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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stay informed about what’s happening with the team?

We use several different channels to keep our members informed:

  • Parents are encouraged to join the BSSEF Parents Network, which is a good place to ask questions of other parents and coaches.
  • The team’s Facebook page is a place to share informal information such as photos.
  • Subscribe to the team’s opt-in, email newsletter to receive occasional updates.
  • Check the events calendar frequently for information regarding training and competitions.
  • As needed, we’ll send a broadcast text message to members for urgent matters such as a delay in training due to weather.

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How do I get information about each day’s training agenda?

The head coaches of each program are responsible for posting and updating training schedules on the calendar.

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Why don’t I receive email newsletters?

In order to receive email newsletters, you need to subscribe. Just look for the subscription box at the bottom of each web page. Once you enter and submit your email address, check your inbox (and, possibly, your spam filter) for a confirmation email.

Once confirmed, you should expect to receive weekly email updates from us during the ski season. Sometimes, though, emails sent by us to confirmed subscribers get “bounced” back to our email server for reasons beyond our control. When that happens, you may be automatically unsubscribed from our newsletter. That protects our server from being “blacklisted” as a source of spam. If you suspect that you’ve been inadvertently unsubscribed, just send us a feedback message. We can add you back to the active subscribers list.

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When and where do the kids meet to start the day?

The team’s meeting place is directly below the Summit Hotel clock tower. Athletes should be ready to go at 8:45AM in order to board the lift promptly at 9:00AM. Backpacks should be stored in the Mammoth Room on the second floor of the Mountain Mall. All skis should be placed in the racks by the Summit Hotel. Kids and their equipment are not allowed by the Race Shack at the base of the Ramcharger lift. That area gets congested quite easily, and it’s unsafe for lots of kids to be milling about.

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When and where do the kids eat lunch?

The entire team typically eats lunch between 11:30AM and 12:30PM in the Mammoth Room on the second floor of the Mountain Mall. Timing can be a bit flexible, depending on conditions and the day’s training agenda. Coaches accompany the athletes, but athletes are responsible for getting their own lunches. Parents are welcome to join the team.

Most families bring lunch. Backpacks can be stored during the day in the corner or along the walls of the Mammoth Room. Other popular lunch options include the Lone Peak Cafe (right next to the Mammoth Room) and Yeti Dogs (in the Snowcrest Lodge across the plaza from the Mountain Mall).

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The temperature is below zero. Will there be training today?

With appropriate clothing, kids can ski and train in below zero weather. Sometimes, however, the start of training will be delayed in order to allow the temperature to rise a bit. In all cases, coaches will bring kids into the lodge for warm-ups as necessary. As always, check the calendar for the latest updates regarding training.

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How do BSSEF’s programs differ from those offered by Big Sky Resort?

BSSEF’s programs – Alpine and Freeride – incorporate sanctioned competitions; Big Sky Resort’s youth programs do not.

The resort offers several instructional programs for area athletes aged 7 to 15. For purposes of comparison, the most relevant of the resort’s Local Youth Programs are Wolverines and Big Sky Rippers:

  • The Wolverines program (ages 8-13) is similar to BSSEF’s Youth Ski League programs. However, in addition to its relative emphasis on racing, the YSL program includes a multi-day training option.
  • The resort’s Rippers program (ages 10-14) is most comparable to BSSEF’s Buddy Werner program.

BSSEF, unlike the resort, offers programs for older high school-aged athletes (i.e., Freeride and Junior Development). At this age and ability level, the team’s emphasis on competition is most pronounced.

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What race gear does my YSL athlete really need?

You can find a list of recommended equipment here. A hard-ear race helmet, a pair of four-buckle boots that fit well and aren’t too stiff, and a single pair of multi-event race skis are initially sufficient. Is a speed suit a necessity for your 8 year old?  Not really…but she will probably want one after she competes in her first few races. The bad news is that kids grow out of speed suits almost instantly. The good news is that there is, as a consequence, a thriving second-hand market.

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How do I get information about competitions?

There are a number of resources related to Alpine and Freeride competitions:

  • Start with the BSSEF calendar. We do our best to keep information on the event pages up-to-date, relevant, and complete.
  • The definitive source of information for Northern Division Alpine races is the Northern Division website. The race calendar includes links to race announcements and results.
  • The IFSA website includes information regarding Junior Freeskiing competitions.
  • Check the hotel reservation page for information about accommodations for out-of-area races.
  • Subscribe to email notifications of new posts to this website and “like” the team’s Facebook page.
  • Join and use the BSSEF Parents Network to get questions to your answers about competitions.

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Does my child need a USSA membership in order to race?

All athletes who wish to compete in a USSA-sanctioned Alpine ski race must be an active member. At this time, Freeride competitions are organized by a different sanctioning body (IFSA).

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How do I enroll my child in a ski race?

Race registration for nearly all Northern Division races utilize the USSA Online Athlete Registration system. The team will send you a bill for your share of coaching fees (for out-of-town races).

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Do we have to attend all scheduled races or competitions?

No. Out-of-town races are time-consuming, expensive, and can distract from school and other commitments. You should not feel as if your athlete and family need to commit to every competition on the schedule. Even for highly engaged athletes, it’s possible to place too much emphasis on competitions.

That said, competitions are an integral part of the BSSEF experience, and they are a lot of fun. Not only does the experience of traveling to, and participating in, out-of-town races foster friendships among the kids, it does so for parents, too.

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What is a race announcement, and where do I find them?

The race organizing committee for each ski race must submit a race announcement to the USSA several weeks before the event. The race announcement contains basic information such as location, schedule, and cost. When they are made available, the USSA Northern Division will post them on its race calendar web page.

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What are “points”?

USSA points – like a golf handicap – are a measure of relative performance over time. The better one’s performance in ski races, the lower one’s points. Low points translates into preferred start numbers and improved chances to be selected for elite competitions and regional and national championships. Click here to learn more about points.

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What is the USSA?

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. It is the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team. BSSEF is a member of the Northern Division, which, in turn, is part of the Western Region. The Alpine ski races in which our athletes participate are sanctioned by, and organized under the rules of, USSA.

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