U12 / U14 Race Program
This program is for kids who are interested and ready to commit to a more intense competitive program. The focus absolutely remains on having fun and developing fundamental skills. However, the level of competition kids will face in this league is decidedly greater than that of Interclub. As participants in this Tri-state series, kids are now part of the national talent development pipeline. As U12s and U14s in this program, our kids will begin to become eligible for training and racing selection and opportunities at a regional and national level.
While we encourage the drive to compete, to improve, and to win, we discourage premature focus on results and elite performance ambitions; more often than not, that approach backfires. If your child shows special promise, we nurture it but stay sober about it. As parents, it’s easy to get excited about the Olympic podium potential of a fast 12-year-old, but at that age (well, at all ages, really), it’s critical to keep it fun!
Our coaches focus first and foremost on improving our young athletes’ technique in short and medium radius carved turns. They will also be exposed to a variety of snow conditions and mixed terrain so that they can further develop an ability to be athletic, dynamic, and make tactical adjustments. Training includes freeskiing all over the mountain in every possible condition, drills to isolate and improve specific skills, and SL and GS gates. Physical conditioning and mental training are also introduced as ways to become better skiers and faster racers.
While it is not a prerequisite, most of these athletes have participated in our Devo and/or Interclub Programs, or they may have previous experience as a member of another program at another mountain. Ultimately, each child’s eligibility and fit with the USSA Program for U12s and U14s will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Training for this program is primarily on weekends, typically beginning approximately mid-December. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we typically offer additional training opportunities to team members. We also typically offer additional training opportunities during the Massachusetts public school holiday period in February.
A typical training day begins at 8:30am. Athletes are expected to help coaches set up and take down courses (only as directed). Athletes are also expected to perform routine stretching and warm-up activities before running a course. Practice usually wraps up at 3:00pm.
Athletes and coaches work together to develop mutual trust and respect. Athletes are expected to ask questions when they don’t understand or need clarification. Athletes are expected to keep coaches informed of any issues that may impact training or racing performance (e.g. homework, injury, lack of sleep, appointments and other obligations, etc.). It is the combined responsibility of coaches and athletes to make the most of each day out on the hill.
Training does not necessarily imply gates
Training activity may involve gates, fitness, video review, focused freeskiing, drills, powder skiing, glades, etc., at the discretion of the coaches.
Most athletes in this program compete in regular season USSA races in the Tri-state region. Most of these races are Slalom (SL) or Giant Slalom (GS). Please consult the coaching staff when considering participation in speed events or training.
U12 and U14 athletes generally compete in the same series of regular season races in Western Massachusetts against peers from other mountains. While some of these events are here on our home turf, parents should expect to take their children to other mountains for a number of races.
Families are responsible for registering their athletes for competitions.
Athletes have the opportunity to qualify for post-season events to represent the Berkshire East Ski Team and Tri-state at Eastern Regional and National Championships. More information about these events and the qualification methods is available on the Tri-state website and on the USSA Eastern Regional website.
The appropriate membership(s) need not be purchased before registering for the Berkshire East Program, but they must be purchased before participating in sanctioned events.
When registering with USSA, the athlete must designate Berkshire East Ski Team (BEST) as their program. Tri-state Membership will be processed automatically as a part of the USSA registration process.
Prices for May - August
After September 1st
After October 1st
After November 1st
*All Early Season Discounts will be applied at checkout
**Lift passes are not included in the program fee
A conditionally refundable deposit of $100 per family is required. If a family supports Berkshire East hosted events at least three times during the season, the deposit is refundable. This support may take the form of gatekeeping, back-up timing, writing times on the scoreboard, registration support, etc. Berkshire East typically offers incentives to parents who volunteer, such as lift ticket vouchers, mountain coaster tokens, etc.
Parents Association: All U12 & U14 parents are required to join the Parents Association, whose mission is to support the events and activities of the Berkshire East Ski Team in ways agreed upon with the director of the racing program. Active involvement among the parents helps build a strong culture within our community. The participation of parents provides families the opportunity to gain knowledge about our sport and helps parents understand how best to support their child’s ski racing activity.