Moving Up to U14 – 2022-23 Information

Your athlete has just moved up to the U14 age group.

What do you do now? Are there more races? Different races? Speed Training/Racing? More Gear? Traveling? Waxing/tuning? Qualifiers? Championships? USSA Points? They are Mighty Mites, but will also be training with the Juniors? What?

There are a lot of changes afoot when a family crosses the threshold into the U14 athlete world. What do you do? What’s going to be expected of me and/or my athlete? At first, this may seem a bit daunting, but rest assured, it’s not as confusing as one might think.

First things, first. Your U14 athlete is a tweener – at school, in extracurricular sports, physically, emotionally, and also in ski racing. As a ski racer, they are still technically under the Mighty Mite umbrella, but there are some changes to training, racing, equipment, etc. Let’s try and sort this all out for you.

  1. USSSA Membership – If you didn’t already become a member of USSS when your athlete went to U12 Buddy Werner Championships you’ll need to do this now. Why? USSS is the governing body of our sport and as such we need to join the organization.  That will allow them to start racing other races besides Mighty Mite races.  It also lets USSS keep track of your athlete.
  2. Gear – The U14 years are the time that you will need to own, at the minimum 2-3 pairs of skis for your athlete if you plan to race outside of the Mighty Mite world. If you plan to continue to race Mighty Mite only then a combination ski will suffice.
    • One pair of Slalom skis
    • One Pair of Giant Slalom
    • One pair of Super G skis – A longer pair of GS skis can work for the smaller athletes. Consult Nils.
    • Slalom armor – Pole Guards, Shin Guards, Chin guards on the helmet, Back protector.
    • Combination ski – A Ski that’s designed to do both SL and GS at a satisfactory level for Mighty Mite racing.
  3. Training – 1 Day / 2 Days / 3-4 days? / Camps / Speed Training / Training with the Juniors
    • 1 day per week – This is fine if your athlete is going to race at just Mighty Mite races only and is trying out other extracurricular sports or activities that may conflict with training both Saturday and Sunday.
    • 2 days per week (Sat./Sun.) This is the minimum if your athlete is going to be competitive and physically ready to ski at their best. (Mighty Mite level and beyond) What’s the difference? Your athlete will get “twice as much” training time as the other athletes that are just training one day per week.
    • 3-4 Days per week – This is a weekend training schedule that also includes night training on either Wednesday or Friday night or both. This option maximizes your athletes training time on snow and should be seriously considered if they are going to be racing in the U14 Qualifying series, as many of those athletes are also training this frequently.
    • Race Camps – Christmas Camp, Summer Race Camps, and Thanksgiving Camp are all superb ways to improve your athlete’s skiing ability and gate running skills in an “intensive” multiday format. Camps give your athlete the opportunity to ski all day every day for the duration of the camp. This is when the real breakthroughs happen for your athlete. There’s no substitute for more time on snow to improve your athletes’ skiing as this, not to mention the bonds they form with each other during these camps. Lifelong friendships are built here.
    • Speed Training – Remember Super G is not Downhill. There are some very specific technique differences between GS and SG that need to be learned in this environment. At this age, the speed events are kept to Super G only. What is Super G? It stands for Super Giant Slalom. For U14’s Super G is just a slightly bigger Giant Slalom. These events are done on wider runs that are typically a bit longer in length than Giant Slalom. How fast are they going to go? Not much faster than they already ski when they are free-skiing with their friends. Speed Training is mandatory if your athlete is going to compete in the U14 Qualifying series. Check “Team Snap” for Early morning Speed Training days during Christmas Camp and throughout the rest of the season and sign up now. *** (New for this year is an added PNSA sponsored “U14 only Speed Camp” training opportunity at Mission Ridge. It is an opportunity to log more time doing this discipline in preparation for the four days of Super G at Qualifier #3 also at Mission Ridge held two weeks later. {Optional} ).
    • Training with the Juniors – Most weekend training days the U14 athletes will train just as long through the day as the Juniors, finishing at 3pm. This extra time gives the coaches more opportunities to help the athletes build on their ski technique and time to put it to the test in the racecourse. There are times that training will end sooner than 3pm depending on athlete fatigue levels. Training with the juniors also gives the U14 athlete an opportunity to see how the older kids train and race. It helps push their limits on tougher courses too.
  4. Mighty Mite Track vs. Qualifier TrackThe Mighty Mite track is geared toward the athlete who is still building their skills as a skier and as a racer. Sometimes this athlete only trains one day per week.
    • The Qualifier track is geared toward the athlete who has raced as a Mighty Mite in the younger age groups and is ready to taste what it’s like to race at a higher level like that of the U16’s and higher. The U14 qualifying series is designed specifically for this reason – to get these athletes ready to race as junior athletes in the coming years.
    • A U14 athlete may start out as a Mighty Mite racer primarily and may try one of the qualifier races with prior clearance from Nils or Jason. This athlete may be a Mighty Mite racer for just their first year as a U14 and then move into competing in the Qualifier series the following year if all the hard work is put into training and improving.
    • Athletes on the qualifier track, ideally, should train a minimum of 2 days or more per week.
  5. USSS pointsAs Mentioned earlier USSS keeps track of your athlete.  How they do it is via USSS points. Points are like a handy cap in golf.  The lower the points the better of a racer you are.  How they are figured is a little complicated, but in general when you sign up with USSS as a U14 or older you are given 990 points and the goal throughout their career is to lower them to 0 points. All athletes that ski race in the US are on this path.  So, that means that each person can compare themselves against the athletes on the US ski Team.  For a more detailed answer of how these points are calculated ask Dave or look at the competition manual you receive when you join USSS. 
  6. Racing Mighty Mite Races are roughly the same frequency as the Qualifiers – about once a month. The real difference is the difficulty of the track or run, length of the course, course setting parameters, stiffer competition and of course the qualifiers have a cumulative outcome, based on finishing results over the course of 3 big race weekends and the Evergreen Cup U16/U14 Finals, which just so happen to be at Stevens Pass this year.

U14 Mighty Mite Race Calendar

Feb. 11-12 – Wolf Chase Race @ Loup Loup Ski Bowl (Methow Valley), SL/GS
Feb. 25-26 – Wild Katz Race @ Stevens Pass, SL/GS
March 25-26 – Apple Cup Race @ Mission Ridge, GS/GS
March 31 – April 1,2 – Buddy Werner Championships (U12 only), Mt. Hood Meadows,
Skills Quest/SL/GS. All U12 athletes are welcome. Your athlete doesn’t need to qualify to attend.
April 8 – April’s Answer @ Stevens Pass, GS
April 9 – Easter Sunday, Annual Steve Madison Small Fry Race @ Stevens Pass, SL

Evergreen Cup and U14 Qualifier Race Calendar

(It is highly recommended, although not mandatory, that your athlete train a minimum of 2 days per week if choosing to race in this series)

December 30 – EGC Night SL, Stevens Pass, SL
January 21-22 – U14 #1, Schwieitzer Mountain Resort, SL/GS
February 18-19 – U14 #2, Mt. Spokane, SL/GS
February 22, 23, 24 – PNSA U14 ONLY SPEED CAMP, Mission Ridge, SG Training
This training is a very special opportunity. This has never been done before just for this age group. SPAC highly recommends attending this camp. This will greatly enhance your athletes experience at U14 #3 no doubt about it!!!
March 7-10 – U14 #3, Mission Ridge, SG Train, 3 SG
March 31 – April 1,2 – EGC Finals U16/U14, Stevens Pass, SGT/SG/GS/SL
This event is used as a qualifier to attend NWCup Finals @ Mt. Bachelor.
(The top 8 women and 7 Men (U14) will be chosen from this event to attend NWCup Finals.)
April 13-16 – NWCup Finals @ Mt. Bachelor, SL/GS/SG/Dual SL (If your athlete qualifies.)