! You can download the waiver here print it and fill it out and either email it to our bookkeeper or mail it in as described in the letter before the form.
Below you will find a fun list of FAQ answers for this weekend scroll to the bottom for a some fun sage advice from our well seasoned race families out there:

QUESTIONS ANSWERED

  • 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). NOTE Weds – Friday training will start after the new year. Talk to Dave if you are interested in those trainings and have not yet signed up.
  • 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.

PARKING

  • 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. Also there are a few jackets for younger athletes in our inventory. Contact Darlene Connor if you are interested in purchasing a jacket. Younger athletes do not need race specific gear such as race skis, pads, or chin guards. Feel free to talk to your coach about what is needed if you are uncertain. Helmets are required for all athletes. 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.
  • PARENTS FREE SKI – We are making an effort this year to do more organized group skis with new and returning parents. Tom Carlson will lead the first one on Saturday the 10th. He will plan to meet up with any parents interested in skiing together by Kehrs Chair after drop off.
  • 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.
  • SMARTSHEET. We plan to use smartsheet again this year to track attendance etc. We will kick of smartsheet in a few weeks (with info for new and rusty returning families on how and why to use it) and until then you can email Dave if your athlete needs to miss practice or make a change in their schedule.
  • CHRISTMAS CAMP DATES. Mighty Mite Christmas Camp runs from 12/26-12/30. Junior camp runs from 12/19 – 12/23, 12/26 – 12/27. There are no regular trainings during Christmas Camp. Christmas Camp is optional. Athletes should have signed up for Christmas Camp  during registration, but you can still sign up just go back to the registration. Click on your racer – click edit and go to the add-on tab. From there you can select Christmas Camp add it to your athlete and pay .
  • RACES + VOLUNTEERING – The first SPAC sponsored race is the Junior level night slalom on 12/30. 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.

parent meeting recap

  • Dave reviewed the changes in approach to race days and training – This year more emphasis will be placed on being fast than on being perfect. We still believe that skill development is the key to strong racers and life long skiers, but we recognize there is a mental and physical component to pushing yourself on race day that needs to be emphasized as well.
  • In turn training will now take a slightly different format. All athletes including mighty mites will train gates before lunch and do skills drills in the afternoon. The idea is to capture kids when they are fresh and focused to really push themselves to be fast in the course. The afternoon will be used to focus drills on technique that needs practicing based on what the coaches observe in the morning. Juniors will likely have morning and afternoon gate training. Mighty Mite parents, expect your athletes to focus on free skiing and drills the first few training weekends until we understand where all of our athletes are this year.
  • Athletes will be grouped based on 3 criteria: age, working on similar concepts, and pace. For the first few weeks groupings will be done by age. Coaches will still be rotating athletes each week as we have done in the past.
  • Dave reviewed the races we will be attending, a typical race day for MMs and the national category and points system. As we approach race days we will send out communication to the club that will cover much of this information again.
  • A quick reminder to all that there is a new parent meeting on 12/17  and a smaller one on 12/18 where you can ask more questions and meet the coaches. Hope to see you there. Any pertinent information shared during that meeting will be passed along via email or post for those that are unable to attend.
  • After the New Year there will be two other parent events scheduled. Coach Linda will make a presentation on the philosophy and approach to the way our coaches talk to our athletes to maximize their learning and engagement. There will also be a parent skills workshop put on by Dave and some of the other coaches. Look for those dates in upcoming communication.
 and now for the fun and helpful advice from some of our most experienced families.

 SAGE ADVICE

  • 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.
Looking forward to seeing you all up at the hill.