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The Independence Racing Concept

Conceptual Underpinnings 

  • The odds of anyone making it to the US Ski Team are very small – the odds of creating kids with a lifelong love of skiing are very high.  That is our goal. 

  • Our athletic goal is to make racers faster while having lots of fun. 

  • Our long-term goal is to help mold solid citizens who love skiing and will pass the sport down to their own children. 

  • This team is designed to give any athlete a chance for success, regardless of financial status. 

  • Team members are drawn from the local area only. 

  • The children make the choice to join this team, not their parents. We want being a good racer to be important to the athlete. 

  • To be on this team, athletes must want to be fast and commit 100% to that goal. 

  • Members will treat each other with respect at all times.  We are a band of brothers who sometimes quarrel, but never let each other down. 

  • Our goal is to assemble a group of focused, fun loving, kids. We reserve the right to send anyone home who is detracting from the value of training.   

  • We choose families for membership, not athletes.  

  • Families have a role in making this concept work.  We always need help with fund-raising and also with setting training venues.  No one on this team draws a paycheck.  Each family is expected to participate in the team and share the work. 

  • In the long term, we anticipate coaches and administrators “graduating” with their kids.  That means we always need a flow of concerned and involved parents to keep this worthwhile community project afloat. 


Training Fundamentals 

  • We will ski in two to three groups, sometimes further sub-divided.  The two basic groups will be U14 and above and U10 and below. 

  • The members within the groups are at different stages of development.  Some activities lend themselves to group work, while others might only benefit selected members of the group.  We will work hard to meet each skiers needs.   

  • Success at this sport starts with lots of vertical feet… lots of ski days.  We won’t waste time.  We won’t wait for late arrivals. Call if you’re late, we’ll link-up. 

  • Most of our racers’ ski time will be spent skiing varied terrain and snow conditions while applying the same principles used in a racing turn.  Although we will do specific drills to accomplish specific goals, the emphasis will be on balance and confidence in all aspects of skiing. 

  • Model gates will be used to reinforce concepts.   

  • Gate training is necessary, especially for our older athletes. However, gates reduce the amount of vertical skied on a given day and sometimes cement bad habits.  There will be days when only the older group skis training courses.  We will also sometimes include selected members of the younger groups in these courses. 

  • Gate training will be scheduled in advance and organized in such a way to have the least effect on overall skiing time.   

  • Parents are asked to help set-up and tear-down on gate days.  Unlike most teams, we do not have a dozen coaches or teenagers to haul around the materials. 

  • There will be weeks where the only gates skied are at NASTAR, particularly for our younger athletes.  The team will fund all NASTAR expenses. 

  • Jumping is an important component of racer development!!!  We encourage jumps and tricks, however we will not allow inverted aerials during training. 

  • Most of our skiing is on unprepared (off piste) surfaces.  The exception is when we are in race courses or performing specific drills. 


Ski Races 

  • The number of recommended “race starts” will be based upon the number of total ski days.  With the Friday night series, five Emerald Empire League races and the NW Championships a YSL racer could find nearly 25% of his or her ski days devoted to racing.  This is counter- productive for our youngest athletes.  We would expect our youngest group to race most EEYSL races though. 

  • Coaches will talk directly with athletes and families regarding recommended race participation.  No one has to attend all of the races.  The idea is to find the mix that fits each athlete and family the best.  That said, this is a racing team. 

  • Race days are logistically intense.  The coaches are focused on safety, tactics and athlete preparation.  Younger athletes require parental support for all of the other stuff, such as remembering lift tickets, finding lunch, buckling boots, etc. etc. 

  • Athletes/families are responsible for pre-race ski preparation.  Coaches will have final wax applications available at the start line for athletes. 



  • Our team normally consists of roughly 10-15 members.  We are allowed 20, but prefer the smaller numbers.  

  • The Independence Racing Team is a Non-profit Organization, so donations are deductible. 

  • Independence is a fully registered and insured member of both the US Ski Association (USSA) and the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNW). 

  • Independence has a formal concession agreement with Schweitzer management.  

  • The team owns all of its own gates, drills and radios. 

  • The Director handles all administration, to include accounting, USSA registration, operating insurance, coaches’ training, rosters, schedules, race camps, league meetings, PNW liaison, etc. 

  • Members must register with USSA and PNSA during the month of June in order for our insurance to remain valid through the summer.  All athletes must be members of USSA.  The team will pay registration fees, funds permitting. 

  • The team pays all expenses except equipment and race entry fees. 

  • We have no uniforms.  Each new member will receive a hat.  Also, many of the members have embroidered their vests with our logo.  Beyond that, we’d rather put the money into wax and entries than uniforms.  We believe that it’s what’s in our hearts, not what’s on our backs, that makes us a team. 



  • All athletes train on Saturdays from 8:45 AM to 3 PM.  This schedule starts as soon as the mountain opens and ends in late March. 

  • Sunday training is always scheduled. The U14 and above group is expected to attend, barring family conflicts. Sunday training is always available for the younger groups, however we recognize many might be one day a week trainers.   

  • We will also have individual sessions on other days on request, with advance warning. 



  • Independence has several operating costs, as follows: 

- USSA Team Registration  

- PNSA Team Registration  

- Insurance  

- Coach Registration  

- Coach Continuing Education  

- USSA Racer Registration 

- NASTAR Registration 

- Equipment as required 

- Junior racer cost offset 

  • Several avenues exist for team fund raising, as follows: 

- Bonafide donations  

- Warren Miller  

- Great Outdoors Raffle  

- Any other idea you have 

  • Individual fund raising is also available to help off-set the expense of the sport 

  • Car Washes – We will start these in June.  Money earned must be used for specific ski related costs such as camps, season passes or equipment.  Participation is voluntary – I need to know who is participating by May each spring.  Priority of spots is to those invited to off-season training camps. 

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