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U14 Alpine Race Team

Abenaki U12 Program philosophy – Skills acquisition and application to racing


Athletes in the Abenaki U14 ski racing program will continue on the two-year plan to develop properly for the next level of competition. The range of physical and mental maturation at this level can be broad, so it is the responsibility of the coaches to design each athlete's seasonal plan based on their individual goals and needs.

At this level, the fundamentals of slalom (SL), giant slalom (GS), and speed skills are built on and patterned toward mastery. The coaches focus on developing technically proficient skiers before developing fast ski racers. Athletes at this age need to focus on skiing fast and well, not just fast. This will provide them with the necessary tools and skills to succeed at the next level and beyond.

For the athletes to be successful on snow, it is imperative that the team be a cohesive unit, supporting each other and working towards developing a solid team environment. This includes training and competing as a group at races.

Racing at this level is focused on the process and training involved in preparation for the event, not on the result. Athletes are encouraged to learn to train with purpose and to put in the energy and work to achieve their personal goals.

Development Program Overview

Physical Goals

  • Athletes at all levels will participate in a structured dry land training program designed and supervised by the coaching staff.

  • Dry land training focuses on developing agility, balance, coordination, aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

  • Athletes should have the strength and positive mental attitude required to meet the needs of on hill training and the racing schedule.

  • Athletes must have the endurance necessary to train and race the entire season.

  • Athletes should participate in a variety of sports and cross training activities.

  • Ensure that the focus remains on FUN!

Equipment Maintenance

  • A training session will be set aside where athletes will be given an opportunity to bring in equipment for fit and functional evaluation by the coaching staff.

  • A “tuning” clinic will also be part of the dry land training schedule.

  • Athletes and parents are encouraged to participate.

  • For athletes to execute the drills and ski to their fullest potential, they must have equipment in top condition, that means safe equipment with sharp edges and boots that fit properly.


  • Athletes will be provided with the tools necessary to develop mental training skills appropriate to their level, including but not limited to: visualization, focus, relaxation, positive self talk as well as the development of pre run training routines and pre race routines.

  • Athletes will be encouraged to set personal goals for the season.

  • Athletes will be introduced to goal ladders.

On Snow Training and Racing

  • The racing schedule is set by the NH Alpine Racing Association (NHARA) and the training schedule is built to prepare the athlete for the upcoming race culminating with the Qualifying Races for his or her age group.

  • Each training session will be designed with a specific purpose and goal.

  • Basic skills must be mastered before advanced topics are introduced.

  • Athletes enter each race with the goal of improving their performance in a specific area.

  • Achieving personal goals are more important than overall results.

  • Athletes may have differing training and racing needs dependent on their current stage of development.

Training and Racing – NHARA Competition

  • The basic program for each Abenaki athlete will consist of a series of “Open” races, “Qualifying” races and Championship competitions based on the skier’s level.

  • The races supported by the ABENAKI coaching staff are listed on the yearly race calendar.

  • The races selected normally take place within ABENAKI’s NHARA division (Central Division).

  • The selection of races is important to ensure that athletes are given every opportunity to fulfill their individual goals.

  • The program is designed with flexibility in mind to accommodate varying participant and family needs.

  • Races on the calendar are recommended by the coaching staff, it is the decision of the parent and the athlete as to whether they attend the race.

Development Goals USSA Phase 3



  • General Focus - Tactical stage - Application of technical skills to Event/Discipline specific tactics.

  • Athletic Stance and Balance - Utilizes tip pressure at turn initiation to create a carved turn and fall line pressure. Can give self feedback in regard to rotational balance. Ability to adjust edge angle to required turn radius and maintain a strong outside leg to resist turn forces. Can separate arm action from torso. 

  • Skills (Rotary Edging and Pressure - Round turns are enhanced through fore/aft pressure regulation and progressive edging. Rotation comes from the hip and can be combined or separated with edge release skills.

  • Turn Strategies - Can ski medium terrain with pressure in the fall line and learn to apply fall line pressure in steep terrain with minimal speed loss. Skiers understand the relevance of skidding vs. non-skidding skis.

  • Coordination of Movement - Upper body remains quiet in space resulting from an equal and opposite contribution relative to the lower body. Arm action is independent of torso. Moving into and out of tuck does not influence ski to snow pressure.


  • Terrain - High intensity and more complex movement patterns are mastered. Dynamic and complex movement patterns are emphasized to achieve a desired outcome on specific terrain and features. 

  • Tech/GS and Slalom - Slalom gate clearing demonstrates a separation of the clearing arm from the skier's torso.

  • Speed/DH and SG - Can smoothly transition between tuck positions. Turns in a tuck position are smooth with appropriate edge pressure allowing the skis to glide as much as possible.

  • Course Sets - Skis a variety of training courses that introduce line and tactics through self-discovery. Introduce more tactical focused drill courses. slalom and GS training courses that have variety.

  • Competition Strategies - Trains and competes in all events. Continue drill based courses to teach technical and/or tactical topics.

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