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

  • Spring Forerunner newsletter

    The Spring issue of the Forerunner newsletter is in the mail! All current members who subscribed to the print edition will receive a copy. Click the link below to view online; previous issues of the Forerunner are available on the Newsletters page.

    The May issue has news and stories from all our events in the final half of the 2014-2015 season, along with scholarship program reports and some "where are they now?" pieces with updates on some of our former junior scholarship athletes.


  • Mammoth Season Finals

    The final event of the 2014-2015 Far West Masters race season wrapped up our warm-and-dry drought year with three days of beautiful weather and great course conditions at Mammoth Mountain. Mammoth's snowmaking and grooming wizards provided us with the foundation and the always efficient Mammoth Race Department put together an opening race day on Thursday with three SG races on the World Cup/ADG track. The track was firm but edgeable and there were plenty of smiles all day. On Friday we raced a long GS on the same track, with a high start at Redelsberger's Bump, on another lovely day with pleasant sunny conditions.

    The final day of racing on Saturday was a SL on ADG (Andy's Double Gold) and there were positions in the season age class standings and overall gender rankings for next season's leader bibs at stake. The final men's rankings for season bibs 7-10 were all decided on the final day of racing, so there was some intense tactical strategizing and points computations in preparation for the final race runs on the 2015 season!

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page along with the final Season Standings rankings for 2015.

    On Saturday evening, a relaxed and happy group of racers gathered with family and friends for the season finale banquet at the Mammoth Conference Center in the Main Lodge. Along with presentation of season awards, a number of items were offered at a Silent Auction to benefit the Scholarship Program fund, and the raffle prize drawings culminated with drawings for two pairs of skis donated by Elan and Rossignal.

    Far West President Dan Simmons acknowledged and thanked the many members of our organization who volunteer their time and talents to help put together our racing events. A special dinner gift card was presented to Diann Laing, who organized and managed race day checkins all year - an essential role that she carries out with great dedication. Following long deliberation by the awards committee of a number of well-deserved nominations, the Most Improved Racer awards were presented to Kim Wentworth and Bill Archibald, recognizing their significant improvement in the 2015 season. The final award of the night was the Teddy Cantanho "Spirit of Masters" award, presented to a competitor who exemplifies participation with cheerfulness and joy, as well as contributions to our program to encourage others to share the enjoyment of masters racing, and this year's award was presented to Mary Feddis.


  • Far West Nationals Results

    Thirty-two racers from Far West traveled to Sun Valley ID the week of March 15-20 for the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships. Team members gathered from their homes across California and Nevada, leaving warm (50-60 degree) temps in the Sierra and arriving in Sun Valley to find... warm (50-60 degree) temps!

    The week's racing opened with Super-Combined (SC) races for the C/D and A/B groups on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. With overnight temperatures not reaching freezing, the Sun Valley race crew was faced with a major challenge to prepare the SG and SL track on Warm Springs. Thanks to a lot of hard work, some much-appreciated advice and assistance from "the PNSA boys", and critical contributions of fertilizer for hill preparation from local racer/potato-farmer Jackson Allred, the crew was able to stabilize the course and we had two exciting days of successful SC racing to open the championship week. Although the SC is not counted in scoring for class combined national champions, it is included in both Divisions Cup and the Spyder national masters team rankings, so points as well as pride were on the line for the 200+ racers competing at nationals.

    Cooler overnight temperatures were a welcome change on Tuesday evening, with Wednesday's SG race contested by all groups under classic Sun Valley sunny skies and a firm track on Warm Springs that provided a consistent race surface for all competitors. Good weather continued for Thurday's GS races, with the C/D groups racing one last time on Warm Springs while the A/B men moved to neighboring Hemingway/Greyhawk. Friday's final day of racing was a SL carnival with groups rotating among three separate courses on Hemingway and Cozy, with firm conditions for all.

    The week wrapped up with a loose and happy crowd of racers, friends, and family at the final banquet on Friday evening. After an excellent buffet meal, the final day's race awards and the overall class combined champions were announced. Far West was well-represented all week, with 16 of our 32 team members winning medals and four named to the 2016 Spyder national masters team: Carol Levine (W09), Linda Crowell (W08), Pierre Jeangirard (M08), and Ara Papazian (M05).

    (Ski racing tip: never give up - Ara hiked in the final day's SL and cemented his lead in the overall rankings for "the jacket"!)

    The final award of the night was the Division's Cup, awarded to the division with the best ratio of results per start for the entire week. Far West was close all week, but on the final day the leading Rocky team posted another day of strong finishes and headed home to Colorado with the cup.

    Congratulations to everyone who traveled to Sun Valley and competed in a week of challenging racing! Winning medals at nationals is an honor, but a lasting prize won by all is the experiences of competing, challenging yourself, and making friends from around the country.


  • Mammoth Season Finals schedule update

    Our final races of the 2015 season will be Thu-Sat Apr. 2-4 at Mammoth Mountain. We are adding a third SG race on Thursday following the two SG races originally scheduled as a makeup for last month's cancelled Northstar SG. This will be the only speed races we have been able to host in our division this season, due to the limited snow conditions that forced cancellation of the speed events on our original schedule, and with Mammoth the only venue able to host a speed event this spring we wanted to take advantage of the SG track.

    Friday will be a GS race and Saturday is the final scoring race of the 2014-2015 season. The Saturday evening season finals banquet will be an italian buffet in the Mammoth Conference Center (MCC) room at the Mammoth Main Lodge. This is a pleasant venue with plenty of room for socializing for our final gathering of the 2015 season. Banquet tickets are $35/person.

    [22-Mar-2015; updated 3/23]

  • Sportsmanlike Conduct

    The Far West Masters board has unanimously approved publication of a letter to all members and competitors following several incidents at our recent Mt. Rose races to remind all participants in our events that sportsmanlike behavior is both expected and required. Please take a few moments and read this letter, it's important for all of us to remember that our behavior and that of our fellow competitors reflects on the entire organization and the masters ski racing community.


  • Mt. Rose McKinney Cup

    The annual McKinney Cup GS races were held at Mt. Rose in lovely spring racing conditions. The weather was great - warm and sunny - and despite the east-facing exposure of the Silver Dollar race hill on the "Slide side" of Mt. Rose the course conditions held up well through two days of challenging racing.

    The unusually early start at 9am on Saturday was a bit unexpected to those accustomed to a more leisurely race day schedule, but with the warm conditions it proved to be an excellent decision by the organizers. The early start ensured the first run was held while the track was firm, while providing enough time to get the second run in despite rapid warming through the day.

    Saturday's post-race party was highlighted by the presence of Tamara McKinney, just returning from the U18 national championships at Copper with her ski-racing daughter. The appreciative crowd of masters racers enjoyed her remarks about ski racing and her family, with some great anecdotes about her early days skiing at Mt Rose.

    Sunday's awards wrapped up the weekend with the presentation of the McKinney Cup to the fastest man and woman racer for the weekend. The 2015 McKinney Cup winners are Annette Mirviss (W06), continuing the strong skiing she's displayed all season, and repeat champion Mike Shklovski (M03), whose powerful skiing over both days edged out runnerup Ryan Ritchie.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page along with the updated Season Standings rankings for 2015.


  • Sun Valley Nationals deadlines

    Only two weeks until the national championships begin, and conditions at Sun Valley are fantastic! Over 200 competitors are already entered and there's still time to get entries in before the early registration deadline this week on Thursday Mar. 5.

    This year's national championships will open with a Super Combined event, followed by the SG, GS, and SL races of the triple-combined championship. Racing will be located on venues at the Warm Springs base area - SG and SC racing will be on Warm Springs, GS and SL on Hemingway/Greyhawk. Friday evening's banquet will be at the lovely River Run Lodge. Race headquarters will be at the Sun Valley Inn, which is offering great packages with lodging and lifts included. See the lodging information flyer for details and contact information.

    Entries will continue to be accepted until the close of online registration on Friday Mar. 13, but late fees of $10/race will be in effect after 3/5 so we encourage anyone still considering competing to submit race entries this week.

    If you have any questions, please contact the race secretary at nationals@ussamasters.org.


  • Mt. Rose race info

    Our next race is the McKinney Cup GS races at Mt. Rose on Sat-Sun. Mar. 7-8. Mt. Rose always puts on a big welcome for the Far West Masters. The Silver Dollar GS on the "Slide side" of Mt. Rose is one of the best GS hills in the Far West, featuring a long course with interesting terrain. Race day checkin and the post-race social event will all be at the Winters Creek Lodge (the Slide Mountain access entry to Mt. Rose).

    **NOTE EARLY CHECKIN AND RACE TIMES** Race day checkin will be 7-8AM each morning in the Winters Creek Lodge. The lift will open at 8am for racer early loading and the first run start time is 9AM.

    Early registration deadline is Sunday evening Mar. 1. Entry/cancellection deadline is 9pm Thursday evening Mar. 5. There will be no day-of-race signups accepted at checkin - you must be on the start list prepared Friday in order to race on Saturday.


  • Squaw Valley Bernard Cup

    The 2015 Bernard Cup races at Squaw Valley were moved from the traditional venue at the Exhibition race arena up to Racer's run on the upper mountain where snow conditions provided good racing. Saturday's two SL races were held in nearly perfect spring conditions - classic sunny California skiing under a bright blue sky that made jackets optional for most of the day. The course provided rolling terrain with an outstanding racing surface, holding up beautifully all day despite the warm weather. Smiles were rampant as the well-organized Squaw race crew kept the action rolling through four race runs.

    Sunday's weather brought in a small cold front with clouds and light showers. Unfortunately, it also brought high winds that forced closure of the lifts accessing the race run. After jury and crew went up to check the conditions, the GS race was cancelled due to lack of access to the course.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page along with the updated Season Standings rankings for 2015. Sunday's awards following the cancellation of the GS race was held for the annual Bernard Cup presentation, awarded to the top man and woman racer based on an age-handicapped scoring of the weekend's races. The 2015 Bernard Cup winners are Deb Lewis (W08) and Kurt Belden (M07).


  • Northstar SG cancelled

    The SG races scheduled at Northstar on Friday Mar. 6 have been cancelled due to lack of snow on the Challenger race hill. Regrettably, it will not be possible to hold these races.

    The Mt. Rose McKinney Cup races on Mar. 7-8 are still on. Thanks to their higher elevation, Mt. Rose picked up more snow from the recent storm systems than many of the other Tahoe areas and reports from locals are that their conditions are good.

    The Bernard Cup races at Squaw on Feb. 21-22 are still on as scheduled, although we expect the race venue to be moved to the upper mountain (Mott's) where there is better snow coverage than at the base of Squaw.


  • Helmet Rules

    A topic that's very important to all of us is upcoming changes in USSA equipment rules for helmets in GS, SG, and DH events. Following up an his article in the February 2015 Forerunner, Hamish Butler has pulled together information from USSA and FIS rules to explain the new helmet standards that will be required for all USSA competition starting next season, including masters.

    Please take a few minutes and read this - safety standards and equipment regulations affect all of us competing in masters events and you need to understand the evolving rules. Hamish explains the new safety standards required by FIS and USSA and what you will need to look for when shopping for a new race helmet.

    The Far West Masters board has been discussing the new helmet rules and the impact on our members and the sport of alpine masters racing. While we strongly support standards that improve competitor safety, we also have concerns about the implementation schedule of the new helmet rules and the impact on participation by new racers. President Dan Simmons has sent a position paper to national masters chairman Steve Slivinski expressing our concerns and requesting additional discussion on the timing for phasing in the new rules, particularly for GS. Other masters divisions around the country are providing similar input with the goal of supporting a unified position for the alpine masters within USSA.


  • National Speed Series schedule updates

    The 2015 National Speed series completed a week of great racing at Aspen with two downhills, including the 2015 national championship downhill, and the FIS Masters Cup SG. Complete race results and series standings are posted on ussamasters.org.

    Regrettably, however, the warm weather in the western US that caused the cancellation of Mammoth's speed events and the 49 degrees North downhills in January continues to wreak havoc with western racing. The Schweitzer SG's scheduled for Feb. 19-20 have been cancelled due to lack of snow at the base of the SG track. PNSA has been hit hard by rain and warm conditions all season, so although the the SG races are not possible they're looking forward to pulling off a "Plan B" event schedule with GS and SL races that weekend - hopefully for their first races of the season.

    And warm weather and rain last week has also forced the cancellation of the much-loved Soldier Mountain downhills scheduled for the following week on Feb. 24-25. Chief of Race Meri Stratton reports: "After the rain the other day we totally lost Monument and there is sage brush poking through in numerous locations. The forecast looks like more warm weather and no cold precipitation. Plan on Soldier Mountain downhill for next year in February."


  • Aspen Downhills and FIS Masters races

    A small but dedicated group of Far West competitors traveled to Aspen CO last week to compete in a week of masters racing, starting with the national championship Downhill the first half of the week and then four days of international FIS Masters Cup racing on Thursday-Sunday Feb. 5-8. Participating racers reported an outstanding week of racing, with warm sunny conditions and an international field bolstered by European teams lured by Colorado snow and the nearby Beaver Creek World Alpine Championships.

    After two days of training, the national championship downhill was held on Wednesday, along with a second Rocky Mountain downhill race, with both counted for the 2015 National Speed Series. Despite the lack of any opportunities at home for speed training prior to the event, our FW racers took on the challenge, with Tim Stewart taking the title as M08 national DH champion.

    The field increased for Thursday's SG, the opening race of the FIS Masters Cup, with 128 competitors from the US, Canada, and countries around the world, including France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, and Brazil. Great racing and weather were reported throughout the event, with GS races on Friday and Saturday and the final SL race on Sunday. The regional champions team was announced on Sunday, with Gate de Mattei of Far West coming home wearing the M13 regional champion vest.

    Good job and congratulations to all who raced!! Complete event results are posted on ussamasters.org.


  • February Forerunner newsletter

    The February mid-season issue of the Forerunner newsletter is in the mail! All current members who subscribed to the print edition will receive a copy. Click the link below to view online; previous issues of the Forerunner are available on the Newsletters page.

    The February issue has news and stories from all our events in the first half of the 2014-2015 season, along with scholarship program reports and some "where are they now?" pieces with updates on some of our former junior scholarship athletes.

    There's also an important article prepared by newsletter editor Hamish Butler explaining the USSA and FIS helmet regulations. This is an important topic for all of us, so please read! Stricter helmet standards have been put into place by FIS and USSA for GS, SG, and DH competitions - the new helmet standards are required for all FIS competition and recommended for all competitors U14 and up in USSA competitions this season. The new helmet standards will be REQUIRED next season for all competitors U14 and older, including masters. The Far West Masters board is involved with ongoing discussions with other masters divisions and USSA about the new regulations and the implementation timing. but it is important for all of us to be aware of the stricter equipment rules pending for next season and plan our equipment purchases accordingly.


  • Sun Valley National Championships info

    Coming up on March 15-20 are the Masters Nationals at Sun Valley ID. This should be a great event at a classic ski resort, with a well-deserved reputation for putting on excellent masters racing events. It's not too soon to get your entries in and lodging reservations made! While the Sierras are baking through a dry January, Sun Valley has been getting great snow this year and just hosted the Skoch Cup races with reports of fantastic racing conditions.

    This year's national championships will open with a Super Combined event, followed by the SG, GS, and SL races of the triple-combined championship. (Sun Valley cannot host a DH, so the national championship downhill this season are being held at Aspen on Feb. 2-4, coincident with the FIS Masters Cup races on Feb. 5-8). Racing will be located on venues at the Warm Springs base area - SG and SC racing will be on Warm Springs, GS and SL on Hemingway/Greyhawk. Friday evening's banquet will be at the lovely River Run Lodge.

    Race headquarters will be at the Sun Valley Inn, which is offering great packages with lodging and lifts included. See the lodging information flyer for details and contact information.

    Registration for all events as well as the banquet is available on SkiRaceReg at skiracereg.com/nationals. Early registration deadline is March 5; entries submitted after the early registration deadline are subject to a $10/race late fee. The cancellation deadline to receive a full refund is March 5. Registration will close on Friday March 13, 2015.


  • Mammoth GS Weekend

    The Grania Feddis Anderson GS races at Mammoth were held on a beautiful weekend at Mammoth Mountain, with sunny skies and light breezes on the race venue. The Mammoth race crew and course setters did an excellent job preparing the course, artfully working around the thin spots in the coverage at the upper breakover onto Andy's Double Gold (ADG), and treating the masters by setting up a classy start tent.

    Saturday morning opened with competitors inspecting the very firm conditions on the race hill, which was an intimidating warmup for many. After reminders that it can be more difficult to side slip and inspect than it is to ski the racing line when the racing surface is very hard, most competitors tackled the challenge and were pleasantly surprised that it *could* be skied with an attacking attitude and good edges.

    We were pleased to welcome a number of new racers for their first Far West Masters race, including overall men's winner Brian Welch from San Diego, who showed that his years at the beach hadn't degraded skills developed as a ski racer growing up in the east.

    After 2 races on Saturday and another on Sunday, most competitors went home tired but satisfied that they'd accepted and met the challenge of racing on demanding conditions.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page along with updated Season Standings rankings for 2015. NOTE: age class season standings are posted; "leader bib" overall men/women standings will be posted after Scoring Director Deb Lewis can update the scoring software to handle the unusual split-courses results from the opening Mammoth weekend races)


  • January Schedule Updates

    A message from the president:
    Greetings everyone. This is one of those good news/bad news sort of messages. The good news first - I hear that the track is in good shape for our upcoming GS races at Mammoth. The weather looks good-which unfortunately means no new snow for a while. It's not too late to sign up. The deadline is Thursday 1/22.

    The Bad News - we are pulling the plug on the scheduled make-up GS races at Squaw Valley scheduled for February 7 and 8. Scheduling against the FIS and Western Regional event at Aspen generated a significant level of concern regarding the precedent of scheduling a divisional event in conflict with national events hosted by another region. While the conflict may affect only a few people, I am sympathetic to the view that we should leave the schedule open during national events that our division had previously agreed to support. I think we would be equally frustrated if we were sponsoring a major event and one of the nearby divisions scheduled a conflicting race. Also, we are a part of a national organization that is important to the maintenance of our own program and we need to remain supportive of the national program. I recognize that this decision will disappoint those of you who were planning to attend the Squaw event and the people at Squaw Valley who have gone out of their way to accommodate our races-to those of you I can only offer my apology.

    I hope we see some more snow soon so we can pull off the rest of the season.
    [Dan Simmons - President, Far West Masters Ski Racing]


  • Aspen Nationals DH and FIS Masters Cup

    The National Championship Downhill (Feb 2-3-4) and the FIS Masters Cup races including SG/GS/GS/SL (Feb 5-6-7-8) at Aspen are less than two weeks away, but there's still time to get your entries in and head on out to Colorado for a dash of winter snow and an outstanding week of masters racing! The organizers have worked very hard to put together some extremely attractive lift and lodging packages and conditions at Aspen are reported to be very good.

    Online registration for both events is hosted on SkiRaceReg.com under the FIS Masters Cup race series - go to skiracereg.com/fismasters.

    The lodging block for the event is pretty full, but there are also other nearby options available. Race Headquarters is the Inn at Aspen at the base of the mountain. See www.stayaspensnowmass.com or call the hotel directly at 800-222-7736 - there may still be some condos and studios still available. There are numerous other hotels in the area if you can't find what you are looking for there. See the event announcement for more lodging information - packages are available nearby at the Aspenalt Lodge in Basalt.


  • Squaw Feb. 7-8 GS info

    We are adding two GS races at Squaw Valley on Sat-Sun Feb. 7-8 as makeup races for the cancelled GS weekend on Jan. 10-11 at Sierra at Tahoe. It's unfortunate that some of our Far West racers who are traveling to Aspen the first week of February for the national championship DH and the FIS Masters Cup/Western Regional championships will have to miss this event, but the opportunity to make up a cancelled weekend is beneficial for the majority of our competitors.

    The GS races at Squaw will be run on the upper part of the mountain on Mott's, underneath the Siberia Express lift, where snow coverage is better than on our usual race venues off the Exhibition chair at the base area. Start time will be at 10:30 each day to allow competitors sufficient time to reach the race course and inspect.

    All competitors *MUST* have a signed copy of the Squaw/Alpine release form on file for the 2015 season. You can sign online through the Event Services page on squawalpine.com site using the link below (you will need to login or create an account on their site to submit your release form online).


  • Mammoth GS races info

    The Mammoth GS race event on Set-Sun Jan. 24-25 is only a week away! While it's a disappointment that it will not be possible to hold the originally scheduled DH/SG speed events, we are looking forward to a good weekend with the first GS races of the season.

    Although the snowpack and terrain coverage is below normal for this point in the season, the conditions of the race hill are very good and we anticipate an excellent event. The Mammoth Masters team has been training on race venue Andy's Double Gold (ADG) as well as the adjacent Fascination run since the holidays and have had some excellent conditions for training.

    Race checkin will be 7:30-8:30 daily at the Mammoth Race Department HQ (the "Slopeside" building at the base of Broadway Express lift with Mammoth team HQ). We will have an early 9:30 start on Saturday, with 4 race runs on ADG, and on Sunday will start at 9:45 from a high start on the long GS course.

    Registration reminders: the early registration deadline is Sunday evening 1/18; entries after the early registration deadline are subject to a $5/race late fee. You can cancel without penalty until registration closes on Thursday evening 1/22, so even if your plans are tentative get your entry submitted this weekend.

    **REGISTRATION NOTE FOR SPEED EVENT ENTRIES** all competitors entered in the original DH/SG speed event races were notified by email through SkiRaceReg.com that those entries would NOT be carried over to the rescheduled GS event. If you were registered to compete in the DH/SG races, please remember to check your SkiRaceReg.com account and make sure you signed up for the GS races.


  • Makeup GS races added at Squaw on Feb. 7-8

    We are adding two GS races at Squaw Valley on Sat-Sun Feb. 7-8 as makeup races for the cancelled GS weekend on Jan. 10-11 at Sierra at Tahoe.


  • Heavenly Viva Italia

    Our first event as racing resumed in the New Year was 2 SL races at Heavenly Valley. Despite the post-New Year's run of warm weather, conditions on the World Cup race hill were very good all day though four race runs. A slight overcast with light cloud cover was welcome on an otherwise warm day, helping keep the snow conditions good. The blended race crew of Gary Hutchins' Heavenly team supplemented by Eric Whitaker's crew from Northstar, aided by hard-working TD Rees Palermo, did a great job for us all day.

    The Viva Italia Cup, sponsored by long-time masters racer and champion John Gianotti, is a perpetual trophy using an age-handicap formula to recognize strong skiing across all our age groups. The "Viva Italia!" celebration cry that John made famous in his racing years from numerous podiums was raised again to celebrate a fun day of racing as competitors gathered for pizza and socializing at the post-race party. The 2015 Viva Italia winners were Deb Lewis (W08) and repeat winner Kurt Belden (M07)/

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2015 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to handle the unusual split-courses results from the opening Mammoth weekend races)


  • Heavenly Race Training

    Following a very fun day of racing at Heavenly, we're happy to pass on the news that Heavenly is offering 6 weeks of race training in January and February on Tuesday and Thursday mornings on the World Cup race hill. The camp is open to all Vail Resorts employees and Tahoe locals and will provide both SL and GS training. Sounds like fun, check it out!


  • Mammoth Speed races changed to GS

    With great regret, the decision has been made after meeting today with the Mammoth Mountain Race Department that there will be no speed races in two weeks on our scheduled event dates of Thu-Sun Jan. 22-25. There were 2 DH races and 4 SG races on the schedule but coverage is thin on the race hills and there are no reasonable prospects on the forecast charts for any significant snowfall events in the coming week. In recognition of the time and travel commitments of competitors for a speed event, we have made the decision that it will not be possible to run a safe speed event in two weeks.

    We WILL be racing at Mammoth, however! Race director Mike Braun met with MRD and the revised race schedule will be to hold 3 GS races on the weekend of Sat-Sun. Jan. 24-25. On Saturday, we will hold two GS races on Andy's Double Gold, the primary race hill with the best coverage. On Sunday, we will be able to run a long GS with a high start at Redelsbergers Bump (the terrain breakover at the end of the upper pitch of the SG track), which will provide a high quality full-length GS.

    We regret the need to change the schedule, but felt it best to make the decision now in recognition of the continuing warm and dry conditions that are affecting all our ski areas in the Sierras and allow competitors to adjust their travel plans accordingly. On a positive note, these will be our first GS races of the season, after 3 SL events, so break out the GS boards and get warmed up for a solid weekend of racing on the reliable Mammoth venues.

    [10-Jan-2015; updated 1/12]

  • Sierra at Tahoe Races Cancelled

    Regretfully, the 2015 season is continuing the pattern of dry early season conditions of the past few years and after examining all possible options the decision has been made that there is simply not enough snow to run GS at Sierra at Tahoe next weekend. They are open with good skiing, but the snow coverage is not deep enough to set gates for a full GS. So the Sat-Sun Jan. 10-11 GS races at Sierra at Tahoe are CANCELLED.

    Scheduling director Mike Braun has just spoken with Heavenly and confirmed that we are "go" for the Viva Italia SL races on Friday Jan. 9 on the World Cup run at at Heavenly.

    [3pm Fri 02-Jan-2015]

  • Alpine SL weekend

    After the season opener at Mammoth, racing moved to Alpine meadows on the 20th and 21st of December for two pre-Christmas SL races.

    The weather on both days was "driech"" as they say in Scotland, low cloud and a steady snow/drizzle mix made visibility difficult on Saturday. On Sunday the weather improved slightly and visibility for racing was much better. The soft wet snow on top of a hard base made for difficult conditions with deep ruts forming quickly on both days. Despite the conditions there were still some very impressive performances.

    We were very pleased to be joined by two members of the Wattenmaker family, benefactors for the Jeff Wattenmaker college scholarship. Jeff was an avid Masters racer and it was a wonderful to have his kids join us. G.G. Wattenmaker was a forerunner on Saturday and her older brother Owen Wattenmaker joined us for his first Far West Masters race.

    On Saturday Owen Wattenmaker took the honors with first place in mens open class, with Mike Schlovski placing second and Kurt Belden third. In ladies open Christian Patent placed first , with Linda Crowell second and Ingrid Braun third.

    On Sunday Danielle Palermo made a welcome return to Far West Masters racing taking first place in ladies open, with Ingrid Braun in second and Linda Crowell in third, swapping their Saturday Saturday finish positions. In the mens open Kurt Belden took first place with Seth Cronin-Wilton in second and Are Papazian in third.

    Many thanks to the crew at Alpine Meadows for putting on a well run event and for making the best of the conditions.

    []story by Hamish Butler, Forerunner Editor]

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Season standings for 2015 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to handle the unusual split-courses results from the opening Mammoth weekend races)

    [22-Dec-2014; updated 12/28]

  • Alpine Schedule Correction

    Correction to the Alpine schedule for this weekend: first run will be start at 9:30am each day (not 10am). Race checkin will be 7:30-8:30 each day in the Alpine lodge by the fireplace. Lift will open at 8:30 for competitors to provide access to the race venue on Kangaroo.

    Details on post-race party on Saturday are still be finalized; tentatively about an hour after the completion of the race.

    Reminders: all competitors MUST sign the Alpine release form. If you have not already faxed a copy to Alpine or signed the online release, please arrive early at race checkin to ensure sufficient time to complete the required form. There will be no day-of-race signups; you must be on the start list prepared the day before the race in order to complete. Online registration is open until 9pm Thursday 12/18.

    [Thu 18-Dec-2014]

  • Scholarship fundraising for Michael Cooper

    Scholarship program director Eddie Mozen has asked us to share a special fund-raising request with everyone.

    One of our long time scholarship athletes Michael Cooper has been invited to race in Europe with the US Ski Team Development Program. This is a great opportunity for Michael and recognizes his impressive development as an athlete, but it's a very expensive trip (over $3500) that requires funds from the invited athlete.

    The Scholarship Program would like to help support this trip. Michael spoke at our post-race party at the Mammoth races and was very impressive. Eddie has already received donations and pledges for almost half that amount. One of our members agreed to donate up to $1000 to the cause and in addition will match all funds raised by individual donations up to an additional $1000 by a Dec 20th deadline at our Alpine Meadows race.

    So... please contact Eddie Mozen with pledges to this project prior to December 20th so we can raise the total to $1000 and contribute the entire $2000 to Michael. If we can get 10 people to send in $50, we would reach our goal! Make tax deductible checks out to "Far West Masters Scholarship Program" and send c/o Eddie Mozen to PO box 3718, Olympic Valley, Cal 96146. Please notify Eddie by email at ebmozen@gmail.com of your pledge so that we can keep track of contributions by the deadline. Thanks!!


  • Alpine SL event information

    Alpine Meadows will be hosting two SL races on Dec. 20-21, the weekend before the holiday schedule break. We will be racing on Kangaroo, with daily checkin 7:30-9am in the Alpine lodge by the fireplace and first run at 10am. Early registration deadline is Sunday Dec. 14; registration/cancellation deadline is Thursday Dec. 18. There will be no day-of-race signups accepted - you must be registered by the day prior to the race to be on the start list.

    All competitors *MUST* sign the Alpine release form. Competitors are requested to please submit their signed release form prior to the event to simplify race day checkin. You can print the release form and fax to Alpine, or sign online through the squawalpine.com/eStore using the link below (you will need to login or create an account on their site to submit your release form online).

    Saturday social event time/location will be announced when details finalized.


  • Mammoth Season Opener

    The season opening weekend races at Mammoth Mountain were held after a welcome mid-week storm system brought 1-2 feet of much-needed snow to supplement the snowmaking foundation on the ADG (Andy's Double Gold) race hill. The weather cleared for the weekend and the new snow resulted in very good course conditions.

    In an unusual arrangement for all, masters and USSA junior racers all competed together this weekend, as Mammoth's Race Department took on the additional challenge of hosting a USSA open race originally scheduled for the Tahoe area. The masters field was split into two sections, with the women and older men's classes racing first on the girls course and the younger men's classes first on the boys course. After consideration of field size, open class prospects, and season scoring, a course split variation of the standard masters groups was used - the "C/D-" groups took the top end of the usual masters running order, with all women and men's classes down to M09, while the remaining men's classes M08 and younger formed the "A/B+" group.

    The weather was good all weekend - sunny, moderate temps, and light winds - and Mammoth's race crew was out in full force to prepare and maintain both courses. While it was a relatively long day for both racers and crew with so many racer starts between both the masters and juniors fields, many positive comments were made about the event.

    Complete results are posted on the Race Results page. (Initial season standings for 2015 will be posted after the scoring software is updated to handle the unusual split-courses results from this weekend)

    [07-Dec-2014; updated 12/8]

  • Mammoth Weekend Schedule

    The detailed schedule for this weekend's Mammmoth SL races has been posted tonight by the Mammoth Race Department. The schedule is somewhat different from our usual, as a USSA open race moved from Tahoe will be run following the masters field.

    Race checkin is 7:30-8:30 at the Mammoth Race Department in the Team HQ building just west of the Main Lodge. Please come early so we can get everyone out on the hill. The masters field will be split between two courses this weekend. The C/D- course will start at 9:30, with all women's classes and men's classes 9 and up, in standard masters running order. The USSA girls race will follow the masters field on the first course. Class 8 men and down (A/B+ groups) will run on the second course, starting at 10:30, with the USSA boys field following the masters.

    The post-race party will be in town at Giovanni's (in the Vons shopping center) at 4pm.


  • Mammoth Schedule Changes

    Due to limited coverage and hill space, our opening weekend races at Mammoth on Dec. 6-7 are being changed to two SL races - one race Saturday, with the second SL race originally planned for Saturday moved to Sunday to replace the planned GS. It is not currently possible to hold a GS race.

    Mammoth's race crew is doing their best to put on our event under challenging conditions as we enter another race season with continuing dry conditions. Mammoth currently has a number of runs open in the Main Lodge area - Broadway, Stump Alley, Unbound park, Mambo, Saddle Bowl, and Powder Bowl are all open, with race training on Andy's Double Gold, and the snowmaking guns are cranking out as much as posisble.

    We will post additional details on the weekend race schedule early in the week, as soon as evolving plans stabilize. For those coming to the Mammoth Masters training camp next week on Dec. 1-5, all training will be SL. A mix of free-skiing, drills, and gates will be provided. Meeting time is 9:30am at the Super Sign in front of the Main Lodge on Monday and Tuesday, with training from 9:30-1pm. On Wed-Thu-Fri, meet at 9am for drills and gate training until noon. Additional training will be available on Friday Dec 5th on ADG from 12.30pm till 2.30pm.


  • USSA Masters Comp Guide and Newsletter

    The 2015 USSA Masters Alpine Competition Guide with information about USSA masters racing around the country and this season's major regional and national events is available from the ussa.org web site. If you would like a hard copy of this year's guide, email Bill Skinner at bskinner@ussa.org with your mailing address. Far West Masters will also have some copies available at our opening race in Mammoth in December.

    The Fall USSA Masters newsletter has also been sent out to all masters. You should have received a copy in the mail, or you can download a copy using the link below. This issue contains some great articles about technique and tuning as well as reports from all the masters divisions.

    The fall newsletter also features an excellent article about competition rules, highlighting some of the key rules to be aware of this season. New this season, missing a gate in DH, SG, or GS is a DNF - you may no longer hike back if you have missed a gate or have come to a complete stop after a fall. (Hiking is still permitted in SL, as long as you have not been passed and do not interfere with the next competitor.) Important to know about is a new rule coming next season with stricter helmet requirements to meet FIS standards for GS, SG, and DH. Helmets that meet the new standards are recommended this season and will be required for ALL USSA competitors U14 and older in the 2015-2016 season.


  • Race Registration is open!

    Race registration is now open for the 2014-2015 season! Complete information is available on the Season Schedule page. You can register online at SkiRaceReg.com or print and mail an entry form with checks directly to the race organizer. We encourage everyone to use the online race registration, it's easy and reliable, no worrying about whether your entry got delivered by mountain mail!

    You will need to open or re-activate your account on SkiRaceReg before you can sign up for this season's races. If you already have an account, the account signup pages allow you to review and update your contact information, and also to provide current charge card information for charging race entry fees.

    PLEASE NOTE: The first time you log into your SkiRaceReg account for the season, you'll be taken to the signup page "Renew Membership - Far West Masters" with an explanation of the activation process for your online account. Please remember that "membership" in the Far West Masters race series on SkiRaceReg is only for your race signups; it is *NOT* your annual Far West Masters membership.

    There are no fees for opening your account on the system - charges are made only for race entry fees at the time a race is held. You will get a charge notification message when your account activation is completed, but the amount will be $0 - that's just a confirmation that the system has successfully recorded your account information. You aren't being billed for anything yet!

    The entry deadline is published for all races and you can enter (or cancel without penalty) anytime up to the deadline, which is usually set to provide a one-day setback to allow the race organizers to pull entry lists and prepare the race operations computer systems for the event. Entries after the deadline or on the morning of a race at checkin are at the discretion of the organizing area; day-of-race signups will generally *NOT* be accepted this season - you must be on the start list prepared the day before the race in order to compete.

    New for the 2015 season, the early registration deadline for all races will be midnight of the Sunday prior to the start of the event. After the early registration deadline, there is a $5/race late entry fee. The late fee is designed to encourage early signups so that we can plan and prepare to put on the best possible event and give everyone a good experience on race day. You can cancel without penalty anytime up to the published entry deadline, so there's no downside to early signup if your race plans are tentative - just cancel before the final deadline if you con't make it.


  • Mammoth Masters Camp

    Mammoth will once again offer a masters training camp on Mon-Fri Dec. 1-5, following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This is a great way to kick off your season with some time on snow and gate training going into the season opening race weekend on Dec. 6-7.

    Drills, gates, and video sessions will be provided, with coaches from the Mammoth masters and ski team. You can attend by the day or for the full week; see the camp information flyer for details or visit the Race Department's web page on mammothmountain.com


  • 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 also includes the Far West Masters membership package, with information on the 2015 program and membership application for new and renewing members. Please get your Far West Masters membership in to Membership chair Mary Feddis by Oct. 31 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.

    New bibs for 2014-2015!! All members will be getting new bibs this season. You must renew by the Oct. 31 renewal deadline to be assured of retaining your current bib number. After the renewal deadline, all bib numbers from 21 up not assigned to current 2015 members can be requested by any new or renewing member. So if you like your bib number, get your membership application off to Mary ASAP!

    Reminder: don't forget your USSA masters competition license! Renewals are charged a $25 late fee after Oct. 15, so get your license renewal in to USSA if you haven't already! You can print and mail the USSA license form, or use USSA's online member service to renew online. Details and links are available on the How to Join membership information page:

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


  • Officials Clinics

    The annual Far West division officials education and certification clinics will be held on Sat-Sun Nov. 8-9 at Squaw Valley' Village. If you've ever considered getting more involved in our Far West Masters racing program, becoming an official is a great way to contribute as well as to learn more about our sport (many of us who have gone through the USSA officials training have been surprised how much there is to learn - turns out we masters don't know it all yet!). For our current officials, attendance at an update clinic is required every other year in order to maintain your officials status.

    For details and an information flyer with registration info, see the links below to the Officials Education announcement on the fwskiing.us web site. The annual update session will be at 8am on Sunday Nov. 9, followed by certification clinics for various specialties (masters will generally be interested in attending the referee clinic). For first-time competition officials, there is also an introductory session on Saturday afternoon.

    In addition, Rees Palermo will conduct a Masters specific overview on Saturday afternoon/evening at the Truckee home of FWM president Dan Simmons. The annual review session with our Far West Masters officials is very valuable to allow us to focus on masters-specific issues and procedures, so attendance at Rees's session is strongly encouraged for both new and prospective officials. Please RSVP to Dan at president@farwestmasters.org no later than Nov. 5.


  • Passing of Don Frinell

    We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of Don Frinell, husband of Marietta Frinell, who lost his long battle with cancer early Sunday, September 28th. Marietta and Don's children were with him in his last hours.

    Don was an avid skier and outdoorsman. Don and Marietta had a full calendar of activities throughout the year that kept them constantly busy, trading the skis of winter for kayaks, hunting and fishing, dirt biking, Harleys, and horses in other seasons.

    Please keep Marietta and the rest of Don's family in your thoughts, and on behalf of all of our masters racing family, we express our sympathy as well. A memorial service will be held in November, and we will share details regarding the service when they are finalized.


  • 2015 Scholarship Application

    Attention junior athletes, parents, and friends there-of! The submission period for applications for 2015 scholarships awards from the Far West Masters Scholarship Program is open! Applications are due by 5pm Monday Sep 15.

    We encourage all Far West Skiing Alpine athletes 14-20 years old to apply! We will occasionally fund exceptional athletes who are 13 years old. We consider ALL eligible applications - first-time applicants, past scholarship winners, and applicants who were not awarded scholarships in previous years are all given equal consideration by the review board. Scholarships are awarded based on a combination of (and in order of importance) exemplary work ethic, academic scholarship, citizenship, financial need, and race results.

    Athlete awards will be announced in November and funds placed in racers' accounts from which they may draw on during the season for racing expenses. In return for funding, the Masters ask that recipients forerun one of their races and speak at an awards ceremony. This experience has proven to valuable and fun for the both athletes and the masters racers and sponsors who support this program with their donations.

    Questions? Contact program chairman Eddie Mozen (contact details are on the application form, see links below).


  • Preliminary 2015 Race Schedule

    The preliminary 2014-2015 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 a SL/SL/GS weekend on Dec. 6-7, 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. 20-21 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 Fri Jan. 9 with the classic Viva Italia SL double-header at Heavenly Valley, followed by two days of GS racing at Sierra at Tahoe on the weekend. January wraps up with a feature event for speed racers at the 4-day Grania Feddis Anderson Memorial DH/SG speed races at Mammoth on Jan. 22-25. This season we're adding DH back into the program, with 2 DH training runs on Thursday followed by two DH races on Friday, continuing with 2 SG races each day on Saturday and Sunday. Two of these races will count as part of the season-long National Speed Series.

    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 week will open with the National Downhill Championships and Speed Series on February 2-4, with two days scheduled for training followed by two DH races on Wednesday. The only 2015 US stop on the FIS International Masters Cup calendar follows with the FIS Masters Cup races on Feb. 5-8 - SG on Thursday, GS races on Friday and Saturday, and SL on Sunday. All racing will be conveniently located at Buttermilk, with very attractively priced lift and lodging packages put together by the event organizers.

    Racing moves back to the Tahoe region with the Bernard Cup SL/SL/GS event at Squaw Valley on Feb. 21-22. March follows with two SG races at Northstar on Fri. Mar. 6 and then another Far West Masters classic, the McKinney Cup at Mt. Rose on Mar. 7-8, which this year will 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 Sun Valley ID the week of Mar. 16-20, hosted by Intermountain division. Racing starts on Monday and Tuesday with a Super Combined (SC), followed by the SG, GS, and SL events on Wed-Fri. All racing will located at the Warm Springs base area.

    The season finals returns to the south again this season, where we'll wrap up with 3 days of racing at Mammoth on Apr. 2-4. 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.


  • 2015 Major Events

    It may be summer now, but we've already got information on the major events scheduled for next season to help you start planning for winter adventures. The national championships will be hosted by Sun Valley in March, while Aspen will host a week of racing in early February starting with a speed event and the national DH championship, followed by a weekend of the FIS Masters Cup.

    Aspen will be putting on a full week of racing. The week will open with the National Downhill Championships and Speed Series on February 2-4, with two days scheduled for training followed by two DH races on Wednesday. On Thu-Fri Feb. 5-8 are the FIS Masters Cup races - SG on Thursday, two GS races on Friday and Saturday, and SL on Sunday. All racing will be located at Buttermilk. 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 Sun Valley on March 15-20. Racing starts on Monday and Tuesday with a Super Combined (SC), followed by the SG, GS, and SL events on Wed-Fri. All racing will located at the Warm Springs base area.


  • Wattenmaker Scholarship Awards

    Jeff Wattenmaker was an avid Masters ski racer who supported the Far West Masters Scholarship Program and its ideals. Prior to his passing, he generously arranged to donate funds for a university education scholarship. This year the quality of the athlete scholars who applied was deep and so evenly divided that it was virtually impossible to pick a single winner. In fact of the 10 athletes that applied, there were 6 separate athletes that received first place votes from the selection committee. A single winner could not be decided on and instead three $7000 scholarships were awarded.

    This years winners are Claire DeAngeli, Foreste Peterson and Madeline Riffel. Claire will graduate from Reno High School and attend St Olaf College in Minnesota in the fall where she will ski race. Claire is an active Nationally ranked FIS alpine ski racer from the Squaw Valley Ski Team. Foreste Peterson graduated from Berkeley High School and will be attending Dartmouth in the fall. Foreste was named as a member of the US Ski Team in 2010. Madeline Riffel graduated from Mammoth High School and is attending UCLA. A member of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Team, she was a successful Alpine ski racer that shifted her focus to Skier Cross and was on track to represent the US at the Sochi Olympics before a training accident put a premature end to her 2014 season.

    The 7 athletes that did not receive a scholarship were all outstanding and deserves praise. They are Alexa Wehsener from Mammoth Mountain, Jessica Tidd from Squaw Valley, Riley Plant from Sugar Bowl, Nico Monforte from Squaw Valley, Maddie Johnson from Lake Tahoe Racing, Hannah Johnson from Sugar Bowl, and Garret Driller from Squaw Valley.

    Additional information about the Wattenmaker scholarship program and this year's winners is provided in the announcement (link below). A story on the Wattenmaker awards was also published by Ski Racing.