Welcome to the Far West Masters! If you are a new visitor to our site, you may wish to visit the Information pages to learn more About masters racing. See the How To Join page for membership information and applications. We are open to all and welcome new racers!

Masters ski racing is the premier adult ski racing series in the country. We are governed by United States Ski Association (USSA), the sanctioning body in the US for organized ski racing at all levels from juniors up through international and Olympic competition.

Far West Masters organizes USSA masters competition in the Far West division. Our yearly schedule includes all disciplines (SL, GS, SG, and DH), with races held mainly at ski areas in the central Sierras. Racers from 21 to over 80 years old compete in ten-year age groups.

Top News Items

  • Buck Thys

    It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Buck Thys, a stalwart of Far West Masters Ski Racing. The following was written by Mark Mirviss:

    Far West Masters, and the entire ski racing community, lost a great friend and devoted ski racer this week. Buck Thys died January 28, 2016, at the age of 86.

    True to his love of our sport, Buck was out skiing on his slalom skis Monday, January 25th, a gorgeous sunny day on his home mountain of Squaw Valley. As Buck took off his skis on the deck of the locker room, he suffered a heart attack. Ski patrol, paramedics, and Doctor Rick Ganong immediately attended to Buck.

    Buck was flown by air ambulance to Reno, where he passed away, peacefully, at 6:30 PM, January 28, 2016. His entire immediate family had gathered in Reno and was at his side at the time of his passing.

    As sad as we all are, let's remember how much we loved Buck, and how much his love for skiing and ski racing brightened all of our lives. He has left a true and everlasting legacy in this sport, not only by his lengthy participation in it, but by introducing his wife, Nina, and all of their offspring, to this wonderful sport. Please take a moment to remember Buck, and keep Nina, Ann, Beatrice, Barry and Edith in your thoughts, and in your hearts.

    (Information on memorial service will be provided when available)


  • Sugar Bowl SL Races

    Despite another snowy weekend in the Sierras, the Sugar Bowl SL races were held on both Saturday and Sunday. Just in case the SL courses weren't challenging enough, competitors had to tackle winter travel conditions, traffic and chain controls, fog, soft snow, and a delayed start on Saturday due to icing problems with lifts. Congratulations to all who persevered to tackle the race courses!

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2016 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to switch to our new top-30 points scoring formula).


  • Sugar Bowl Race Info

    After a successful south shore event at Heavenly to open our January racing, our next event moves to Sugar Bowl at Donner Summit on the north shore for two days of SL racing on Sat-Sun Jan. 23-24. The new year has brought a steady series of snow-producing storms to the Sierras, so conditions should be excellent after our years of drought!

    Our SL races will be held on the DVR Left run (Dave Van Ruiten) in the Sugar Bowl race arena, accessed from the Christmas Tree lift. Race day checkin will be 7:30-8:30 am daily on the main floor of the Judah Lodge; racer lift tickets will be available downstairs at the Special Window in the Judah Lodge. Racers can base themselves from Mid Mountain Lodge during the day. Awards will be held at Judah Lodge, approx. 30 minutes following the races each day.

    Early registration deadline is Sunday evening 1/17, so please submit your entries on skiracereg.com/fw. Entry deadline is 9pm Thursday 1/21; you have until the entry deadline to cancel without charges, so if your plans are tentative submit your entry now and you can still cancel if necessary.

    After registration is closed Thursday evening, any late additions or withdrawals must be handled by contacting Sugar Bowl RA Kathy Williams at (775) 450-6028 or by email to raceadmin@charter.net. No day-of-race signups will be accepted - you must be registered no later than the day before the race. No entry fee refunds will be granted after close of registration unless the organizer is contacted with injury/emergency withdrawal request and agrees to waive charges.


  • Heavenly Viva Italia

    The annual Viva Italia event at Heavenly on Jan. 8-10 turned out to be an outstanding weekend of racing - great weather, fantastic racing conditions, and the return after many years of GS as part of this event. The race crew was a cooperative effort by Heavenly and Northstar and the blended team combined to put on an expertly run event.

    Friday opened with two SL races on World Cup run, which after a series of storms earlier in the week provided a gorgeous racing surface through all 4 runs - grippy but firm. Despite a morning delay to nudge the World Cup lift back into operation, competitors were able to get on the race hill for inspection via alternate lifts and once racing started there were smiles and sunshine a-plenty. The first race of the morning was also the Viva Italia trophy race, awarded to the fastest man and woman overall based on an age-handicapped formula. The 2016 winners winners are Deb Lewis (W08) and Pierre Jeangirard (M08). A highlight of day was the arrival of Viva Italia legend John Gianotti to hang out with everyone and watch the second race of the day.

    Saturday and Sunday inaugurated the return of GS racing at Heavenly on the East Bowl/World Cup track. Access to the GS start was via a groomed track down the face or around the front on the Roundabout traverse, so competitors had to plan their time management carefully, but once at the start the GS track was short time-wise but definitely challenging. The race surface was excellent and remained in great condition through two runs each day. Despite forecasts of snow showers on Saturday, the weather was clear and partly sunny through the weekend.

    Special welcome to all the new racers who came out this weekend and had the opportunity to compete on challenging and well-prepared courses.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2016 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to switch to our new top-30 points scoring formula).


  • Squaw SL Races

    Due to the unexpected pre-holiday illness of the Kangaroo lift, access to Alpine's SL hill for the Dec. 19-20 SL evnet was determined to be impractical and with the cooperation of the race and event staff at both areas the weekend races were moved to Exhibition (Julia's Gold) at Squaw. Early season conditions still prevailed as the SL start was moved down from the usual location on the road to the lower section of the hill where coverage was sufficient to hold the races.

    Snow was falling throughout Saturday's race as another welcome early season cold front moved through, but with no wind there was no difficulty getting the races off. The snow tapered off on Sunday, allowing for two good days of SL racing before everyone dispersed for the holiday break.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2016 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to switch to our new top-30 points scoring formula).


  • Alpine races moved to Squaw

    The slalom races scheduled for this coming weekend at Alpine are being moved to Squaw Valley. As some of you may have heard, the gearbox on the Kangarro lift blew and repairs cannot be completed until sometime next week. Far West Masters officers met with the Alpine race organizers on Tuesday to assess the feasibility of accessing the Kangaroo race hill from the Roundhouse lift, but the conclusion was that this alternate access plan was not a suitable route for competitor access.

    After consultation with the Race Director at Alpine and Event Services for Squaw Alpine, the decision is that the best alternative option is to move the races over to Squaw on the Exhibition race hill. We very much appreciate flexibility of the Squaw/Alpine race departments and events services and their cooperation in finding a solution that makes it possible to hold the races this weekend.

    Race day checkin will be 7:30-8:30 am daily on the ground floor of the Olympic House in the Squaw base complex (near the Wildflour baking shop, for those of you familiar with Squaw and looking for a convenient breakfast stop with your race day checkin!). First run will start at 10am both days. Access to Exhibition will be from the Red Dog lift - take Easy Street back to reach Exhibition, where the SL will be set on the lower section of the run below the summer road crossing.


  • Alpine Race Info

    After a great opening weekend at Mammoth, a storm series is rolling through the Sierras and bringing significant snowfall. A welcome winter event!

    Our next races are coming up in just over a week with two SL races on Sat-Sun Dec. 19-20 at Alpine Meadows. We'll be racing on Kangaroo both days. Early registration deadline is Sunday evening 12/13, so please submit your entries on skiracereg.com/fw. Entry deadline is 9pm Thursday 12/17; you have until the entry deadline to cancel without charges, so if your plans are tentative submit your entry now and you can still cancel if necessary.

    NOTE: Squaw/Alpine competitor release form MUST be signed for all competitors. This is good for the season, so you'll only need to do once. Web site link to sign online will be provided next week.


  • Mammoth GS Races

    The 2016 race season opened with a beautiful weekend of GS racing at Mammoth Mountain. Many competitors arrived early to participate in the masters camp week training sessions or just to get in some free-sking. With the best early season conditions seen in years, much of Mammoth has good coverage already and the skiing was excellent all week.

    We held GS races on Saturday and Sunday on ADG (Andy's Double Gold). The race hill was in fantastic condition both days - the snow was firm enough to hold up well throughout the race, yet completely grippy and easy to ski for all. Competitors helped out by following the jury instructions to inspect "in and out", preserving the well-prepared track for our race runs. Weather was comfortably warm under partly sunny skies both days; a few wind gusts got through to the otherwise sheltered race course on Sunday but the compensation was some spectacular clouds drifting over the Sierra crest to complement the clear views west to the Minarets.

    The debut of our new Open Class system, where competitors can elect prior to the race to be scored for their race awards and season points in the overall Open class, presented some interesting choices to competitors deciding whether to compete for age class awards or go into Open with a chance at a season leader bib. While many regretted the loss of the "head-to-head" competition of our previous system, overall reactions were generally positive. Feedback to your board members is always appreciated, the objective is to provide fun and exciting competition and everyone's ideas can help us improve the program.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2016 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to switch to our new top-30 points scoring formula). Race photos by ace photographer Sue Morning are available through Mammoth's Sharpshooter Imaging (race discount available through next weekend at their Main Lodge site if you're still in the area).


  • 2016 Season Scoring and Open class

    For the 2015-16 season, we are making some changes to the season scoring rules and the Open class. Season scoring will change from the "old World Cup points" scoring system that awarded points for the top 15 finishers in each age class to the "new World Cup points" scoring, where points are awarded to the top 30 finishers. The top-30 points scoring system provides better recognition to competitors in large classes.

    The Open class, which in previous seasons was created as a special class in the start order for the second run based on qualification of the fastest competitors on the first run, will now be scored as a separate ranking for the overall race results for competitors who elect to participate in Open class. Racing will be conducted within age classes for start order on each run, but the day's race awards and season standings points for competitors who elect to participate in the Open class will be ranked separately. The season "leader bib" awards at the end of the season will be based on the Open class season standings.

    Open class participation may be elected on a season basis, or for a specific event. To elect Open class, contact scoring director Deb Lewis at dlewis@farwestmasters.org or sign up at race checkin before the start of the race. Open class is optional; competitors are responsible for communicating an "opt-in" decision to be scored in the overall Open class no later than checkin on the morning of the race.


  • Mammoth Season Opener

    Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends! Far West skiers had plenty to be thankful for on the slopes, with the best early season conditions in the Sierras in several years.

    The opening races of the 2016 season are next weekend at Mammoth Mountain, with two GS races on Saturday and Sunday Dec. 5-6. Join us to celebrate a great season opening and Dave McCoy's 100th birthday. Conditions are excellent and most of the mountain is open for free-sking. Mammoth will also be running the annual masters race camp this coming week, Mon-Fri - sign up for the week or attend by the day as your schedule permits. Lodging packages are available at Mammoth - see the organizer's race announcement for details.

    Registration reminders: early registration on SkiRaceReg closes Sunday evening; $5 late entry fee applies for entries submitted after the early registration deadline. Close of registration and the cancellation deadline is Thursday Dec. 4; you can cancel your entry without penalty anytime until the entry deadline. There will be NO day- of-race signups.


  • Race for Free!

    (ok, so that title is shameless clickbait, but we got your attention, right?!)

    A message for all from Mark Mirviss, our head of Officials for Far West Masters:

    Not only can you race for free (well, you still may have to pay for your own equipment and travel), but you can also ensure we have quality races.

    Our USSA officials, the Referees and Technical Delegates among our members who volunteer at each race, are provided with free lift tickets on the days that they work on the race hill as officials. Starting this season, the Far West Masters board has decided that officials will also be reimbursed for their race entry fees on days they officiate.

    To become a USSA official, you need to attend a training clinic and take a test to become certified. The Far West division officials training clinic will be held on Nov. 6-7 at Squaw Valley. All current and prospective officials should attend the Saturday morning update session; training clinics for specific responsibilities follow. Prospective new officials will also need to attend the Friday evening Competition Officials (CO) clinic, which provides the foundation for all official roles.

    Visit the Far West division site at www.fwskiing.us for details on the weekend schedule and the registration form to attend the Officials Education clinic.

    Far West Masters is DEPENDENT on having our member racers volunteer to officiate our races. If we do not have a sufficient number of officials, it puts an undue burden on those of us who do officiate. So please, do your part and become an official! Give back to this sport that we all dearly love.

    If you have any questions, please contact Mark Mirviss at mmirviss@farwestmasters.org.


  • SkiRaceReg open with Online Membership Renewal

    Race registration for 2016 is now open on SkiRaceReg.com. Our December events at Mammoth and Alpine are now available for online signup; the remaining events on our season calendar will be added soon.

    **New in 2016** Pay your Far West Masters dues online on SkiRaceReg.com!

    Our Far West Masters series on SkiRaceReg.com has a great new feature for the 2016 season - for the first time you can now join or renew Far West Masters and pay your dues online when you activate your account for this season. All current members will need to activate their account for this season to provide current payment information for race entry charges; at the completion of your account activation you will have the option to make your Far West Masters dues payment, conveniently using the same credit card information provided for your account.

    If you've already sent a membership application and check to membership VP Mary Feddis, just skip the optional dues payment if you've already paid. (Use the Member Lookup service here on farwestmasters.org to check your membership and dues status at any time).


  • Fall Newsletter and Membership Package

    The Fall issue of the Forerunner newsletter is in the mail! All members who have joined within the past few seasons will receive a copy. Click the link below to view online; previous issues of the Forerunner are available on the Newsletters page.

    The fall issue includes the complete 2015 season schedule along with the Far West Masters membership package, with information on the 2016 program and membership application for new and renewing members. Please get your Far West Masters membership in to Membership chair Mary Feddis by Nov. 16 so she has time to process everyone's application and ensure that our membership records and bib assignments are up-to-date for the coming season. Membership renewals received after the deadline are subject to a $5 late fee.

    (Note that late fees are only applicable to renewals. New members may join anytime during the season without late fees)

    New in 2016: online membership renewal We're excited to be able to offer online membership renewal this season through our Far West Masters race series on SkiRaceReg.com. The new online-dues payment option will allow you to pay your membership dues through the same online account most of us use for signing up for races and paying our race entry fees during the season. Final details of the new service are nearly complete and we expect to be open within the next few days.


  • 2016 Membership

    Fall has arrived and it's time to renew your USSA masters license and your Far West Masters membership for the upcoming 2015-2016 race season.

    USSA membership renewal reminders have been sent out by USSA and your masters license renewal is due by October 15 to avoid late fees! This season, all USSA licenses MUST be processed through the online membership system, so if you don't already have a member account on ussa.org, you'll need to visit the USSA member portal to open an account and renew your license. (If you do not have internet access, you'll need to get a friend or relative to help you with your license renewal. The online-only policy appears to be a firm decision by USSA and unlikely to change)

    USSA masters license fees have been reduced this season to $90 (woo hoo!!). New racers will be able to purchase a temporary license for $15/day this season to try out masters competition before committing to the full season license.

    The Fall issue of the Forerunner newsletter will be in the mail soon, with complete information about the Far West Masters membership package and our 2016 racing program. All members who have joined within the past few seasons will receive a print copy. The 2016 membership application is also available on the How to Join membership page of farwestmasters.org.

    Please renew your Far West Masters membership by Nov. 16 to ensure that our membership records and bib assignments are up-to-date for the coming season. Membership renewals received after the deadline are subject to a $5 late fee.

    Coming soon! We are working on adding membership dues payment to our Far West series on SkiRaceReg.com to allow members to join or renew membership online, using the same account that you use for signing up for races throughout the season. Additional details will be provided as soon as the new service is tested and ready for use.


  • Fall Meeting

    The Far West Masters Board will hold its fall meeting at president Dan Simmons' home in Truckee on Saturday October 24, starting at noon and followed by a BBQ lunch. Agenda items include updates on USSA rules and licensing along with planning our own division race operations for the upcoming 2015-2016 race season. Click the link below to see the planned meeting agenda.

    All members are invited to attend! Please contact Dan at president@farwestmasters.org to RSVP if you plan to attend so we can plan food arrangements.


  • 2016 Season Schedule

    The 2016 race schedule is now posted on the Season Schedule page of the farwestmasters.org web site along with a printable copy of the season race calendar.


  • Preliminary 2016 Race Schedule

    The preliminary 2015-2016 race schedule is now available. Schedule VP Mike Braun has worked hard to put together a race schedule which offers competitors opportunities to compete in all disciplines at areas around the Far West with a proven ability to host excellent events. Although there are still a few details being settled, we believe the preliminary schedule is essentially complete and should provide a fun season of racing opportunities.

    The season opens in December at Mammoth Mountain with two GS races on the weekend on Dec. 5-6, following the now-traditional post Thanksgiving masters training camp week (preseason training camp details will be posted when available). A north shore event prior to the holidays comes on Dec. 19-20 with 2 SL's at Alpine Meadows.

    Following a break over the holiday period, which is always a busy time for most with family gatherings and early season skiing, racing resumes on Tahoe's South Shore on Fri Jan. 8 with the classic Viva Italia SL double-header at Heavenly Valley, followed by two additional days of GS races at Heavenly. We're excited to try the new GS race hills that were homologated last winter as Heavenly elevates its engagement with USSA racing. January wraps up with a return to Sugar Bowl on Jan. 23-24 for two days of SL racing. It's been several years since we've had an event at Sugar Bowl and this is a welcome return of an excellent race venue on our schedule.

    Our Far West division schedule takes a short break in early February as competitors from throughout the western region gather at Aspen CO the first week of February. The 2016 North American event on the FIS International Masters Cup calendar is the FIS Masters Cup races on Feb. 4-7, with SL, two GS races, and a SG. The FMC event is also the Western Region champships for 2016. Immediately following the FMC event, racing continues for two days of DH competition on the Racer's Edge speed venue at Buttermilk.

    Far West racing resumes at Squaw Valley on Feb. 20-21 with the Bernard Cup trophy event - two SL races on Saturday and GS on Sunday. February wraps up at Mammoth with two SG races on Feb. 27-28, which also count as part of the season-long National Speed Series.

    Racing moves back to the Tahoe region in March with two SG races at Northstar on Fri. Mar. 4 and then another Far West Masters classic, the McKinney Cup at Mt. Rose on Mar. 5-6, which this year will again feature 2 days of GS racing.

    The highlight of the competition season for many is the annual Masters National Championship in March. This year's championship returns to Big Sky MT the week of Mar. 13-19, hosted by Northern division. Racing starts on Monday with two days of DH training and the national championship DH race on Wednesday Mar. 16, followed by the SG, GS, and SL events on Thu-Sat Mar. 17-19.

    The season finals returns to the south again this season, where we'll wrap up with 3 days of racing at Mammoth on Mar. 31-Apr. 2. The finals will feature two SG races on Thursday, GS and SL on Fri/Sat, and the season banquet on Saturday evening providing a chance for all to relax and socialize after the end of racing.


  • 2016 Major Events

    We're still in the heart of summer, but we've got preliminary information on the major events scheduled for next season to help you start planning for winter adventures. The national championships will be hosted by Big Sky in March, while Aspen will host a week of racing in early February with the FIS Masters Cup/Western Region championships and a Rocky Mountain/National Speed Series downhill event.

    Aspen will be putting on a full week of racing in early February. On Thu-Sun Feb. 4-7 are the FIS Masters Cup races - SL on Thursday, two GS races on Friday and Saturday, and two SG races on Sunday. The FIS Masters Cup races are also the Western Region Championships for 2016. Immediately following the FMC event, racing continues with two days of DH on the Racer's Edge speed venue at Buttermilk. Training runs will be on Monday and two DH races will be held on Tuesday which are part of the 2016 National Speed Series. We have a very attractively priced lift and lodging package, with choices including the Inn at Aspen at the Buttermilk base area as well as in nearly Basalt.

    The national championships will be hosted at Big Sky on March 13-19. Big Sky is a proven venue for our national championships, with challenging race hills and a variety of closely located lodging options at the base area which provides convenient access to the race hills and apres-ski socializing. Racing starts on Monday with two days of DH training and the national championship DH race on Wednesday Mar. 16, followed by the SG, GS, and SL events on Thu-Sat Mar. 17-19.