frequently asked questions

The Hidden Valley Race Club Inc. (HVRC) was formed to help skiers who are interested in alpine ski racing to compete at a level above the competition available at the weekly Hidden Valley Open Cup races. As a club, we encourage participation, development of fundamental ski skills, alpine racing skills, and above all, strive to provide an enjoyable experience. Our members regularly race at USSA sanctioned events and celebrate improvement as much as results. We are fortunate to have coaches with a wealth of teaching and racing experiences at the U8 – U21 levels. Our coaches are dedicated to teaching racing and skiing techniques. Whether racing competitively or just practicing with the club, racers and parents will enjoy good skiing and companionship. The club is managed by a board of directors elected by the club’s members, and is not legally affiliated with Hidden Valley or Seven Springs.

From its inception, the club has strived to support racers from the beginner level up through the elite competitor. Many of our racers started out with minimal formal training, and have gone on to win medals at regional USSA races. We are open to racers 8 years and older as long as the racer is able to handle themselves in an independent and responsible manner on the slopes and on the chair lifts. We require they be able to recognize symptoms of cold and fatigue, and they encouraged to take breaks as needed. However, if the racer needs to take a break, they will not be escorted by a coach or parent.

Early season practices are weather dependent, but we try to get on the slopes as early in the season as possible. Weekly practices are usually Saturday and Sunday mornings, with a meeting at 9:00 (under the clock tower in front of ski patrol), and with practice from 9:15 and until noon. We recommend that those racing in USSA sanctioned events attend as many sessions as possible. Depending on the USSA calendar, we will have some additional practices on Friday evenings for advanced racers.

Your child will need ski equipment including skis, boots, poles, gloves, and a helmet. It is HVRC policy for all racers to wear helmets during all practices. Additionally, USSA rules mandate a helmet with hard sides covering the ears for USSA races. It is best if the helmet has a removable chin guard. USSA rules forbid a Slalom chin guard to be used for GS races due to safety issues. We expect all racers to consider the weather conditions and dress appropriately. This may include goggles, long underwear, neck warmers, glove liners or mittens, in addition to a jacket and ski pants. Some racers who participate in USSA races wear race suits, but that is not a requirement for participation nor are they worn in practice. If you need help with ski/binding and boot selection, the Hidden Valley Ski Shop is familiar with our program. Racers in the U10 – U16 group should have no problem finding what they need. At these ages, it is more important to put your racer on skis that match their size and weight. The U18/U21 racers do need skis that meet USSA specs so they may need to wait for the Pro sales in November. If you have any additional questions, we encourage you to talk with any of our coaches.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. It is the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. The USSA sanctions a number of races in our region, and in order to participate, a racer must have a USSA membership. Renewing members must complete their renewal by October 15th. If your racer is a first time USSA member and has not signed up, this can be done anytime; the late fee for registering after Oct 15 is waived for first time members only. To join USSA, please visit usskiandsnowboard.org.

The Pennsylvania Alpine Racing Association (PARA) is the governing body of sanctioned racing in Pennsylvania. PARA membership is required to race in Pennsylvania, and the membership can be obtained when you register for USSA. For more information, please visit: paracing.org

Like most sports for junior competitors, ski races are divided by age group to ensure fair competition. Until U21, racing groups are divided into two year groups (U21 includes 18, 19, and 20). For example, if your racer turned 13 this year, he or she would be racing in the U14 group. It is important to note that neither HVRC nor USSA encourages racers to ski in groups above their actual age group. For the USSA age chart, please refer to: usskiandsnowboard.org

Open Cup races are hosted by HVRC and provide a timed giant slalom race opportunity for club members as well as the public. All club members are encouraged, but not required to race. Awards for the top three times in each age group are given at the end of the race. Parents are expected to help in the setup, timing, and teardown of the race course.

The goal of the club is to prepare its members to compete in USSA Alpine ski races, and therefore our training is designed for that purpose. However, we have a number of members, especially younger skiers who do not race. The coaches will work with each skier to develop a training and practice program that works for them.

There are lots of opportunities to help the club. For each practice, we need to set up equipment on the mountain before the practice starts, and remove all gates and markers at the end. We also need volunteers to help during open cup races, including setup, teardown, registration, timing, coat running and awards. No prior experience is necessary! If you want to become more involved, just ask one of the coaches or board members.

HVRC recommends that all racers go through baseline concussion testing prior to the race season. Many contact sports like soccer and football already require a baseline test to be done before participation. By establishing an athlete’s baseline, medical professionals can more easily diagnose the severity of an injury and recommend appropriate treatment. HVRC suggests you consult your primary care physician, or look online for facilities that handle baseline testing. HVRC does not recommend any specific providers of this service, but here are a couple of links to regional providers: upmc.com and impacttest.com

When you apply for USSA membership, you will be required to read and sign off on the USSA Concussion Policy. In case you missed it, you can read it here: ussa.org. You should also be aware that our coaches follow the USSA guidelines. If we witness or hear of a racer exhibiting concussion symptoms, we are required to remove the racer from practice and/or race activities until a qualified physician has examined and released the racer for physical activity. We are also required to report the event to USSA, and submit a copy of the physician’s release before the racer can participate in USSA/HVRC activities.

In addition to club practice sessions, we recognize that our racers are quite active on the slopes after practice, and falls do occur. If you notice concussion symptoms at home, we encourage a proactive stance, and have your racer evaluated as soon as possible