Frequently Asked Questions

First, be supportive of your child.  Reinforce good behavior or goal accomplishments.  Don’t criticize skiing skills or lack of achievement.  Don’t become an instructor or coach during free skiing time—ski with your children to have some fun.  Lessons or tips you give may undo things which the coaches are working on with your child.  Ask your child to show off what they have learned or what they like to do the best.  If you have questions on the learning or development process for your child, please talk to the Head Coach—don’t discuss these items with your child.  Complete goals and instructional plans will be communicated to you in the detail you wish—please ask.

Second, we need your assistance and help with the details of running the racing team.  We use parent assistance as gate judges, score posters, registration workers, timers and other miscellaneous jobs.  We sometimes run fundraisers to offset expenses of equipment purchases, trophies, medals and for the racers.  Please volunteer for other jobs such as publicity, team record keeping, etc.  We have an important job for everyone.  Each administrative task performed by parents releases the director and coaches to provide more direct assistance to the racers.  ALL parents are required to help.  Information about volunteer responsibilities will be provided throughout the race season.

Yes, but please be discrete in such activities.  Observing from a safe distance ensures that your child will undertake the activity as an individual—not as a child under your wing.  Sometimes learning will be delayed if parents are too close to the action.

Races are a different matter!!  We encourage you to watch and support the racers during race activities—including NASTAR runs that are often held at Cascade at the end of clinic sessions.  Please remember that all coaching and teaching has been accomplished prior to your child entering the race or NASTAR run.  Races are for showing off new skills.  Encouragement and positive reinforcement are the order of the day.  Even a run ending in a powder dusting had great moments prior to disaster!  Such time is for a hug and a “nice try,” not emphasis on what went wrong.  The coaches will have some pointers for your racer.  Your job is to cultivate a positive self-image.  The worst race course time of the day can be great if the effort was great—it’s our basic philosophy and it works in the long run.

Your child will be learning technical skiing skills and racing techniques and tactics.  Under Technical Skiing Skills we will attempt to develop skiing and motor skills such as:

  • Body position—balance, agility and coordination
  • Independent leg action
  • Edge control
  • Pressure control
  • Weight transfer
  • Steering and gliding

In Techniques and Tactics you child will be learning:

  • Basic racing terms and situations:  open, closed, oblique, hairpins, GS, Slalom, DH, ruts, above/below, through gates, and other items.
  • Timing and line in racing courses,
  • Start and finish techniques and tactics,
  • Slalom, Giant Slalom and an introduction to Downhill,
  • Fun and friendly competition.

In addition, safety and good judgment will be stressed in all learning situations.

The best progress report is self generated by the parents.  Watch your child ski prior to or on the first day of the program.  Come regularly to see the drastic skiing skills improvements.  Better yet, video tape the first and the last race day and watch for skills improvements.  The next best thing is to talk with the coaches.  The coaches give verbal progress reports near the finish line of the racecourse each day.  Look for your child’s coach and ask for a report or for an explanation as your child skis the racecourse.

NASTAR scores are one way to measure achievement throughout the season.  The Handicap (or percent slower than the top U.S. Ski Team member would have skied the course) should improve during the season.  Ask your racer for his or her initial handicap and check on it during the season.  You will likely see progress, although, be careful to allow for learning plateaus.  You will likely also see more medals or a higher caliber of medals as the season progresses.  It is fun to keep NASTAR medals on a racing banner hung on the wall (write a date next to each so you can see the progress.)

We have our own meeting place which is away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds.  ROB’S ROOST is located at the bottom of Ptarmigan run, just a short walk away from the main lodge.  Boots, skis, and lunches should be brought to the Roost in the morning.  We always meet there during the Holiday Clinic and on Saturdays before beginning the day at Cascade.  Parents are welcome to accompany racers to the Roost to get filled in on the day’s activities. The Roost opens just before 9, practices start at 9 on Saturdays and 9:30 on Sundays. Arrival in time to change boots and have some fun with friends is recommended.  Weekday practices begin at 5:30 with the racers meeting at Rob’s Roost beforehand.

The Head Coach is usually available to parents 15 minutes before start times and again at the end of the clinics.  The staff becomes extremely busy scheduling coaches, handling racers and other details involved with running the day’s activities prior to sessions. Please be patient if you run into a busy time.    The Head Coach will also be happy to pre-schedule as much time as you wish for any meeting or feedback on your child.  The Saturday Clinics wrap up about 12:00 noon, but most of the racers eat lunch at the Roost and continue free skiing in the afternoon.

If you arrive late we may already be on the hill.  If so, please find a coach or the Roost attendant and they will radio your child's coach.  Have your child ready to ski.  Do not leave younger racers until a coach stops or an older racer stops and volunteers to take your child to the coach.

The coach in charge MUST be told you are arriving so he can get your child into the proper activity group for the day.  We are not hung up on timing—there are no penalties to be feared for occasional problems—we want your child to participate.  We do appreciate promptness as a courtesy to all participants, however.  As you are likely aware, we can not be responsible for children who have not checked in with a coach and are not participating in the program.

Practices and races are NOT mandatory. Many of our team members live long distances from Cascade.  Try to attend as many practices as possible, but there is no penalty for missing practice.  WIJARA races are optional, although highly encouraged to reward all of the hard work put into practices.


  1. A pair of GOGGLES is required for racers.  This is for eye safety.  A light colored lens or a clear lens is best for racing.  A goggle with an interchangeable lens is best, but not required.  Take an amber lens over a dark green if making a choice.  Helmets have tooth/face guards in many cases–these are recommended, especially for older racers who may hit gates during slalom runs.
  2. Race HELMETS are also required during all clinics and at races.   Helmets must be hard sided race helmets and are a good safety investment that should fit snuggly. Racers are encouraged to wear helmets even while they are “free skiing.” See the Head Coach if you have any questions.

IMPORTANT:  Helmets must be worn while participating in any team activities, including free skiing at away races.  Infractions of the helmet rule may disqualify the racer from team participation.

Socks are also an important comfort item.  One pair of medium or light wool socks in ski boots!  NO COTTON SOCKS–they hold moisture and make feet cold.  Wool ski socks are available at the Cascade Mountain ski shop or all good ski stores.  Thick hunting socks are usually too bulky and cause problems.  Other clothing should include a ski jacket, gloves or mittens (wind proof type–not knit gloves or mittens), bibs or ski pants, and most importantly a helmet liner for extremely cold days.  Equipment should be of good quality and checked for safety, especially the ski bindings.  The coaching staff will conduct a clinic for parents on keeping skies waxed and sharpened.  Advice on specific equipment can be obtained from the Head Coach–please do not over buy equipment, which may hinder skiing progress of your racer.

First, fill out the question on the medical release form so we have it in writing to pass on to all staff. If other children should know of a medical condition relating to your child, we will schedule a meeting so you can share all the information needed.  Secondly, tell the Head Coach about any special needs.  Hints on your child’s personality are helpful to the coaches—tell the Head Coach and he will brief the other coaches.

Coaches are members of the Cascade Mountain Ski School–Ski instructors.  They are up to date on the latest skiing and racing techniques as well as techniques of working with and handling younger skiers.  The coaches are under the supervision of the Head Coach who plans the curriculum, supervises the coaches and also does advanced or special instruction.  If your child has a problem with some aspect of skiing, please contact the Head Coach who will make sure they receive some extra attention.

If any problems arise in relationships with either other children or any of the coaches, please contact the Head Coach.  We have solutions for almost all problems.  Please remember children learn much from skiing with better skiers–encourage your child to ski with the coaches and/or older racers.  Our formal ski lessons/clinics do not signal the end of our teaching day.  After practice coaches are often available to free ski with racers (Moms and Dads, too).

Yes, a number of our Cascade racers compete in USSA (United States Ski Association) races.  USSA involves a great deal of travel and extra expenses.   If you would like to learn about this advanced race program, please see the Head Coach for information.  A number of our Cascade racers have gone on to compete in the Junior Olympics through USSA.  High school aged racers can also compete in the high school race league.