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 Class||Ages as of 12/31/17||Birth Year|
|U8||7 and younger||2010 and later|
|U10||8 and 9||2008 or 2009|
|U12||10 and 11||2006 or 2007|
|U14||12 and 13||2004 or 2005|
|U16||14 and 15||2002 or 2003|
|U19||16 - 18||1999, 2000 or 2001|
|U21||19 and 20||1997 or 1998|
|SR||21 and older||1996 or earlier|
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.
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.
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.