SPAC enjoyed a successful 2020-2021 season and was able to operate from opening day through closing day despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We operated in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines of the state of Washington, the COVID-19 policy of Stevens Pass and our own COVID-19 policy to safely and successfully offer our full training schedule on the mountain and compete in home and away races. This season (2021-2022) we will revise our COVID-19 operating policy in alignment with Stevens Pass and the State of Washington. We expect little change to our on mountain operations and will publish our updated policy and protocols prior to the first day of training of the 2021-2022 season.
Team Snap is an app that SPAC uses for managing and communicating details about training and races. Information for registered athletes will be loaded into Team Snap in the fall. Parents will use Team Snap to communicate which training and race days they will be attending. The app also contains the roster for each age group and has chat and email functions.
WHEN DOES SPAC PLAN FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON?
The race and training calendar for SPAC is influenced by a variety of factors including, but not limited to the Stevens Pass operating schedule, PNSA calendar, Western Region calendar and holidays. SPAC bids on races to host at the PNSA spring convention. At the convention, all PNSA clubs set their race schedule for the PNSA supported events. After the convention, the SPAC Program Director builds the training and race calendar for the upcoming season. The season’s calendar is usually complete in the Fall, barring any usual circumstances (e.g. impact of COVID).
WHAT IS A MIGHTY MITE?
Mighty Mites are racers that are 13 and under. Racers compete in their “U” class, based on their age as of December 31.
Mighty Mite “U” classification is defined as:
- U8: 6 & 7 years old
- U10: 8 & 9 years old
- U12: 10 & 11 years old
- U14: 12 & 13 years old
WHAT IS THE SPAC SHACK?
The SPAC Shack is what we call the timing shack, which is where SPAC stores race equipment, timing equipment and miscellaneous supplies. It is also where SPAC staffs a volunteer team to conduct the timing during SPAC hosted races. SPAC has 2 shacks: the “SPAC shack” which is a permanent structure located just past Kehr’s chair and a “Mobile Timing Shack” which is often stored at the base of Kehr’s below the “I-5” run, but is moved to other locations on the mountain as needed for race situations. The permanent SPAC Shack is typically where racers meet in the mornings or evenings for training.
WHICH PARKING LOT IS BEST ON TRAINING DAYS?
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. Vail also reserves the closest lots for carpool (4+). Parking is first come first serve and the lots fill up early, so do your best to arrive early.
DO I NEED TO GET A LIFT TICKET OR A SEASON PASS?
Stevens Pass / Vail Resorts offers discounts on season passes in the spring of each year. These are usually the best deal, but seasons passes can also be purchased in the Summer and Fall for a slightly higher rate. Families can opt to buy daily lift tickets for each day of training, but should consider the number of anticipated training days and decide if it is better to buy a lift ticket each day or a season pass.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPAC AND STEVENS PASS?
SPAC operates at Stevens Pass and has a long standing history with the mountain, with SPAC having been founded in the 1950’s. Stevens Pass provides quality hill space to SPAC training on the weekends as well as for Thursday and Friday nights, when Stevens Pass is open for night operations. In addition, Stevens Pass supports SPAC’s annual races with groomed, well-maintained hill space, and those races include: Wild Katz, Masters Race, Evergreen Cup and Steve Madison Small Fry/Easter Race/March Madness. In addition, SPAC usually bids on other PNSA hosted races and Stevens Pass works cooperatively with SPAC to host a well-run event. Because of the long-standing great relationship with Stevens Pass, SPAC proudly displays Stevens Pass logos on our website, race materials, team uniforms and other items produced by SPAC.
WHAT IS U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD?
U.S. Ski & Snowboard is the governing organization for all U.S.-based Ski Teams, and SPAC racers often compete in U.S. Ski & Snowboard sanctioned races. If a racer competes in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard sanctioned race, then the racer needs to become a member of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, which consists of annual dues that vary based on whether the racer is a Mighty Mite or a Junior. For Juniors, there are additional optional fees for FIS racing.
More information about U.S. Ski & Snowboard can be found on their website: usskiandsnowboard.org. All U.S. Ski & Snowboard licensed racers are tracked in the U.S. Ski & Snowboard database including any U.S. Ski & Snowboard sanctioned races in which they compete. SPAC is part of the PNSA division (Pacific Northwest Ski Association), which is part of the Western Region of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. U.S. Ski & Snowboard has 4 regions: Western, Rocky / Central, Northern and Eastern. Each division and region also maintains its own website and programs specific to that division or region.
WHAT IS PNSA?
PNSA stands for Pacific Northwest Ski Association and SPAC is a member of PNSA. There are 24 clubs in 3 states (Washington, Oregon and western Idaho) that belong to PNSA. All athletes are encouraged to become familiar with PNSA and their website as it is a great source of information on upcoming races (see the race calendar) and other events or newsworthy items pertinent to PNSA clubs. PNSA hosts an annual convention in June and member organizations are eligible to attend. At the convention, rules and regulations are reviewed, changes are voted upon and the race calendar for PNSA supported events is established. PNSA has an auxiliary organization called PNSEF which is a foundation that is a non-profit and exists to help offset the high costs of ski racing for the athletes. PNSEF also has a board meeting during the PNSA convention. PNSA also has a meeting in the Fall to follow up on items from the convention and to manage other business as appropriate.
WHAT IS ELITE PASS?
PNSA has the Elite Pass program that is unique in the ski racing community and is incredibly beneficial to Junior racers in lowering some of the high costs of racing at the Junior level. Elite Pass is a pass that is earned based on a racer having USSA points in any discipline below a specified threshold. For men, it is USSA points below 180 in any discipline and for women, it is USSA points below 190 in any discipline. If an athlete qualifies for the Elite Pass program, their name will appear on the list published by PNSA in September based on the prior season’s results. The price of the Elite Pass is set by PNSA, and it enables the racer to ski at ANY PNSA ski resort during the ski season (September – May) without paying any additional fees. Typically, the Elite Pass costs more than a seasons pass at Stevens Pass, but it serves as a seasons pass at all PNSA ski resorts.
WHAT IS FIS?
The International Ski Federation – Fédération Internationale de Ski, Internationaler Ski Verband – is abbreviated in all languages as FIS. FIS is the main international organisation of ski sports. Founded by 14 member nations in 1924 in Chamonix, France, today it has a membership of 101 national ski associations and is based in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.
The federation organizes the following ski sport disciplines, for which it oversees World Cup competitions and World Championships: Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, and Snowboarding.
Athletes are eligible to compete in races that are sanctioned as “FIS” races beginning in 1st year U19. Coaches must submit names to race organizers of athletes intending to race in FIS, but it is up to the FIS host to determine the number of racers they will accept from each region/division and/or country. FIS racers earn FIS points, much in the same way as U.S. Ski & Snowboard points are earned and calculated.
IS SPAC A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION?
Yes, SPAC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Our donors, volunteers, and sponsors are the heart of our organization. We rely on their generous support to keep our program accessible and affordable to all. If you’d like to learn more about how you can support our SPAC, head over to our sponsorship, volunteer, or giving pages.