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The U12 program is designed to continue development of the athletes’ basic skiing fundamentals through free skiing, drill work, drill courses, gate training, and an introduction to video analysis. Strong skiing skills are a prerequisite with an emphasis on the ability to carve. At this level, there is an increase in the teaching of race tactics and competition but basic skiing fundamentals and free skiing will continue to be the primary focus. The U12 age class will also be introduced to speed elements training. There are various Southern Vermont Council races scheduled for this age group that the athletes are expected to attend.

Typical equipment needs for this group include: Helmet (no ‘soft ears’), slalom protection gear, a GS suit, and properly sized current slalom and giant slalom skis. Athletes must be members of the Vermont Alpine Racing Association (VARA) and US Ski & Snowboard.

Requirements: VARA Membership, US Ski & Snowboard, Helmet (no ‘soft ears’)

Times: 8:30am to 3pm (Lunch 11:30am to 12:30pm)

U12 Plan 2/15-2/18 2019

Hi Team 12:

Great race for many this weekend on the home hill! If you feel that you did not have a successful day, do not worry about it.  Ski racers fall and make mistakes all the time.  Whether good or bad, race results should be left behind and you should re-focus every week to try to get better.

I think we made some good headway in our effort to race hard and not be intimidated by the moment on race day.  We still have some work to do in that department, and in actuality, race day performance is something that you will be trying to master throughout your ski racing career.  In general, many of you were able to ratchet up the intensity and "go for it" more than in the past.  Now, let's get everyone involved and have SWSC known across the board as kids who are always trying to go fast!  The best way to do that is to go hard in training.  Going hard will mean different things to different people depending on your experience, but as a bottom line, let's focus on exaggerating the recommended moves and creating bigger angles and bigger pressure.

We do not have races the next two weekends, so it gives us an opportunity to get a good training block in especially since we have a four day weekend coming up.  Take advantage of this mid-season racing lull and try to make some significant changes in your skiing. We will primarily focus on GS this weekend and primarily focus on slalom next weekend.  However for variety sake, we'll train some slalom this Friday and then move to two days of GS and then back to slalom on Monday.


Here's the schedule:

Friday 2/15, slalom skis and slalom training.

Saturday 2/16, GS skis and GS training and drills

Sunday 2/17, GS skis and GS training and drills

Monday 2/18, slalom skis and slalom training and drills

Reminder: Sharp skis are critical, so make sure that you arrive every day with tuned skis. Given the rain we have had this winter, there is a thick layer of ice beneath the surface, even with the new snow we just received.  That ice will likely be there for the remainder of the season and the only way to attack it is with sharp skis.

That's it for now.  Email us with any question.  Looking forward to a great long weekend.

U12 Coaches

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U12 Plan 2/8-2/10 2019

Hi Everyone:

We are sticking with GS again this weekend as we have a race on Sunday 2/10 on our home hill.  Last weekend  we had some nice results at Mt. Snow, and as importantly I think we all learned a little more about this complex sport of ski racing.

A couple of notes based upon observations at the race.  Everyone has made a significant amount of progress with their skiing this season so far, and most have been able to translate that progress into the gates when training.  The next step, and make no mistake this is another step, is to translate the gains we have made in training to race day.  There is something about race day that is different which causes many of us to seize up, both physically and mentally, and not ski as well as we do in training.  This is common and practically universal.  Let's all commit to working on our race day focus with particular attention to our line on race day, as many of us had line related problems.  Let's also continue to work on technical focus on race day.  By that I mean let's hang on to our primary technical focus from the previous day of training and remind ourselves of a singular technical item as we approach the start.  Of course we are trying to go as fast as we can, but if we completely disregard all of the technical items we have worked on when we get to the race, the all too common result is that our skiing on race day regresses and as a result we do not ski as well as we do in training.

Secondly, we all need to try to be a little more organized with our equipment and clothing.  First, make sure that your name is on all of your equipment and clothing, and when you go to put on a pair of skis, make sure they are yours.  With respect to clothing, give yourself plenty of time to take off your outer layers at the start, and make sure to stay warmed up after you take off your jackets.  Push ups, jogging, lunges etc. Also, given the large number of kids in our group, it is impossible for the coaches at the top to bring down clothing.  Plan on going back to the start to retrieve your clothes every run.  We had some kids who simply left their clothing at the top after their second run last weekend.  If it is cold out, bring an extra jacket and leave it at the finish line in a back pack so you can wear it on the way back up.

Here's the training plan:

Friday, 2/8, GS skis, WEATHER WARNING: It looks rainy which may limit our ability to run gates. We will be out there, but we may be free-skiing all or part of the day.  We will set gates if it is possible.

Saturday, 2/9GS skis, GS training

Sunday, 2/10, GS Race at Stratton, Register in west wing of base lodge between 7:30 and 7:45 AM.  Meet coaches in usual spot outside snow sports building at 8:20 ready to go.  It is recommended that you bring lunch and backpacks up to mid mountain lodge and plan on not going all the way to the base between runs.



MINI-CAMP 2/11-2/12, Sign up at www.gosms.org/smsdevocamps

That's it for now.  Email us with any questions.  Shout out to Roman Okie who had an injury last Sunday.  We are all wishing you a speedy recovery Roman!

U12 Coaches



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U12 Plan Feb. 1-3, 2019

Hi Team 12,

Great showing last weekend at Bromley! I was impressed by how attentive everyone was during inspection and all of the good questions which were posed. It showed the coaches that you all are progressing well on your race day preparation.  Establishing a plan of attack is a very important part of the race, so nice job to all.  My main suggestion now is that we need to focus on our concentration during the actual race runs and implementing the plan that you make during inspection.  You all will make errors in almost every race course, but minimizing those errors and staying disciplined in your skiing while in the race should be your next goal. A major part of being ready to race is the warm up run.  Make sure to get a good warm up in where you practice the type of turns that you will be making during the race, and when doing so, ski with "action" and make sure to pressure the skis enough so that you are controlling them.  It starts in training and focusing while training, so let's make that our goal this weekend, really focused training on Friday and Saturday before Sunday's race.

We move back to GS this weekend with a race at Mt. Snow on Sunday. Before that on Saturday at 5 PM there will be a pizza party and tuning clinic at the ski club room.  Here is the announcement from Christine Anderson who has been kind enough to organize that event:

Saturday, February 2nd will be the 1st U12 social event! Join us in the SWSC Club room (upstairs in the base lodge, above ticket windows) from 5-6:30 pm.  Please RSVP by FRIDAY, February 1st .   There will be pizza for all and non-alcoholic beverages. The club room has a strict no alcohol policy, so please be respectful of this. Grizzly’s will be open, so feel free to stop by there for a cocktail after our event!  There will also be an edge and base maintenance clinic for all parents and kids. Come to learn the basics of how to keep the kids skis sharp and fast!   Payment of $15 per family will cover it...please pay Christine Anderson (Ava’s mom), with cash that evening or you can use Venmo.com to pay direct at Christine-Anderson-81.
Please email a response to Christine Anderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following info:
Childs name
Parent name
How many will attend?
Here is this weekend's schedule:
Friday 2/1 GS skis and GS sectional training. Please RSVP
Saturday 2/2 GS skis, GS training
Sunday 2/3 GS race at Mt. Snow.  Arrive at Mt. Snow at 7:15 AM and register on the second floor of the base lodge. $35 entry fee.  Meet the coaches after registration on the second floor of the lodge, and we will inform you of the schedule for the day.  We will do inspection by station again, as it has been working well.
That's it for now.  Friday appears like it might be quite cold, so make sure to wear enough layers and bring hand warmers.  As always, tuned skis are very important, so make sure to take care of that for training and races.
Looking forward to seeing everyone either Friday or Saturday! Email us with any questions.
U 12 Coaches
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U12 Plan 1/25-1/27 2019

Hello U12 Team:

We had a nice weekend during which we got some good GS training in on Friday and Saturday and then a big powder day on Sunday.  There were even a few hearty souls who ventured out in the frigid cold on Monday!

We move back to slalom this coming weekend which culminates with a stubbie slalom race at Bromley on Sunday.  

The reason we train and race with stubbie gates rather than tall gates is to avoid the nearly universal problem of kids reaching across their body with the outside hand to block the gate when tall gates are set. Eventually and probably sooner rather than later we will be in tall gates, so let's try to practice good technique in stubbie gates and then maintain that technique when we do tall gates.  Here are some of the things we are looking for in both stubbie and tall gates:

1) Flexing the ankles and constant contact between the shins and the front of the boot; pushing forward with extreme knee angles in the turn but pressuring only the outside ski.

2) A quiet upper body with a forward tilt with hands up and in front of you.  Just because there is no blocking involved with stubbies is NOT a reason to have low hands.

3) A consistent and early pole plant/touch every turn.  The pole plant is made immediately after your inside knee hits the stubbie or immediately after you block the gate (if you are in tall gates), and it is a signal to MOVE to the new foot.  Without the pole plant there is not a signal to the body to move to the new foot and as a result you get late.

4) Upper body should be oriented down the hill relative to ski direction.  That does not mean that the upper body is always facing directly down the hill, but it does mean that the upper body from the apex of the turn onward should not be following the skis; it should be slightly more down the hill than the ski direction.  

I know, this is somewhat technical stuff, so ask the coaches about any of the above points if you have any questions.

It is important to practice the above skills all of the time when you are free skiing.  Start slowly, concentrate, feel the moves, and then gradually add speed.  In general many of us of waste a great deal of our runs before and after the course just bombing down without thinking about what we are doing at all and make turns which do not resemble those in the course.  Make the most of every run; don't just follow others who are not focusing.

Here's the plan for the weekend:

Friday 1/25, Slalom skis, stubbie and possibly some tall gate sections.  Pole plant focus. Please RSVP if you plan to attend the Friday session. FRIDAY RSVP

Saturday 1/26, Slalom skis, stubbie training. Pole plant, tight line and new foot focus.

Sunday 1/27, Stubbie slalom race at Bromley. Arrive at Bromley at 7:15 AM and register on the second floor of the base lodge.  Meet the coaches after registering.  We will stake out a section of the second floor.  Inspection and first run schedule will be announced by Bromley on Sunday morning.  We will be doing inspection by station as outlined in my last blog, just like we did at Magic.  Remember, a good warm up run or two when you focus on quick slalom turns, pole planting, and bringing your skis across the hill is critical before both the first run and the second run.  Also remember to operate on your own schedule, don't follow others who may have a much different start time.  It is everyone's responsibility to get to their start on time.

One final note; at Magic there were one or two of you who apparently had not yet signed up for VARA.  The folks at Magic were kind and permitted you to race and notified your parents.  Parents, if you haven't registered your child for VARA please do so right away and certainly before Bromley because they will likely not be able to race if they are not a member.  Their web site for registration is www.vara.org.  If you have any question about whether you are registered, please check the VARA web-site or call them.

That's it for now. Email me with any questions.  We're looking forward to seeing everyone again and having a great weekend of training and racing.

U12 Coaches



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U12 Plan Friday 1/18 through Monday 1/21 2019

Hello Team U12:

Nice job at the Magic duals! Once again our team scored many podiums, but as importantly there were several nice finishes and notable improvement by many others.  Remember, ski racing is a process of gradual improvement. It takes a lot of time on snow and repetition of moves until they become second nature.  We work hard in training and then with every race we try to do better than we did last time.  As you get closer to the top of the result sheet it is harder and harder to move up, and once on the podium, it is difficult to maintain your spot as there are many others gunning for the same spot.  However, that's what makes this a fun and challenging sport.  I'm really pleased with the effort most of you are putting forth, and if you are seeing improvement in your results, congratulations; you have worked hard to achieve your accomplishments.  If you have yet to realize improvement on the result sheet, remember it is still early in the season, and there is plenty of time for you to shine. Oftentimes it takes a while for improved skiing to translate into faster skiing.  The key is to keep working hard and to try new moves as recommended by the coaches which may well be out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, enjoy the process; thrive on the challenge whatever level you you are at right now.

One other note on the race.  We changed our usual inspection process last week.  I noticed that when we employed the system whereby many skiers would slip behind a single coach with the coach doing all of the talking, there were several kids who did not listen and really did not get a lot out of the inspection.  Last weekend we switched to a station inspection system where the coaches placed themselves at a certain part of the course and the kids spread out and slipped at their own pace and met the coaches at various stations and had a discussion about specific sections of the course.  This is a preferable and more productive system because it fosters independent thinking on the part of the racers where they are more active participants in making the plan for how to attack the course.  In this method we encourage the kids to ask questions and we will ask questions of them, and in so doing they will be better prepared and have their own individual plan.  I think it worked well, but it is critical for the kids to tune in and participate and run their own show rather than simply following others. 

One final note, we were scheduled to having a tuning education session and pizza party this Saturday, but with the pending storm that has been rescheduled.  Here is a note from Christine Anderson:

 Due to the snowstorm this weekend, the Tuning and Pizza event will be rescheduled for 2/2 from 5-6:30. All money collected will be held and if anyone can’t make it that has paid, please let Christine Anderson know - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   802-380-6940


We have a great opportunity for an extended training block this long weekend. Here is the plan, although depending on the snow it is subject to change.  Friday should be solid, but after Friday, make sure to check with the coaches to see if there is a change in the type of skis needed for the next day.

Friday 1/18, GS skis.  GS training and technical skiing.  RSVP Required: RSVP FORM

Saturday 1/19, GS skis. GS training

Sunday 1/20, slalom skis, slalom training or powder skiing depending on the snow situation.

Monday 1/21, slalom skis, drills and training.

Please read Dave Edry's note on tuned skis.  Bottom line, as we have said many times, sharp skis are critical, so make sure to take care of that before coming out for training.

That's it for now.  As always, feel free to email me with any questions.  Looking forward to seeing everyone again on either Friday or Saturday.  If you are planning on coming on Friday, please RSVP.  Thanks everyone.

U12 Coaches

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