Alpine Race Volunteer Roles

It takes a village to host an Alpine ski race. On this page, you'll find descriptions of some of the most common volunteer roles. At the bottom of the page is an excerpt from the Alpine Officials' Manual that provides an overview of how a U.S Ski & Snowboard race is organized. You can learn more on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Officials Resources page.

Big Sky Resort Voucher Policy 

All parents are encouraged to get their Competition Official (CO) certification. Watch for announcements of upcoming training seminars. You'll enjoy the race experience more if you understand how races are structured.

Green Circle

These roles are suitable for volunteers who are new to Alpine ski racing.

Blue Square

These volunteer roles don't require U.S. Ski & Snowboard certification but do require familiarity with Alpine ski racing.

Black Diamond

These roles require either certification from U.S. Ski & Snowboard or FIS or significant experience.

Skiing

These roles require you to ski or snowboard. Big Sky Resort prohibits uphill hiking.

Hiking

Race administration tasks typically do not require that you ski or snowboard. Some other roles, such as Scoreboard Reporter and Poster, may not require that you ski or snowboard depending on the location of the finish area. When in doubt, ask the volunteer coordinator.

Blue-SkiingThe Chief Gate Judge's responsibilities include making sure all Gate Judges are adequately supplied with pencils, gate cards, bibs, and clipboards; positioning the Gate Judges on the course well in advance of the start of each race; collecting all Gate Judge cards at the end of each run and delivering them to the Referee.
Green-SkiingThe Assistant Chief Gate Judge is responsible for numbering the turning pole of each gate on the course prior to each run, acting as an alternate Gate Judge when required, and assisting the Chief Gate Judge as otherwise required.
Green-SkiingGate Judges should meet the Chief Gate Judge no later than 45 minutes prior to the start of the first race. The Chief Gate Judge will provide clipboards and document packages and will assign your position on the race course. The Chief Gate Judge or Assistant Chief Gate Judge will collect your Gate Judge cards between runs. At the end of the day, return your document packages to race headquarters, which is usually located in the Mammoth Room on the second floor of the Mountain Mall.
Each gate judge who has recorded a disqualifying fault or who has been witness to an incident leading to a re-run must be available to the Jury until after the settlement of any protests. It is the responsibility of the Technical Delegate to dismiss a gate judge who is waiting to be called by the Jury. (ACR 666)
Green-Skiing-No-SkiingThe Start Hand Timer must always be able to ski or snowboard. In those rare occasions when the finish is at the base, it's possible for the Finish Hand Timer to hike to position. Check with the volunteer coordinator. Hand Timers should be in position at the start or finish of the race course at least 30 minutes prior to the start of each race. The Start and Finish Referees will have the respective Hand Timer's document packets and stopwatches. Document packages and watches are to be returned to race headquarters in the Mammoth Room at the end of each day.

Watch A Hand Timer's Introduction to the Stopwatch

Black-SkiingThe Starter is responsible for issuing the start command to competitors as well as for the accuracy of the intervals between these signals. The Starter coordinates with the Chief of Timing to synchronize the timing equipment prior to each run. Technically, the Starter role doesn't require specialist certification. However, the role is best suited for someone with a substantial amount of race experience.
Green-SkiingThe Assistant Starter (also known as the Wrangler) is responsible for calling the competitors to the start in their correct order. In addition, the Assistant Starter will help the Starter and Start Referee setup and control the start area as directed.
Green-Skiing-No-SkiingMost races are on Hangman's, which requires ski or snowboard access. On occasion, the finish is at the base of the Ramcharger chairlift. When that's the case, the scoreboard is accessible by hiking. Check with the volunteer coordinator before volunteering. The Scoreboard Recorder copies down times from the electronic scoreboard at the finish and relays times to the Scoreboard Poster. The Scoreboard Poster writes the times on the laminated plastic scoreboard. The Scoreboard Reporter and Poster and jointly responsible for a) cleaning the scoreboards and b) pre-populating each scoreboard with the names of the competitors prior to each race.
Green-SkiingThis volunteer performs two functions. The first is to pick up sack lunches from the designated caterer by 8:00 AM on race day and distributing the lunches to race volunteers on the mountain no later than immediately after the completion of the first set of runs for the day. The second function is to collect race bibs from competitors after the final run each day, sort the bibs in ascending order, and notifying the Race Administrator of any missing bibs.
Green-No SkiingThe Race Administration Assistant is primarily responsible for helping the Race Administrator photocopy and distribute race documents including start lists and race results.
Blue-SkiingMembers of the course crew report to the Chief of Course and are responsible for setting up, maintaining, and taking down the race course and related safety equipment.