Race Day

Race day preparation begins with the publication of the race announcement.  The coaches will send this out to the parents and athletes, detailing who needs to be where, when.  Race announcements for U14 and older USSA and FIS races are posted to the regional websites under the calendar tabs.

Tips for Race Day

  • Car pool  - it’s fun for the kids and adults
  • Arrive early, especially if you are not familiar with the resort
  • Bring water and snacks to the hill for your racer
  • Be positive and supportive to your racer- be prepared for every outcome
  • Remember that times posted to the scoreboard are provisional. This means that the results are not official until you see the printed or online version. 
  • If you believe a mistake has been made, contact your racer’s coach; NEVER confront a volunteer.

Race Day Program

  • Racers meet coaches to collect their bibs and tickets, or they purchase their own ticket
  • The start order for a race is either random, at younger ages, or it follows a set international procedure: participating athletes are ranked in order of their points, then there is a random draw for the top 15 starting positions to be allotted to the top 15 participants.  The rest of the field starts according to their ranking, with unranked athletes drawn randomly for their position following the ranked athletes.  Start lists should be available for spectators in the finish area.
  • Racers meet their coach at the top of the race course for inspection.  During this inspection, the coach will discuss the tactical approach the racers should take.  Racers may only side slip the course.
  • After inspection, racers go back to the top of the course to get ready for the race.
  • If racers do not successfully complete the first run, they are ineligible for a second run.  This rule does not always apply for U14 and younger athletes: at these age levels the race committee may allow athletes who did not complete the first run to take a second run after all qualified athletes have completed their 2nd run.
  • After the first run, coaches reset the course on the same hill for the second run. (In younger age groups, the race may only have a single run.)
  • The start order of the second run differs from the first.  The fastest 30 (sometimes 15) finishers from the first run start the second run, but in reverse order: the racer who finished 30th, will start the second run, with the fastest athlete of the first run going 30th.  From 31st onwards, the start order is determined according to the result list from the 1st run.
  • Athletes inspect the course with their coach, and then take their second run.
  • Provisional times are recorded on a scoreboard at the bottom of the course.  Results are not official until the Technical Delegate (official in charge of the race) has signed off on them, at which point they will be published as “official results”.
  •  The awards ceremony takes place as soon as possible after the completion of the race, or in the case of a race series, at the end of the final day of competition.  Irrespective of whether your racer has achieved a place on the podium, it shows good sportsmanship and team support for all athletes to stay for the ceremony to recognize and show respect for the successful athletes and the race organizers.

Who Puts on a Race?

A lot of work goes into staging a race, much of which happens off the hill before race day.  Calendars are set, agreements are made between sites and USSA, seeding lists are created, start lists, team captains’ meetings, score boards, bib allotments and so on.  Staff does a lot of this, but volunteers are a vital part of the organization – parents like you!  Without volunteer support, there would be no ski racing.

Below is a list of positions involved in hosting a ski race:

  • Race Committee – positions requiring training
    • Chief of Race – responsible for making sure everyone on the hill is communicating, keeping the race safe.
    • Chief of Course – responsible for keeping the race course safe and fair
    • Chief of Timing and Calculations
    • Chief Gate Judge – coordinates the reports of all gate judges, who stand alongside the course to ensure racers navigate the course correctly.
    • Race Administrator – prepares all entries and compiles results
    • Start Referee
    • Finish Referee


  • Other Volunteer Positions – positions which require little to no training
    • Gate judge
    • Bib collector
    • Hand timer
    • Scoreboard
    • Other positions which vary by club, such as announcer, helping with lunches and so on.

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