Volunteer Roles

Sanctioned competitions differentiate BSSEF’s programs from those offered by Big Sky Resort. It takes a village to host an Alpine, Freeride, or Nordic competition. On this page, you’ll find descriptions of some of the most common volunteer roles.


Green CircleThese roles are suitable for volunteers who are new to Alpine ski racing.
Blue SquareThese volunteer roles don’t require U.S. Ski & Snowboard certification but do require familiarity with Alpine ski racing.
Black DiamondThese roles require either certification from U.S. Ski & Snowboard or FIS or significant experience.
SkiingThese roles require you to ski or snowboard. Big Sky Resort prohibits uphill hiking.
HikingSome roles may not require that you ski or snowboard. Confirm with the volunteer coordinator.

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.

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.

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-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-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.

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-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

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-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.

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 CircleThese roles are suitable for volunteers who are new to freeride competition.
Blue SquareThese volunteer roles may require a degree of physical exertion and general familiarity with freeride competition.
Black DiamondThese roles are suitable for volunteers who have significant knowledge of freeride competitions, IFSA, and the venue.
Outdoor RoleThese roles require you to be outdoors and may require that you ski or snowboard. Big Sky Resort prohibits uphill travel.
Indoor ActivityThese roles are conducted primarily or entirely indoors or within a shelter.
Vehicle IconThese roles require that you have access to a vehicle.

This volunteer is responsible for keeping the grill going, serving hot dogs to spectators, and filling the generator with gas every two (2) hours.

Difficult Outdoor Activity

Remain at the top of the venue for the duration of the competition and announce which athletes are starting to the judges and TD. This position can be shared by several people over the course of the day.

Moderate Outdoor ActivityBe at the top of each competition venue to help athletes get into their skis and boards; show athletes where the start will be for each venue; and point out the location of judges.

Easy Indoor RoleAssist the event TD with distributing radios to event and volunteer staff who require radio communication.

Moderate Outdoor ActivityThese volunteers assist athletes in getting their skis and boards loaded onto their backpacks before hiking to the competition venues. In general, help facilitate faster hiking.

Moderate Outdoor ActivityThe DJ must keep music age-appropriate and have enough music for 10 hours of play over two days of competition. You will be outside for the duration of the competition.

Difficult Outdoor ActivityThe Announcer must be knowledgeable about IFSA competitions as well as Obsidian and Zone Three features in the Headwaters area. You will be outside all day. Sponsors must be mentioned regularly.

Moderate Outdoor ActivitySki Ninjas must hike to the top of the venue and retrieve equipment for fallen athletes. This position could require up to three (3) hikes to Zone Three in the Headwaters on Finals day.

Easy Outdoor ActivityThe outdoor contingent of the Scoring Team runs raw scores from the event’s Technical Delegate (“TD”) to the head of the indoor Scoring Team.

Difficult Indoor ActivityThe indoor contingent of the Scoring Team works with the Head Scorekeeper. This is the most important volunteer role at the competition. This operation must run smoothly for the event to be successful.


Green CircleThese roles are suitable for volunteers who are new to Nordic competition.
Blue SquareThese volunteer roles require general familiarity with Nordic competition.
Black DiamondThese roles are suitable for volunteers who have significant knowledge of Nordic competitions.
Blue Square

The Lead Starter operates the “plunger”—a button connected to the timer that is pushed when an athlete crosses the start gate. The Assistant Timer provides aid (e.g. in cases where an athlete is missing from the start order).

Black Diamond

The Course Setter sets the course with “V boards” approximately two (2) hours prior to the scheduled race start.

A course delineated by V boards
Green Circle

Athletes’ finish times are recorded using RFID (radio frequency identification) tags or “chips”. Prior to the race, one Chip Manager provides each athlete with a chip, which is attached to the athlete’s left ankle. At the finish, another Chip Manager collects chips.

Blue Square

Prior to the race, the Race Announcer is responsible for setting up and testing the microphone and PA speakers. During the race the Announcer shares times, fun facts, and awards. The Race Announcer needs to have high energy!

Green Circle

The Awards Manager is responsible for preparing awards and handing them out after the race.

Green Circle

The Tent Captain is responsible for setting up the tent and merchandise.

Green Circle

The Bib Master and their helpers are responsible for handing out race bibs to racers (either individually or in bundles delivered to coaches) and sorting bibs (before and after the race).

Green Circle

The Merchandise Salesperson is responsible for preparing and selling merchandise at the race (e.g. hats, headbands, and jackets). This includes charging and using the point of sale device (e.g. an iPad).

Blue Square

The Chief Volunteer is stationed at the race tent and is responsible for answering questions, ensuring other volunteers understand their roles and responsibilities, and provide support as needed.

Black Diamond

The Race Timing Coordinator works with Muddy Dog Sports to schedule and manage race timing.

Black Diamond

The Coach Coordinator assigns coaches to groups of athletes for warm-up and race bib distribution.

Black Diamond

Work with Club Team athletes on Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons. Parents of Club Team athletes will receive a program fee offset.