Age Classes

Ages and Classes of Racers

To join the club, a skier must: (1) be 7 years of age by December 31. (2) be able to get on and off the chair lift without assistance; and (3) have at least one year of good skiing under his or her belt.

USSA has established the following age groupings for purposes of competition:

GROUP AGE BY 12/31
U10 7–9
U12 10-11
U14 12-13
U16 14-15
U19 16-18*
U21 19-20*
SENIOR 21 & UP*

* Indicates seeded competition.

For purposes of training, WPRC generally adheres to the age groupings, with coaches assigned to particular classes (e.g. a U12 coach). However, depending on the relative abilities of the racers, the coaching staff may permit some racers to train with a class more suited to the racer’s development. Any questions about a racer’s training group should be addressed to the head coach. Male and female racers train together, but compete separately.

AGE CLASS OVERVIEW

U10

This is typically the athlete’s first exposure to ski racing. The focus is on fundamental ski techniques, with the majority of time spent free skiing. Athletes are eased into gate training with a focus on preparing kids to understand basic course sets. Athletes are allowed to race in Western PA regional races, but parents should check with coaches to ensure that their kids are ready for competition before entering them into these races. Athletes are not eligible for PA State Championships, but are invited to compete in the WPRC U10 Derby at the end of the season.

U12

This is the first age at which racers can qualify for PA State Championships and Eastern Regional post-season events. The focus continues to be on fundamental ski techniques with an increased exposure to gate training and race tactics. Training is split evenly between free skiing and gate training. Athletes are encouraged to compete in Western PA Regional races and are eligible to be invited to PA State Championships. From States, racers are able to able to qualify for the PARA State Team and Eastern Regional Events, including the Piche Invitational. More details on these post-season events can be found on the PARA website http://paracing.org/

U14

Early season focuses on fundamental ski techniques through structured free skiing. As the season progresses, the focus shifts to race tactics and an increased exposure to gate training. Athletes are expected to compete in Western PA Regional Races and are eligible to be invited to PA State Championships. From States, racers are able to able to qualify for the PARA State Team and Eastern Regional Events, including Eastern Championships and the Piche Invitational. More details on these post-season events can be found on the PARA website http://paracing.org/

U16

This is the first year the athletes compete as “scored” competitors. Athletes are able to earn USSA seed points based on race results and are seeded in start lists based on points rankings. Early season focuses on fundamental ski techniques through structured free skiing. With Regional Qualifying Races starting during Christmas Camp, the focus quickly shifts to race tactics and gate training. Majority of training is spent in gates, but structured free skiing sessions are continued throughout the season. Athletes are expected to compete in Western PA Regional Races and are eligible to be invited to PA State Championships. From States, racers are able to able to qualify for the PARA State Team and Eastern Regional Events, including Eastern Championships and Eastern Finals. Second year U16 athletes are allowed to compete in the PA Cup Series with coach’s approval. First year U16’s are only allowed at the PA Cup Finals held at Elk with coach’s approval. More details on PA Cup and post-season events can be found on the PARA website http://paracing.org/

U19 / U21

Athletes compete as “scored” competitors. Athletes are able to earn USSA seed points based on race results and are seeded in start lists based on points rankings. Athletes no longer compete solely in the Western Region to qualify to the PA State Championships. Competition is across the entire state, and consists of a series of 8 PA Cup races. State Team qualification is based on complete race results across all races in the PA Cup Series. Early season focuses on fundamental ski techniques through structured free skiing. With races starting during Christmas Camp, the focus quickly shifts to race tactics and gate training. Majority of training is spent in gates, but structured free skiing sessions are continued throughout the season. Athletes are encouraged to compete in the PA Cup Series. From the PA Cup Series, racers are able to able to qualify for the PARA State Team and Eastern Regional Events, including Eastern Finals and USSA Finals. More details on PA Cup and post- season events can be found on the PARA website http://paracing.org/