What should my athlete wear for training and/or races?
- Helmet (with chin bar for slalom training)
- Gloves or Mittens
- SPAC Team Coat
- Speed Suit (optional for younger athletes)
- Race Pants or Race Shorts (with a full side zip)
- Shin Guards (optional)
- Mouth Guard (optional)
In general for younger athletes, special clothing outside of what one typically wears to ski is not required for training or racing with SPAC. Many athletes have a successful experience with the program for many years before buying race specific gear. Once athletes are older (U14 and up) race specific clothing and gear may be required or recommended. We recommend clothing that is warm, layered and waterproof. Ski pants, jacket, gloves, and jacket over warm underlayers and socks are necessary for any time spent on the mountain.
Helmets are required of all SPAC athletes for training and racing. It is recommended that you obtain a helmet made for ski racing so that it can accommodate a chin bar. A chin bar is added to the helmet for protection in training/racing slalom, particularly when the athlete is blocking gates. A chin bar isn’t required until an athlete is a U14, but it is recommended as soon as an athlete begins to ski fast and close to the gates.
Goggles are required for racing and training. They should be purchased to fit snuggly and to work with the athletes helmet. Goggles must be taken out and dried each night in order to prevent fogging up. It is recommended to have goggles with interchangeable lenses. Clear lenses are worn for night skiing and very cloudy low light days, whereas sun protective lenses are helpful for bright sunny days.
Racers will need gloves or mittens, and there are race versions of these with extra padding on top for those athletes hitting gates. This typically is not needed before U14. We recommend carrying an extra pair of gloves or mittens in the car or ski bag, for those rainy northwest days when gloves get soaked. In addition to gloves, a neck gator is a nice addition to keep athletes warm on extra cold days.
Older Athletes are encouraged to wear speed suits and race pants/shorts for race days. Speed suits are not required for younger athletes (U12 and below) but many younger athletes wear them. Speed suits and race pants/shorts can be purchased new from a variety of sources and often come up for sale on the SPAC / TAS / CMAC Buy & Sell Facebook pages. Speed suits come in padded and unpadded versions. Generally speaking, if an athlete is “hitting” gates or panels, they will most likely want a padded version. Younger athletes generally are ok with unpadded versions.
Long underwear is worn under the race suit for added insulation. If athletes are wearing speedsuits, then race pants and shorts need to be the kind that are “full side zip” so that the athlete can remove the shorts/pants in a race situation without taking off their ski boots. If the pants/shorts contain suspenders, they need to be worn or removed, as they can often get caught on chairlifts if they are dangling.
Lastly, shin guards and arm guards are used by the more experienced racer when they are hitting gates with slalom, but are not necessary for the younger racer. Many athletes also like to wear a mouthguard for added protection.
What is the SPAC uniform?
Athletes are encouraged (but not required) to wear a SPAC team jacket to create team unity, and also so that racers can be easily identified on the hill in training and race situations. Jackets are also a way to market our SPAC brand at Stevens Pass and away race locations.
SPAC selects a clothing manufacturer to make our team coats, based on several factors including durability, cost, availability, multi-year production of the same style, appearance, etc. There is typically a style selected for Mighty Mites that is well insulated and waterproof, and a different style selected for Juniors that provides some insulation and style appealing to teenagers. SPAC Team Coats are available each Fall and purchase details will be communicated to the team, generally in late Summer/early Fall. In addition to new jackets, there is also inventory of used jackets available from SPAC members who have outgrown their coats. Used SPAC coats are often posted for sale on the SPAC Ski Team Buy & Sell Facebook page.
Always have hand and toe warmers packed for each athlete (and parents that grumble about being cold) for each morning and afternoon. Toe warmers go on the outside of socks, on top of toes, then slide into boots.
Invest in some stuff for cold days and carry around just in case. Suggestions include 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. Have lots of neck gators and baklavas, as they attract a great deal of gross snot and bad breath condensation. 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. Mittens seem to keep hands warmer than gloves.
CLOTHING/GEAR BUY & SELL GROUPS
Gear can be bought new from a variety of different outlets, both online and in person. Sturtevant’s has race days in the Fall, which are days set aside for ski racing clubs. Used gear is also posted for sale on the following Facebook pages:
SPAC Ski Team Buy & Sell: https://www.facebook.com/groups/393569468067908
TAS Ski Team Buy & Sell: https://www.facebook.com/groups/474508386015805/
CMAC Ski Team Buy & Sell: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CMACBuyAndSell/