1. How do find out about this Schedule of BST Supported Races or a list of other activities?
If you click on the Enhanced Tab in the BST website, bradfordskiteam.com, you will see choices for both.
2. How do you register for one of the Enhanced races and is there a deadline for doing so?
If you see a race on our Enhanced schedule, the “Schedule of BST Supported Races,” there is a link (the blue underlined words) that will take you directly to the appropriate website. As for a deadline, that will be listed but please do not wait until the last minute. Most USSA races (which all of these are) have caps and some tend to fill up very quickly.
3. If racing is the fastest person to the finish, going around gates, aren’t gates important?
Yes, they are but the skills involved in skiing must be developed first. Think of it this way, if a person is snow-plowing and another racer is carving the same course, who would be faster? The one carving, obviously, right? Why? The skill level of the one carving is higher than the one snowplowing, regardless of how good or bad the line. As the technical skills continue to improve, the racer becomes faster and faster and the line almost automatically improves. Again, this does not work the other way around.
4. If technique is stressed over tactics, are courses ever set for Enhanced practices?
Yes. Early season practices at northern mountains don’t use gates. This time is used to focus on the skiing. As the season progresses and practices are held at Bradford (where we can set gates,) more likely than not, a course will be set. However, there are times that it is much more beneficial to forego the gates and just work on the basic skills. If you aren’t convinced that this works, take a look at the results… they speak volumes.
5. If a racer is not one of the top racers, can they still benefit from the program?
Absolutely. One of the main coaching concepts of the team and of the Enhanced Group is to coach the individual. While everyone may be working on the same technical skill or tactics, there are different skill levels involved. The point is to work with each racer for personal improvement regardless of where he/she may fall on the results page. While ski racing with the EMBWL is a team event, it must not be forgotten that ski racing is, in fact, an individual sport.
6. What day/time are practices? (Even if it's not set in stone you can say "generally?”)
This is almost impossible to answer with any certainty because there is no way to know what the hill obligations will be outside of regular BST practices. Many teams and schools also use Bradford as a practice venue which does not leave much open time on the hill. When the Enhance can arrange for the hill, often knowing only a day or two ahead of time, it may be possible to try to schedule a practice. That said, the Enhanced Group does go up north starting as early as snow and conditions allow, as early as mid-November through December.
7. Do you have to attend all the Enhanced practices?
The simple reply is, “No,” but look at it this way. Even the most self-motivated stickler for structure benefits from accountability. When someone is waiting to ask you why you skipped your workout or bailed on practice, you’re more likely to get it done. This shouldn’t be viewed punitively, but rather that we are in this together: Coaches dedicate their time and the practices are designed to be a pathway to lead the racer to success. For it to work we need you to do your part, which means doing the workouts, eating right, going to sleep, and communicating frequently.
8. How many extra races are there and where have they been in the past?
The “extra races” are the USSA Tri-State races, in both Massachusetts and Connecticut, which differ in number by the U group of the racer, and a few late season races, normally in New Hampshire. The actual number probably ranges between 7 and 10, depending on U Group.
9. Do we have to race in the USSA races?
No, those are options for those racers interested in trying longer, more challenging courses that can be found at larger venues. The term “higher level races” is discouraged because it is the course, the terrain, that may be more challenging. While the competition may be tighter with a larger number of racing vying for the top podium spots, Bradford Ski Team members have proven to be fierce and top-notch competitors and bringing home some “hardware.”
10. Is the skier/coach ratio smaller?
This a strange question since most people have no idea of what the skier/coach ratio is or what it should be nor do they understand that the quality of the coach and the skill of the racer is much more important than the ratio. This "ratio" seems to be a catch phrase rather than anything else. For more in depth information on this, contact the Head Coach.
11. Is the coaching different (are they higher level coaches?)
The coach is a huge part of the equation and the reason behind why BST continues to emphasize a constant need for more and better trained coaches. Parents are fine for a lot of things and are very useful during practices but, no offense, they are not certified coaches.
Currently Errol Parachojuk, the Assistant Head Coach, and Ed “Animal” Bassett, the Head Coach, are the only coaches used for the Enhanced training and/or races. Animal is a USSA Level 300 coach while Errol is a USSA Level 200 coach and halfway through receiving his Level 300.
12. Is the focus more on technique and not just learning how to race?
This question may be a bit misleading because learning technique, in our case, is learning how to race. We are a race team and not a “learn to ski program.” If this refers to gate time as "learning how to race," that puts a different spin on things. So, the answer would be NO. Don't be alarmed because technique is always emphasized over tactics and learning technique is learning how to race. Maybe a bit simplistic, but if you can't ski, you'll never be able to race. Sure, you can go around gates but that doesn’t equate as racing.
The BST slogan is...
Good skiers make good racers...
Great skiers make Great racers!
See the difference? The entire Bradford Ski Team Race Program is built around, and adamant about, improving the skiing.... As a racer moves from U group to U group, skill progression is made outside of the gates, the racer will start seeing better results (race times) inside of the gates… in the course and in the races.
Improvements cannot and do not happen the other way around. If you want to run gates all the time, as many parents think is the way it should be and the way it has been in the past, even in the BST, the racer will either regress, not improve, or improve more slowly that his/her counterparts. That is why the Enhanced Group may not be for everyone if gates are the primary concern.
13. Is it worth the extra money?
Money and the “bang for the buck” are always important. The best way to answer this question is to have you ask around. Ask others that have been in the Enhanced group. Ask our BST racers who have qualified for the Piche Invitational or those racers who have returned from the Piche with a trophy. Ask racers who have “graduated” from the BST and are now racing for their high school team or have joined one of the large northern programs.
While making this decision, keep in mind, BST (Enhanced) racers, all told, have brought home 14 trophies from the Piche, been members of high school state champion teams, been individual high school state champions in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and qualified and/or been invited to USSA/Tri-State Post Season events.
14. If we can’t join the Enhanced Group for whatever reason, what do you suggest?
GREAT QUESTION! The answer… ski… ski… ski… ski… ski as often as possible and wherever possible. While no one is going to concentrate on dedicated practice all the time, put aside some time each time you’re on snow to work on something specific – something that one of the coaches has provided feedback and given suggestions. Just get out there and ski, put the miles on… and… have fun!
15. In general, what is the difference between registering for BST and Enhanced?
You register for either the general team or for both the regular team and the Enhanced (for an additional amount.) Check the registration page for the figures.