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Vermont U8 Ski Race Programs - Recommendations?

JJMcClure

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My son will be 6 in December and we are looking for a 2-day weekend race program. I have some information about Bromley's program, which I liked, and have seen the kids ski in the Okemo program, which looked very good. He is solid on the required skills to enter the program but would be on the young side. We are coming from Connecticut, so Okemo, Bromley are closest, Northern VT would be a stretch. I would be grateful for any info folks may have. Thanks very much!
 

Newpylong

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What about Southington or Sundown or even the places in the Berkshires? Not sure about U8 (that is really young) but they all had strong youth race programs when I was growing up in Tristate.
 

JJMcClure

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I had not considered those because I had assumed they had limited terrain (family of 5 skiers) and shorter seasons, but I will look at them at your recommendation. We'd also like to join a program that we can continue with as he gets older. We also ski Vermont a lot. Thanks!
 

mister moose

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CT ski season is about 2nd or 3rd week of December to mid March. The advantage is frequency, if he'll ski more because it's closer, that's a big plus. If you're already in VT a large number of days, then you get bigger vertical, longer season, better snow, etc.

When you say "Weekend Program" do you mean a one weekend race camp, or a season long every weekend program? If the latter Killington Ski Club has a youth program. Dr Jeff should chime in, he has kids that race and is Mt Snow based.
 

WoodCore

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What about Southington or Sundown or even the places in the Berkshires? Not sure about U8 (that is really young) but they all had strong youth race programs when I was growing up in Tristate.

I would concur with this suggestion. Having coached for many years in Southern New England (20+) many of these small areas have great programs and offer outstanding coaching. IMHO opinion and it is bias (grew up racing at a CT area) the smaller local areas, especially at an early age provide increased benefit to skier development as compared to the bigger neighbors to the north. At that young age, the small ski areas provide perfect terrain too develop critical skill sets and a more personal experience.
 

drjeff

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Full on dual U16/19 and highschool racer parent here, CT resident (out in the Northeast Corner) as well as Mount Snow 2nd home owner where both my kids started as U10's in the Mount Snow Alpine Comp team and have continued up to this season where *hopefully* if Alpine racing can happen it will be my daughter's 9th year and sons 8th year in the Mount Snow program which is part of the Southern VT Council of VARA (Vermont Alpine Racing Association) of which Bromley, Magic, Stratton, Willard, NY and maybe even once again the Hermitage are a part of as well. In addition to being familiar with the Mount Southington Program as that's where my kids highschool races are held

The Bromley Outing Club has a very solid program for sure, with lots of family involvement, same with Magic's program for the U10 and under young racers. The Stratton and Mount Snow programs, while solid, do have some more "drama" around them at times if I am totally honest.

Southington runs a GOOD program, with solid coaches, and with the size of the hill, racers get a ton of training laps in. Southington is part of the tri-state league, which races with mountains in Mass and RI as well as CT.

Not sure where in CT you live, but the programs in Mass out of Wachusett, Jiminy, Butternut, and Berkshire East are solid as well at most any USSSA age group level.

With the COVID-19 uncertainty from an operations standpoint for this coming season, a smaller area, might actually end up with more option for a developing young racer!

Enjoy the journey! It's a blast, and I can't believe that the reality is that my kids are most likely closing in on the end of their junior racing careers, as it seems like just yesterday I was taking my oldest to her 1st U10 race, which was at Stratton, and that was in January of 2012!!

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using AlpineZone mobile app
 

JJMcClure

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Wow, thank you for all of that info! Bromley/Okemo are ~3 1/2 hrs. I will look at the others - Mt Snow would be closer ~3hrs. Good to know there are more local options, if we burn out on the weekend, 3hr drives. Fingers crossed for a full season, good luck!
 

JJMcClure

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I am going to look at the local programs also (they were not on my radar before). He would be on the young side so more attention would matter, particularly in his first year.
 

Smellytele

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My suggestion is don't do it. You will spend the next 10 years of your life standing watching gates and not skiing. I am a selfish jerk so don't listen to me. :)
 

boston_e

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Our kids have had an amazing experience in the Pico Ski Club program. The U8 coaches are amazing people. Really great people at every age level.

With that said... my guess is there will unfortunately not be any programs anywhere this winter given the virus situation.
 

JJMcClure

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We love Pico! From the website it looked like the U8 program was shorter than others (~2hrs vs ~4hrs) - maybe that was the intro program - we'd love to make that work. He is interested in freestyle (although has not done any kind of slalom), but most programs do not offer freestyle at 6 years old. Our interest is to get him first-rate instruction and let him gravitate toward what he is most interested in.
 

boston_e

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We love Pico! From the website it looked like the U8 program was shorter than others (~2hrs vs ~4hrs) - maybe that was the intro program - we'd love to make that work. He is interested in freestyle (although has not done any kind of slalom), but most programs do not offer freestyle at 6 years old. Our interest is to get him first-rate instruction and let him gravitate toward what he is most interested in.

I believe the U8 and the U8+ is generally morning only, but if I'm remembering correctly from when our kids were that age they have an "extended day" option for kids that have the stamina for it. We never did the afternoon option at that age as we found the mornings only a perfect balance where we got some family skiing time in after lunch.
 

slatham

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Although I only had a few years involvement with BOC (my daughter started late) they are a fantastic group of administrators, coaches, kids and parents. It also appears - from my limited experience and what others have said - that it is a bit more laid back and family friendly (aka less drama) than some of the other programs (I've heard the same about Magic).

I've also had numerous discussions with colleagues with young kids in the NYC area looking to get into programs. Two things I would note:

1) As far as the racing experience, especially for a 6 year old, the size of the mountain is irrelevant. The smaller, local areas have great programs and enough terrain etc (This might not hold for the non-racing members of the family who will free ski).

2) If you plan to drive each day you should definitely stay local. Even with a second home at Bromley, driving up each weekend, training, racing, driving to other area races etc was a lot. If you are doing day trips with a 6 year old I would limit the driving time.

It is a lot of fun. I wish I had been more persuasive earlier on with getting my kids into racing.
 

JJMcClure

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Thank you for this info. I stopped by the BOC hut last season and spoke to the director who was so helpful and inspiring - I could tell that it was a 1st class program. It is comforting to know that there are a lot of quality programs in the area. I told my wife that I finally found a great forum - people like me who think about skiing in the 80* weather!
 

JJMcClure

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My suggestion is don't do it. You will spend the next 10 years of your life standing watching gates and not skiing. I am a selfish jerk so don't listen to me. :)

Haha, I appreciate your candidness - and now I have that playing like a stale tune in back of my head!
 

thetrailboss

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I'm not sure how serious you are, but if you are very serious about racing then you have to consider Burke Mountain and its program. It is a feeder for BMA. It is not "that" much further considering it is almost all interstate driving on I-91.
 

thetrailboss

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We love Pico! From the website it looked like the U8 program was shorter than others (~2hrs vs ~4hrs) - maybe that was the intro program - we'd love to make that work. He is interested in freestyle (although has not done any kind of slalom), but most programs do not offer freestyle at 6 years old. Our interest is to get him first-rate instruction and let him gravitate toward what he is most interested in.

Pico is a well-established program as well.
 
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