The Competitive Group – An Introduction
The Bradford Ski Team offers what we call the Competitive Group for 2nd year U10’s (upon invitation by one of the Competitive Coaches – Applications are not accepted) and all U12 through U19 racers who have been members of the team for at least one year. If you are new to the team and have an interest in the Competitive Group, please contact the Head Coach or Assistant Head Coach.
The Competitive Group is for those racers who want a little more training and/or who might be interested in racing in USSA races outside of the EMBWL. This Competitive Group is not to be construed as an “Elite Team;” it is not. The decision to join is that of the racer, regardless of ability, past performances, or past results. It just expresses his/her desire.
The Competitive Group holds extra practices at Ski Bradford, goes up north to larger mountains for added challenges (sorry, no U10s are included in these northern trips,) and/or attends races outside of the regular league races. (To enter any USSA race, the racer must hold a valid membership with the USSA. See the USSA website, http://www.ussa.com, for how to join. They do offer a one-day membership for those wanting to “test the waters” and try it without having to commit.)
Both technique, the “How’s” of ski racing, and tactics, the “When’s and Where’s” of ski racing are very important to the success of a ski racer. Thus, Bradford practices usually involves working on technical skills before setting courses and transferring those skills into a race situation, i.e., gates and tactics, while practices at other destinations concentrate on technique only.
However, if the only desire is to chase gates and to attend other team’s practices for that purpose – run gates, the Competitive Group may not be for you. However, if you want to improve, benefit from additional training based on scientific principles with proven results, and become a better skier and, hence, a better racer… the Competitive Group may be exactly what you are looking for.
Running gates, contrary to popular belief and perpetuated myth, does not make you better. You become better, more skilled, by working on technique which only happens outside of gates. In fact, in the past when our races have chased gates rather than dedicating that time to work on their basic skiing skills, there has been a definite decline in performance both in and out of the courses.
To reiterate, the Bradford Ski Team and the Competitive Group believe that technical skills must come before improvements in tactical skills can be realized and, thus, they demand and deserve training priority. If just running gates is your prime objective in ski race training, be forewarned.
To further their knowledge and understanding of the sport, the Competitive Group receives several in depth articles throughout the year on various technical, tactical, mental, and conditioning concepts and other, hopefully interesting, topics.
Depending on interest, there has also been a summer program offering for the Competitive Group which consists a mixture of fun activities, dry-land training, workouts, and “At-Home Challenges.”
To participate with the Competitive Group, racers must select the Competitive U-group that corresponds to their age. Please note: Competitive skiers are charged an additional fee in addition to the fee associated with the regular registration for their age category.
The Head Coach selects specific USSA races that the team will support, check out the Competitive Schedule Tab. These USSA races are in addition to the EMBWL schedule and do not count toward the minimum number of races required to qualify for participation in the league championship race.
Any races entered outside of those listed, as supported by the Bradford Ski Team, will be the responsibility of the parent and racer to enter as an independent (rather than BST, the official listing for the Bradford Ski Team,) find proper coach representation, and to cover all associated costs – including the oft ignored payment to the outside coach.
For a comparison, the following bullets are what the BST provides its racers at a USSA sanctioned race:
- Athlete representation of BST athletes in all aspects of the competition
- Only USSA Certified Coaches are used for USSA races
- Coaches used are also Certified Referees for USSA races
- Professional representation of the team and its competitors to all
- Ensures racers know and adhere to rules
- Inspects and ensures compliance of course and race venue prior to the race
- Acts as a liaison to the Jury and Race Organizers
- Attends Captain's Meeting as team representative
- Communicates all race information to competitors as necessary
- May be requested to act as Race Official in several capacities
- May be requested to act as, or assist, Course Setter
- Inspects the course with the team for each run
Transportation, entry fees, and lift tickets to any Competitive Activity of Event are the responsibility of the individual racer. Unlike the regular membership and EMBWL races, automatic inclusion does not occur. The racer must sign up for each individual race which they would like to participate in that is listed on the current season’s Schedule of BST Supported Races.
To learn more about the Competitive Group, click on the link in the header, or go to the FAQ’s section. If you still have questions, please contact the Head Coach.