Frequently Asked Questions


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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 Youth Local Programs are Wolverines and Big Sky Rippers:

  • The Wolverines program (ages 7-14) 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 is most comparable to BSSEF’s Buddy Werner or Freeride programs and emphasizes advanced terrain.

The age classifications for the 2017-18 ski season are as follows:

Age ClassAges as of 12/31/17Birth Year
U87 and younger2010 and later
U108 and 92008 or 2009
U1210 and 112006 or 2007
U1412 and 132004 or 2005
U1614 and 152002 or 2003
U1916 - 181999, 2000 or 2001
U2119 and 201997 or 1998
SR21 and older1996 or earlier

We feel your pain. We’re helped immensely by our sponsors, and we do our best to keep our overhead low in order to keep program prices in check. Nevertheless, program fees, equipment, and travel conspire to make skiing and ski racing expensive. To make it less so, take advantage of early season program pricing and multi-program purchase discounts. Purchase used equipment via Montana Ski Racing Classified on Facebook and area ski swaps. (Bridger Ski Foundation hosts a great swap every Fall in Bozeman.) Last, but not least, make an application for a scholarship administered by Women in Action.

Subscribe to our email newsletter. In addition, The team’s Facebook page is a place to share informal information such as photos. Check the events calendar frequently for information regarding training and competitions.

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

The team’s meeting place is directly below the Summit Hotel clock tower. Athletes should be ready to go at 8:45 AM in order to board the lift promptly at 9:00 AM. 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.

The entire team typically eats lunch between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM 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).

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.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard (formerly known as 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 U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

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

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

  • Start with the events 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 there 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.
  • “Like” the team’s Facebook page.

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.

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. See the equipment page for more information.

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).

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.

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 translate 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.