Gala on the Mountain 2019

Dear Ski Team Families,

We are excited for our 4th annual Gala on the Mountain on March 26th at Sundance Resort in the Redford Conference Center. Last year's event was a huge success! The money raised at last years Gala has allowed our foundation to provide scholarships, and equipment for the entire team to use for the 2018/2019 season.

This year’s Gala will be another amazing night! We will be announcing our second annual “Higher Level Human” award. Each year we give this award to a true role model in our community, someone who exemplifies the attributes we are trying to instill in our athletes. We cannot wait to announce this year’s winner!

We are also holding our SMSEF Video Contest again this year. Winners of this contest receive a partial scholarship for the 2019-2020 season. The top three winning videos will be announced and played during the gala.

We need your help to make this a successful night. Each family is expected to sell tickets to the Gala and gather a donation for the auction. We want to encourage families to go out into our community and ask businesses to donate an item for the event. Donation ideas include vacation rentals, ski gear, restaurant gift cards, gift baskets and excursions. Donations can be dropped off on March 16th at the team’s club house.

We are also in need of volunteers for our gala committee. If you are interested in being part of the planning committee please email

Thank you all for your support! None of this would be possible without you!


Renea Dietrich


Sundance Mountain Sports Education Foundation

Race Team Equipment Guide

Sundance Ski Team - Equipment Seminar


Basics - Head to Snow

1) Helmets - Race Specific Helmet is required for both training and racing. No exceptions.  U14 and older must have a FIS Sticker on their helmets.

2) Goggles - Good pair of goggles go a long way.

3) Jacket and layers - Come dressed to the conditions. No cotton.

4) Pants - Full Zip Off pants are strongly suggested

5) Race Suit - Strongly suggested but not mandatory. We have a custom team suit that everyone wants.

6) Thin pair of socks - never double layer or cotton


7) Boots - Most important piece of equipment, do not skimp, ‘grow in to’, or rent. Must fit this criteria: Correct fit (they will be ‘tight’), not too stiff, not worn out (look at toes and heels and liner).

Sizing - See demonstrations + for adult boots check width of toe box. Race boots and high-end free skiing boots will be a 93-98mm last (or forefoot width)

Style - Doesn’t really matter as long as it fits the above criteria. • The only people allowed to fit your athletes boots are your coach and a professional boot fitter.

If you need any boot fitting, custom liners, orthotics, etc. head to Nyman’s Ski Shop.


8) Bindings - must hold boot onto ski properly. Must not be built in 1982

9) Skis - Most important thing about skis? Must be tuned and waxed WEEKLY.

•    Type - Slalom - Shorter, more parabolic (or shape),

•    Giant Slalom - slightly longer, less turn shape (longer radius of turns) Highly suggested

•    Multi Event or Comp Ski - A Mixture of GS and Slalom ski. Great for U8 and U10

•    Park Ski - A “narrow” or mid-fat ski with twin tips. Designed for jumps, rails, and skiing backward (yes, we teach you how to ski switch)

Fat Ski - A ski that is fat under the foot. Designed to ski powder and crud. Usually twin tip to land better off of jumps and ski switch. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ALL TEAM MEMBERS in addition to a race ski. Check out our team sponsor Sammis Ski Shop for great deals.

•    Super G - Much longer radius of turns and length

•    Downhill - Basically straight skis designed to go 60 mph+ and cause extreme fun.

Why? A pair of slalom and GS skis are highly encouraged for U12’s and mandatory for U14+. The Sundance Ski Team tuition is designed to be relatively cheaper so that athletes can save money to get the required equipment and have more opportunities to learn and progress. Fat skis are also crucial to this as well since we spend the majority of our time free skiing powder, crud, moguls, trees, etc. This teaches the athletes all of the fundamentals required for racing, plus it’s way more fun than just drill after drill and course after course. As we continue to grow, this is going to be extremely important to meet our philosophy of creating strong skiers first, racers second, and competitor’s of all. Race Vs. Recreational - Get the race ski. Don’t get a ‘Recreational Carver’.

No rentals. Please.


So… what should my athlete get?


This is dependent on each athlete, but here are our suggestions:

These will apply to Mavericks as well.

Sizes will vary; consult with your coach for which size to get.

Not everyone will need the “All in Packages” those are there for those that do.

Used is often a GREAT way to go for park and fat skis, not always for race skis, but sometimes you can get lucky.


All in Package:




·      Comp Ski (both GS and SL)

·      Mid-Fat ski for park and powder. Like the Faction CT 1.0 JR (aggressive) or Faction Idiom Jr.

·      Perfectly fit boot with the right flex and custom insoles

·      Slalom poles (straight, not bent)

·      Team Speed suit and Jacket and Pants

·      Tuning Kit – Tyson will send more info.





·      Slalom Ski

·      GS Ski

·      Mid fat ski, like the Faction CT 3.0 JR.

·      Perfectly fit boot with the right flex and custom insoles

·      Slalom and GS poles

·      Pole guards and shin guards for slalom

·      Team Speed suit and Jacket and Pants

·      Tuning Kit – Tyson will send more info



 ·      Slalom Race Ski

·      Slalom Trainer Ski

·      GS Race Ski

·      GS Trainer Ski

·      Super G Ski (can be a longer GS ski, like a U16 GS ski)

·      U16 and older will need DH skis. Tyson has several rental pair that are FAST!

·      Park Ski, like the Faction CT 1.0 or 2.0, or Prodigy 1.0 or 2.0

·      Fat ski, like the Faction CT 3.0 or Dictator (aggressive)

·      Perfectly fit boot with the right flex and custom insoles

·      Slalom and GS poles

·      Pole guards and shin guards for slalom

·      Team Speed suit, Jacket and Pants

·      Tuning Kit Pro – Tyson will send more info


Test Drive Package: 



·      Comp Race Ski

·      Perfectly fit boot with the right flex and custom insoles

·      Any type of poles

·      Team Jacket

·      Tuning Kit – Basic




·      Slalom Ski* (a bit longer so they can have it for the next season as a dedicated slalom ski)

·      Fat Skis – Go to Sammi’s Ski Shop

·      Perfectly fit boot with the right flex and custom insoles

·      GS and Slalom Poles

·      Slalom Pole and Shin Guards

·      Team Jacket

·      Tuning Kit – Basic


*If only one race ski is the option, then get a longer slalom ski (about forehead height, so they can use it as a GS and Sl ski this year, then next year get a GS ski, so then they’ll have both.  Or buy the SL ski new, and get a used pair of GS skis the same year if possible.




·      Slalom Ski*

·      GS Ski*

·      If competing in U14 Qualifier races, then a pair of Super G’s or a rental from Tyson.

·      U16’s will need Super G as well or longer GS skis if not yet competing at U16 Qualifiers.

·      Fat Skis or Park Skis

·      GS and Slalom Poles

·      Slalom Pole and Shin Guards

·      Team Jacket

·      Tuning Kit – Basic


*These can be used if picked up in good condition. Send pictures of used skis to Tyson if you’re unsure. A good way to check a used ski is to put them together, bases flat, and see if they have any camber to them. If the entire bases of each ski are touching each other, they are a dead ski and will feel like a limp noodle. Scratches and dings in the bases can be fixed. Also check how much edge is left. Compare it to the base edge side of a new ski to see how much they’ve tuned it.


What Brand?

This is all preference and really doesn’t make a huge difference unless your athlete has a unique style of skiing at U14 and up that suits a certain brand better.

Nordica race skis are Coach Tyson’s preference for junior skiers as they tend to last longer, are super fast, and are more aggressive (stiffer tip) which makes the athletes work a little harder.

Once they hit the U16 level, finding a brand that works best for their skiing and sticking to it is important. Having the same brand for Slalom and GS is also important so they don’t have to adjust anything.

However, how the ski is tuned will have the greatest effect on how it skis. Come to our tuning seminars to learn how to get them just right for you.


Boot Brands

This would take another 10 pages to explain, at least. Each brand will have a different fit and many lines to choose from. The best suggestion is to try on as many as possible until the perfect one is found (with your coaches help). If you’ve never worn a race boot before, they will be uncomfortable at first. That’s normal. If fit properly, they’ll work just peachy after a day or two of wearing them around the house.

Each year in September we’ll have an Equipment Night where all athletes can come try on boots from various manufacturers and get fit properly by their coach or a professional that understands the unique needs of a ski racer.

 You can also purchase all other gear needed for the year here.

Stay tuned for more info on our Ski Swap as well.



Vocab -

•    Flex - Company rating how stiff the boot is, the higher the number, the stiffer the boot. Do not bet a boot with a flex rating higher than your weight for juniors. A stiff boot will hinder your athletes performance.

•    Mondo - How boots are sized - 22, 23, 24.5 etc.

•    Boot Fitting - Going to a professional and getting the correct size and any adjustments.

•    Orthotic - Custom foot bed. Range from $45 - $200. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ALL SKIERS.

•    Last - Forefoot width

•    Shell Fit - taking the liner out to determine correct boot size.

•    Ankle Bender - Crappy pair of boots

•    Cutting - Your coach or professional boot fitter cutting plastic off the boot to make it softer. Very common.

•    Hot Spots - Anything that causes pain or heat on the foot.

•    Sole - Part of the boot that attached into the binding. Should not be worn down and still have square edges as opposed to rounded.


Higher Level Human Video Contest - Results

This season we challenged our athletes to put their creative skills to work and create a video that explains what it means to them to be a higher level human. Needless to say, we were very excited to see what our talented athletes came up with. 

Not only did we want our community to know that we have some amazingly talented athletes, but we also wanted our athletes to recognize and become more aware of what they are learning on the team. 

There are so many benefits to pursuing excellence in ski racing that often times, we get caught up in the details. Asking our athletes to explain what exactly they get out of being on a tight-knit, family-like team helped them to take a step back, and see the big picture. We hope these lessons stand out and continue to expand and grow as our team expands and grows in other ways as well. 

We had a third-party judge the videos with the winner receiving a $1000 SMSEF scholarship and the two runner-ups receiving a $250 scholarship. Here are the winning videos:

3rd Place - Margot Dietrich

2nd Place - Dillon Flinders

1st Place - Abi Aldred

Gala on the Mountain – Celebrating Higher Level Humans

For all of us at SMSEF, the commitment, work and embodiment of being a Higher Level Human is what drives us all to grow, achieve our goals and expand our limits. Higher Level Humans are those who display definitive character, leadership and vision in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of life. They push beyond the face value of their individual achievements and relentlessly pursue their passion to make significant contributions for the good of the community. Higher Level Humans are not recognized for a check they wrote, a medal they won or an event they attended, but for the impact they have on our next generation.

At SMSEF, sports are merely the method behind our mission. Higher Level Humans – those who exude character and set the bar for what our athletes should, and can, achieve – are our goal. This year, we are awarding our inaugural Higher Level Human Award to recognize two amazing people who have had a significant impact on our community. One that our athletes will look up to and carry with them to adulthood.

This year’s honorees, Scott and Becky Nyman, exemplify a unique balance of education, community, and self. At SMSEF, we develop Higher Level Humans by building character and leadership in our youth through mountain sports and education. These are qualities so perfectly encapsulated by Scott and Becky. Their commitment to Sundance and the future of our youth has been an incredible vision for the community and SMSEF.

It’s an honor for all of us at SMSEF to recognize the commitment to education and youth that Scott and Becky have brought to Sundance. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating our first Higher Level Human award recipients, and spend a special evening to celebrate the commitment to youth sports education and support a variety of key youth programs on the mountain.

Gala on the Mountain – 2018:

Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Location: Sundance Mountain Resort
Venue: Redford Conference Center
Time: 6:30pm
Attire: Semi-formal

 Ticket Options

·       Reserved Seat for 1: $100

·       Reserved Tables for 10: $1000

Gala on the Mountain continues to be a major success due to the unparalleled support of Sundance Mountain Resort, our gracious sponsors, local businesses, and our ski team families. The funds raised will support the Sundance Mountain Sports Education Foundation and its mission to support the operations of the Sundance Ski Team. The primary goal is to raise funds for the athletes, coaches, and programs of the team. 

For more information about Gala on the Mountain, and to purchase tickets, visit:

- Coach Tyson

SMSEF x Sundance Ski Team - January 2018 Update

The past year has brought a lot of major changes to the Sundance Ski Team and SMSEF. Here’s a quick recap of 2017:

·      210 Athletes on the Team, increased from 145.

·      45 Coaches

·      Creation of the Maverick’s – Our ‘Learn-to-Race’ program for 6-11 year olds.

·      The Gala on the Mountain raised over $38,000 to help fund our athletes’ careers and coach education.

·      Talbott Palmer qualified for U16 Regionals

·      Dillon Flinders qualified for Western Region Junior Championships

·      Jesse Hoopes qualified for U14 Regionals

·      Karl Verhaaren placed 2nd at the IFSA Junior Nationals

2018 is set to be even more groundbreaking as we continue to improve all aspects of the team and SMSEF. Here are the highlights for what our goals are as a team for the next year and beyond:

Big Goals:

  • Continue to develop the most technically sound skiers in the nation
  • Do the above with the Maverick Master List of Skills
  • Continue to increase the number of athletes we have qualifying for Championship events
  • Have 100% of coaches USSA Level 100 Certified
  • Increase the number of USSA Level 200 coaches on the team by 200%
  • Continue to expand the ski-racing heritage in Utah Valley and tell the story of our team to a wider audience
  • Build a strong community of skiers and ski racers in Utah Valley. Alumni will look back on their time on the team and be thankful and proud of the lessons they learned.

Long-Term Goals:

·      Offer our athletes a practical yet powerful education component to allow for maximum training and learning opportunities

·      Dedicated training hill at Sundance

·      Training Center in Provo

·      Additional Vans to make carpooling and transportation easier more convenient for families.

·      Athletes competing at NCAA D1, NORAM’s, Europa Cup, and World Cup events

Behind-the-Scene Goals:

·      Continue to develop the team communication app (less emails!!)

·      Streamline the registration process

·      Develop SMSEF website to be a powerful resource for parents, athletes and fundraising

·      Raise over $100,000 from fundraising efforts in 2018.

That’s pretty exciting! Just writing this makes me all giddy. I can’t sit still long enough to finish it. There is so much potential for this team and all involved. It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Sundance Ski Team.

There are a lot of major, and minor, steps to take to make these goals happen. Luckily, we’ve got a lot of smart people on board to develop a plan to dominate these goals… and mostly to help me stick to it and control my A.D.D.

Our athletes are continually writing and adjusting their goals in athletics. We emphasize focusing only on what they can absolutely control 100%. As soon as the main focus becomes something like, “Win a race” then it places too many unknown variables into the equation and sets the athlete up for failure.

In order for goals to be successful, they need to be broken down into manageable, controllable steps where the goal setter can see constant, steady improvement. This gives them the confidence to know that they are in control and can create a plan and then can work the plan to accomplish anything they want.

Goal setting is easy. It’s exciting! There’s the initial rush of exhilaration as you imagine all these goals coming true and what it would feel like to be the king of the world. If you’re a better goal setter than 99% of everyone, and you created a simple plan to work towards your goals on a daily basis, then you’re on the right track to actually completing those goals instead of just having another goal setting session because you failed to complete your previous ones.

The key word there is “simple”.

Be excited about your goals! But keep in mind that that excitement and motivation will wear off as the hard work sets in. If the daily tasks are too complex or involve making a major change to your schedule, it’s not going to stick. Small, simple tasks are the key to developing lasting habits.

Keep your goals and plan easily accessible, but don’t plaster it everywhere. Shiny objects quickly loose their shine when they are everywhere. I recommend a 3x5 card that contains your goals on it in your ski jacket, or a journal that you write in daily that has your goals on the front inside cover (Success Journal anyone?).

Have something that tracks and shows your progress. This is critical. I like to use a spreadsheet that acts like a calendar marking off the days I’ve completed some task towards my goals. I put a big red ‘X’ on each day I do so. It’s kind of like counting down to Christmas, but instead, I’ve got a big long trail of red X’s signifying my hard work and progress. I’m very proud of those red X’s. When I complete the goal, it’s like Christmas! Seems better than a pair of underwear to me.

These are just a few very simple steps to ensuring that your goals as an athlete actually happen. It’s easy to set the goals, harder to build the plan, and even harder still to follow the plan daily. But the payoff to following these simple steps can mean the difference of winning the race or crashing out.

We are here to provide the support you need to build your plan and help you follow through with it. It’s up to you to dream BIG!

Here’s to a BIG 2018!

Coach Tyson





Resource: Athlete Pipeline

Athlete Pipeline - What do Expect


The world of ski racing can be a convoluted mess of confusion, stress, and money.

What the heck our USSA points?

How do I qualify for Championships?

What's FIS?

What do I do now to make it to the World Cup?


There are a lot of questions and a lot of different answers for most of those questions. So I'll try my best to make this as clear and as simple as possible. My goal for this post is to have you walk away with a greater understanding of what's possible for your athlete and what they can expect each year from U12 on.

What I'm not going to do is tell you how to get to the World Cup. That's a whole 'nother post and there are A LOT of different ways  to get there now, many of which include a full college education. Give me a call if you're interested in that.

Before we get into all that, I want to reiterate that the driving philosophy of the Sundance Ski Team is to create Higher Level Humans. Which means that we want all of our athletes to find success at any level and we will always have a place for our elite athletes looking to go to the highest level of the sport and for the athletes that want to get better at skiing and ski racing and have a lot of fun doing it, and everyone in between. We do believe that competition fosters growth and progress, and if put in the right light, each can learn from all experiences and carve out a niche for themselves with all the support they could desire from the team.

Buckle up!


This age is awesome. It's where things start to come together for the experienced athletes, or even for those just joining it's a time to really see what you have and test yourself against the best kids your age in the state.

As a U10 and U12, you have the opportunity to qualify for IMD Championships. You do so by going to South Series races and finishing in the top 30 to earn World Cup Points

The Intermountain Championship consists of a Slalom, Giant Slalom and Dual. The quotas will consist of: U10- 10 per gender for both North and South, U12- 40 per gender for both North and South. Northern division will have a quota of 15m/15w. U8’s are not allowed to compete in the IMD Championships. Alternates will not be selected. Selections will be based on the best two results in slalom and the best two results in GS and then combined into one list, ties within Overall Rank are broken by the best result, 2nd best result, 3rd best result, and so on. If there is a tie for the last quota spot, all tied athletes will qualify for the event.

That's it!

This age is supposed to be focused on learning how to ski and ski a lot. They are not so concerned about number of starts, or qualifying, or results, or champs, or medals. We want them to enjoy the sport and have a lot of fun with their teammates and learn how to backflip and 360 and ski crud like none other. Of course we do want them to start to develop a competitive edge and the desire to succeed on race day on top of all that.


This is the stage that we still highly encourage a lot of freeskiing and fun, but the competition side starts to come out.

First year U14's have a few unique options such as IMD Projects in Speed (varies each year). They can qualify for U14 Regionals or Tri-Divisionals in March.

Second year U14's can start lowering their USSA points at the Eric Hayes race in December, the Wes Baron in January, and the Snow Cup and Last Chance in April. They can also qualify for U14 Regionals or Tri-Divisionals.

Intermountain U14 Regional Championships Team (from IMD Handbook)

Intermountain will field a team of 26 men and 18 women to the U14 Regional Championships. IMD team members will travel with their parents or coaches but need to participate in all team activities during the event. IMD will provide a staff of 8 coaches to help with the entire team. All IMD staff members regardless of what team the coach and athlete are from will treat all athletes equally. All team members will receive a team jacket in order to represent our Division to the best of their abilities. Athlete seeding at this event will be based on USSA Seed Points in each discipline. Intermountain is given a pre-set number of spots within every seed in which we can place our skiers. The U14 Championship Team will be named no later than March 1st.

Intermountain Tri-Divisional Championships Team

Intermountain will field a team of 49 men and 47 women to the Tri-Divisional Championships. Alaska Division’s quota is 6 men / 9 women and Northern Division’s quota is 15 men /14 women. This event will consist of 1 SL, 1GS and 1 SG. The selection method this series is the IMD World Cup Point Selection process to Intermountain selected Championship events with the following added provisions: ! Athletes will be selected after the U14 Regional Championships selection has been announced, by continuing down the same selection board. ! Will use the new 200-1 IMD World Cup Point system (shown above) rewarding points to the Top 60 per gender per event. Will use a ranking of the Total Score of the best 2 of 3 in all 3 events (SL, GS, SG). Ties within Overall Rank are broken by using the best result; then continue with the 2nd best, 3rd best, and so on until the tie is broken. Alternates will be selected until the quota is filled.

U14 Selection to the U16 National Championship

U14’s may advance to the U16 National Championships, if they win an event and place in the top 3 of another event at the U14 Regional Championships. Both first and second year U14's are eligible.

USSA Points

As a second year U14, it's important to start lowering your USSA Points at the open races listed above. This will help in seeding at U16 events. All athletes start with 999 USSA points. The goal is to lower your points. The lower your USSA points, the better your start position at qualifying events and the higher on the selection boards you'll be. You lower your points by finishing at scored events like the Open races listed above (Eric Hayes, Wes Baron, SnowCup and Last Chance).

The most simple explanation for points is this:

Race Points + Penalty = Racer's Result

Here is the explanation from the Alpine Handbook:

While the winner of any seeded race is given zero 'race points,' a penalty is calculate for every event and added to each racer's points to produce the racer's results for that event. The magnitude of the penalty depends upon:

  1. The seed points of the best five racers who start

  2. The seed points of the best five racers among the top ten finishers

  3. Whether the times of those five racers are clustered near the winner's time or relatively widely dispersed.

The procedure allows the scoring of different races on different slopes and different days, each with different levels of competition, to be based on a common scale. In theory, every racer is a seeded event can compare themselves against Lindsey Vonn or Ted Ligety and against the best racer in the state, as well as other competitors in a given event.

The average of a racer's two best results in each of the scored disciplines becomes the basis for that racer's ranking among other racers. Published lists of such rankings, 'seed lists,' provide the data by which race organizers and race juries can see or establish the start order for subsequent events. Thus, the circle continues: from seed list to race result to seed list; with one aim being lower points, and better start positions and better results.

Of course, in order to gain a better start position by lower seeding points, competitors also must improve their skills, strength, and tactics and then prove this on the hill. It is a basic concept of the sport that skiers must ski well to improve their points.

Please see pages 21 through 27 of the Alpine Handbook for more info on points and seeding.

To break this down even simpler: the better the skiers at the event, the lower the penalty. The lower the penalty, the lower the race result. The lower the race result (two of them to average) the lower your points go down on the next points list release. Now, with that, the lower the penalty, the more likely it is that really good skiers are there, so the stiffer the competition.

All of this applies to FIS races as well.


U16's are pretty similar to second year U14's except they get to race downhill!

The goal is earn World Cup points at U16 qualifying events to qualify for U16 Regionals or Tri-Divisionals. From regionals, the goal is to qualify for U16 Nationals, and then from U16 Nationals, the goal is to qualify for U.S. Nationals. Win one even and place top 3 in another to qualify.

Intermountain U16 Regional Championship Team

Intermountain will field a team of 26 men and 32 women to the U16 Regional Championships. IMD team members will room with their peers and be involved in all team activities during the event. Teams will travel on March 14th. IMD will provide a staff of 10 coaches to help with the entire team. All IMD staff members regardless of what team the coach and athlete are from will treat all athletes equally. All team members will receive a team jacket in order to represent our Division to the best of their abilities

Intermountain Tri-Divisional Championship Team

Intermountain will field a team of 19 men and 20 women to the Tri-Divisional Championships. Alaska Division’s quota is 5 men / 5 women and Northern Division’s quota is 6 men /5 women. This event will consist of 1 SL, 1GS and 1 SG . Athlete seeding at this event will be based on USSA Seed Points in each discipline. Intermountain is given a pre-set number of spots within every seed in which we can place our skiers. The selection method this series is the IMD World Cup Point Selection process to Intermountain selected Championship events with the following added provisions: Athletes will be selected after the U16 Regional Championships selection has been announced, by continuing down the same selection board. Ties within Overall Rank are broken by using the best result; then continue with the 2nd best, 3rd best, and so on until the tie is broken. Alternates will be selected until the quota is filled. ! Up to 20% of the U16 quota may be used as discretion and determined by the IMD Director.

U19 and FIS

As a U19, you have several options:

  1. Continue to race all Open and U16 events in an effort to lower USSA points to qualify for FIS events.

  2. Race FIS events (if your USSA points are low enough to qualify) to start the process of lowering points again, this time in FIS.

FIS is the international governing body of skiing. FIS points are used to rank you against all skiers in the world. Your World Rank will qualify you for NorAms, Continental Cups, Europa Cup, or World Cup events.

Which route you choose will be highly depending on your results, points, goals, and conversations with your coach.

If your goal is to race for a NCAA D1 college, then having FIS points below 40 is a good idea.

Check out the list of all NCAA skiing programs here

If your goal is to make it onto the US Ski Team, then you'll need less than 20 FIS points (the Development team selection process can be found in the Alpine Manual). However, there are a lot of ways onto the US Ski Team. Just because you are not selected on the 'golden path' as a U16, does not mean there is not hope. There are a lot of cases of college athletes making it to the US Ski Team and consistently scoring World Cup Points.

I'll add more to this if I get the interest and questions. But for now, I hope this helps paint some light on what's possible!

- Coach Tyson

Athlete Success Journal

Success Journal

And how you can become ultra successful

Writing down what you do is nothing new, yet it is one of the most important tools you can use to reach your goals. This article will help make the idea of a journal much cooler and provide tips on what to write so you can use it to accomplish whatever you set out to do.

I’m taking these ideas from my own work as a strength and conditioning coach, ski coach, and predominantly from Lanny Bassham. Mr. Bassham is an Olympic Champion and World Champion in shooting. His book With Winning in Mind has a lot of very useful tools for any athlete, parent, and coach. I highly recommend it and thanks to Chelsea Hoopes for getting it for me.


“Winning is not an accident. You must plan your work, work your plan, and be accountable”
                                                             -Lanny Bassham


“Most people will not keep a journal because they are just lazy. Look, if you are playing just to have fun, this section may not be for you but if you want to win you must separate yourself from the others in your dedication… It is not acceptable to not do it. It is not acceptable to be unable to remember what I have or have not done. It is not acceptable to make the same mistakes over and over because I did not record the solutions the first time. It is not acceptable to not know if my plan is correct or if it is working at all. It is not acceptable to be defeated by someone keeping a Performance Journal. It is not acceptable to beat myself. It is not acceptable to lose because I’m just too lazy to do what is needed to win.”

A few notes:

Coaches often have a lot of athletes they train. We all know that memory is not always the most reliable tool to use. This goes for both athlete and coach. An athlete may remember a training session completely different than coach. I know I’m guilty of forgetting things all the time. A Success Journal will go a long ways in showing what happened at training, at competitions, and in your overall progress.

Creating and maintaining a proper Success Journal is not easy. It takes commitment and fortitude. Once it’s a habit, you won’t be able to imagine your life without one.

It’s never too late to start!

Also, Mr. Bassham believes that we have 3 ‘minds’: the Concious, Subconcious, and our Self-Image. A proper Success Journal can help build our Self-Image by taking a completely objective look at each day, each practice, each run, and even each turn so that we continually develop our own self-image in a way that we have ultimate control over. This will lead to a stronger conscious, and subconscious mind as we develop our confidence and trust in our own abilities.

Our Self-Image goes a long way in determining the outcome of our actions. I’m constantly trying to get athletes to reframe their words and sentences to help them build a greater Self-Image. Here’s the most common example:

“How’d the race go?”

“It sucked. I skied terrible.”

“… you’ll do better next time”

Not if you keep telling yourself you skied terrible. Sucky skiing then becomes the expectation. You have skied terrible, so now Skiing Terrible is you, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s OK to recognize a poor performance, but only if there’s a positive and a solution attached to that recognition.

Do everything you can to build your self-image how you’d want it to be. Do you want to be a fast skier? Do you want to win? Do you want to be successful? If so, then be more deliberate with the words you use and think about the effect they have on your psyche and performance.

“How’d the race go?”

“First run I had a couple of mistakes because I was pushing the limits, but I also made some really good turns. Next run I know what to expect and will master it.”

“Yes you will!”

When we say we sucked at something, for some reason we want the world to know that we have an excuse for a poor performance, even though the world could really care less. People do care about you and how you did, but they don’t want to hear negativity. That just brings everyone down.

Negativity and excuses are black holes that will drain good performance.

Which brings me back to the Success Journal. Writing down what happened at training and at competitions will help you see where you can improve both mentally and physically. You’ll be better at recognizing negative loops and have a greater understanding of their effects and how to break free of them. You’ll also have a lot more positive ammunition to fire at yourself.

Honestly, you may or may not like what you see at first. You may realize that you have a lot of work to do and a long way to get to where you want to go. And that’s just perfect! Without this reflection and objective analysis, you may have just gone on believing that you were already good enough and could just get by on the bare minimum. Mediocrity is another trap that’s so easy to fall into.

Knowing where you are and where you want to be is that first step to developing a plan on how to get there.

Why use a Performance Journal? A plan is not easily followed if it is not written down. It is of no use if you cannot readily refer to it. AMP would be a great place to do so for most of you since carrying a book is not ideal for skiing. Plus, it has the added benefit of accountability to your coaches. We get to see what you add in your notes and can offer feedback and guidance.

The Parts of a Proper Success Journal

In addition to Mr. Bassham’s suggestions, I’m going to add a section at the beginning of your Journal: Me and My Goals. This is where you write down who you are, what your priorities are and your goals. More on this below.

Daily Sections:

  • The Competition Log
  • The Equipment Log
  • The General Data Section
  • Your Solution Analysis
  • Your Success Analysis
  • Your Daily Goal Statement

The Me and My Goals section will be at the start of your journal. You can come back and add to this as you go a long, but this should be the first thing you fill out. The idea is to build a starting point of “You.” Who are you and what’s important to you? This could be as simple as, “I am Tyson Henrie and I am the best darn coach in the world.” Starting here by explaining you will help you build your Self-Image how you want it to be. It will also make it easier to change bad habits later on. You’ll also have an easier time making tough decisions later when the going gets rough and you may not feel like putting in the effort. Defining who you are and what’s important to you will create the foundation for doing hard things because the choice is already made. It’s who you are and nothing will change it.

For example:

I am Tyson Henrie and I am a professional coach. I work hard for my athletes and am continually learning and striving to grow. I recognize opportunities to teach and am empathetic to those around me. I want people to succeed and be happy more than anything else and will do whatever I can to help make that happen. I hate wasting time. I love efficiency. I loathe mediocrity and apathy. I love grit and the thoughtful process. I try to do everything with style, grace, and poise.

I measure my success not only with my athlete’s immediate results, but also their long-term success as human beings. Are they creative and happy? Do they enjoy life and skiing? Do they go on to create solutions for major problems? Do they go on to serve others and teach them what they learned? Do they take advantage of every opportunity to learn?

Try it out. Don’t worry about sounding cheesy, so long as it’s real or what you want to be real. You’ll know when you’ve written down something meaningful to you. You’ll get a little buzz in your chest and happy thoughts of pride in your mind.

The Competition Log is your calendar. Write down the dates of your competitions and any info you think would be helpful to remember for them: where they are, who’s going, and what you’d like to accomplish by those dates. To progress in ski racing, qualifying for certain events is important. Although we don’t want that to be the sole focus of your career, it is good to keep in the back of your mind just so you’re not surprised when you either do or don’t qualify for something. Your coach will guide you through this and can help you plan your seasons, or even multi-seasons.

The Equipment Log is used to record any new gear or changes to your gear. What do you set your boot buckles at? What degree are your skis tuned at? What wax did you use for what type of snow? How many times did you brush your skis? Did you tune your trainers the same as your racers? Etc. As you get older, this will become a very important aspect to your success.

The General Data Section is to record all data from a training or competition day. Fill in the date, location, event (training or competition), duration, and the weather. Then write down exactly what you learned and what you accomplished during this period. How many runs did you take? How many hours? Did you do anything to prepare for this training or competition in the morning or the night before? What was the result? This is the meat and potatoes of your journal. Just record the facts.

The Solution Analysis section is your chance to write down any solutions to challenges you have discovered during a training day. If you have a problem you cannot find a solution to, simply state, “I’m looking for a solution to…” and then describe the problem. Also, write down the solutions to problems you learned today in this section. Never repeat the same mistake twice!

The Success Analysis portion is for recognizing anything you did well in training or competition for that day. When you do this, you will improve the probability that you will repeat the success. This forces you to be positive about your sport and your performance.

The Daily Goal Statement is possibly the most important part of the journal. It can be a reiteration of your overall goal, or a micro goal that you’ve come across through the Solution Analysis or your daily training. You’ll write this EVERYDAY and in the present tense, as if you’ve already reached the goal. Examples would be:

  • I get angles like Ligety
  • I keep my upper body stable and driving down the hill
  • I carve both skis on every turn
  • I move my hips forward in the transition
  • I am on the U16 Regional Team
  • I am the most consistent finisher in the USA.
  • I ski steep pitches fast and aggressive by dropping my hip and completing my turn.

Goal statements should be achievements that are currently out of reach, but not out of sight. Every time you write down a goal, we are that much closer to its attainment. You’ll either reach your goal, or stop writing it down. As long as you continue to write it down, you’ll be moving toward reaching the goal.

What are you waiting for? Start your journal today. It will be one of the best things you could do for yourself as a young athlete.

"Failure is knowing you didn't do what you should have done."
                                               - John Wooden


How Do I Go Faster?

Superman just pushes his fist farther in front and he speeds up. Not the same for ski racers unfortunately. However, there are some very little things we can do in order to go faster (or not lose any more speed).

#1: Clean Skis

This is absolutely critical for speed events. Skis, boots, ankles, knees, need to be doing mostly the same thing (parallel) so the edges can turn at the same time and not spray snow around. Snow spraying up means seconds lost. Having solid fundamentals and being able to pressure the outside ski going 60+ miles per hour will make this happen.

A lot of this comes down to how you 'feel' the snow. Subconsciously knowing where your skis are at and what they are doing is a skill developed after being on your skis for years and years. There's almost an 'Engaged Relaxation' going on in your ankles. Your ankles are strong and stable, but relaxed and able to adjust easily to the terrain, feel it, and allow the skis to 'run'.

Us coaches like to use cliche's like "Let them run" and "Look for speed." Letting them run means keeping your skis smooth in the transition and turn and don't take the turn too far across the hill. Looking for speed means looking for chances where you can grab an extremely low tuck, or where you can cut the line off (or go straighter).

#2 Weight on the Outside Ski

As mentioned above, being able to roll over and pressure the outside ski over a long arc in speed will have a clean turn and allow the skis to remain in the fall line for a longer portion of the turn.

#3 Adjusting Transition for Speed

We train and compete a lot in GS and slalom where we are always trying to get to the new outside ski as fast as possible and make an extremely fast transition. This is not as fast for SG and DH. Drawing out the transition to make it smoother will give you time to get to the outside ski for a clean arc, remain aerodynamic, and keep the skis in the fall line longer

#4 Aerodynamics

This is huge. World Cup athletes spend countless hours in the wind tunnel working on their tuck, equipment setups, and aerodynamics. You don't have a wind tunnel, but you can still be more aero. Don't wear a lot of layers under your speed suit, make sure nothing is bunched up eliminate any sleeve lines, wear the proper size of speed suit or a size too small, cover your top buckles with your speed suit, and wear smaller gloves. But above all, working on your tuck will do the most damage to your slow times. Hold tucks at home with your boots, poles, helmet and goggles on, take pictures and send them to me.


#5 Line

Line choice is too complicated and dynamic for an article. Your line will change as you improve your fundamentals. In the words of Erik Fischer the stronger your fundamentals, the more "Bad Boy" line you can take.

#6 Fast Skis

And of course, having fast skis is also very important. Wax your speed skis after every training day! Keep waxing them once a week when you're not skiing on them. Keep rust off and polish your edges.

Now go back and watch Paris Dominik win Kitzbuhel with a fresh eye. Look for how he does the above times. Then go watch some of your video and see how you can improve at these skills.

Remember, take advantage of every turn.

- Coach Tyson


Mental Models That Rock

In 2010, Flight 32 was headed to Sydney from Singapore. Just a few minutes into the flight at about 7,400 feet, the crew heard a loud boom, followed by another, and then what sounded like thousands of marbles being thrown against the hull.

The pilot, Richard de Crespigny, had nearly every alarm going off and warnings displays and sirens on his instrument panel. 21 of 22 systems were in critical condition and engine two was gone All hydraulic controls, fuel hoses, fuel tank, and electrical the left wing were destroyed. Investigators later determined that an oil fire inside of the left jets had cased a massive turbine disk to detach from the drive shaft, shear into three pieces, and shoot outward, shattering the engine. They would call it the worst midair mechanical disaster in modern aviation.

Within minutes, the plane had become capable of only the smallest changes in adjustments. No one was certain how long it would stay in the air.

In the past decade, technology has increasingly entered every aspect of our lives. We have instantaneous access to smart phones that can provide anything we care to ask for, in a matter of seconds. Notifications from email, social media, messenger, and other apps are constantly asking for our attention. All of this information can be extremely useful, but knowing when and how to direct our attention is becoming increasingly critical.

You can think about your brain’s attention span as a spotlight that can go wide and covering everything, or tight and focused. Our attention span is guided by our intentions. We choose, in most situations whether to focus the spotlight, or let it be relaxed.

However, as we become increasingly reliant on technology to tell us when and where to focus, it becomes harder for us to control that spotlight. Our brain is wired to go into standby mode whenever possible. It saves energy, and allows us to think about bigger things, make plans, and be creative instead of constantly having to focus on mundane tasks. Then, when that automation or technology goes away or is not available, our spotlight needs something to focus on and will often choose what we know best, or what we’ve practiced the most without us even realizing it.

We become what we practice.

What does this have to do with skiing?

Well, think about a time where you were maybe going too fast, or had a make a quick save move, or hit a patch of ice. What happened?

I see this happen a lot when athletes are freeskiing. They’ll be cruising a long skiing fine, then hit a patch of ice and instantly go into ‘scared cat’ mode and stiffen up, go back seat, and lean in.

What do you think that athlete has spent the most time practicing?

Stiff skiing in the back seat and leaning into the turns.

I’ve also seen the other side. When an athlete is ripping turns in a course, makes a tactical mistake, and ends up late, in order to save their line and the race, they’ll huck their skis away from them, drop their hip, level their shoulders, and make the gnarliest turn ever to make it back into the course.

What do you think that athlete has practiced the most?

You’re true skiing ability shines when you put yourself into these extraordinary situations. You’ll revert to the ‘model’ of skiing that you’ve practiced and envisioned the most.

So let’s make sure it’s the right model.

Even before Captain Richard De Crespigny stepped on board Flight 32, he was drilling his crew in the mental models he expected them to sue.

“I want you to envision the first thing we’ll do if there’s a problem,” he told his copilots. “Imagine there’s an engine failure. Where’s the first place you’ll look?” The pilots took turns describing where they would turn their eyes. De Crespigny conducted this same conversation prior to every flight. He quizzed his copilots on what screens they would stare at during an emergency, where their hands would go if an alarm sounded, whether they would turn their heads to the left, or stare straight ahead. “It’s our job to think about what might happen, instead of what is.”

As Flight 32’s situation worsened, the crew decided to slowly turn the plan around and head back to Singapore. The men relied on their mental models they rehearsed pre-flight, following the plane’s instructions to fix the constant barrage of problems. But as the problems cascaded, the instructions became overwhelming that no one was certina how to prioritize or where to focus. De Crispegny felt himself getting overwhelmed.

As he was trying to keep track of their dwindling options, he was creating a mental picture of the plane as he learned more and more of what was wrong. Everywhere they looked, they saw a new alarm, another system failing, more blinking lights. De Crespigny took a breath, removed his hands from the controls and placed them in his lap.

“Let’s keep this simple,” he said to his copilots. “We need to stop focusing on what’s wrong, and start paying attention to what’s still working.”

One of the copilots began ticking off things that still worked: Two of the eight hydraulic pumps still functioned. The left wing had no electricity, but the right wing had some power. The wheels were intact and the copilots believed de Crespingny could pump the brakes at least once before they failed.

The first airplane de Crespigny had ever flown was a Cessna, a single-engine, nearly noncomputerized plane.A Cessna is a toy compared to an Airbus, but every plane, at its core, has the same components: a fuel system, flight controls, brakes, landing gear.

What if, de Crespigny thought to himself, I imagine this plane as a Cessna, what would I do then?

“Most of the time, when information overload happens, we are not aware it’s happening,” says Barbara Burian, a research psychologist at NASA. “And that’s why it’s so dangerous. So really good pilots push themselves to do a lot of ‘what if’ exercises before an event, running through scenarios in their heads. That way, when an emergency happens, they have models they can use.”

“Picturing it that way helped me simplify things” de Crespigny said about his mental model of landing an ‘oversized Cessna’. “I had a picture in my head that contained the basics, and that’s all I needed to land the plane.”

If he hit everything right, he would need 9000m of runway. The longest available was 4,000m. As de Crespigny approached the runway, he ignored various warnings that pertained to the Airbus, not the ‘oversized Cessna’ he was flying in his head. With the wheels down, he made touchdown amid a claxon of warning sirens. He knew he only had one pump on the brakes and slammed his foot on them as soon as they hit the tarmac. The sand dunes and sagebrush at the end of the runway were rapidly approaching, at 2000m on the runway, he thought they might be slowing down. The end of the runway was approaching fast. The wheels left long skid marks on the asphalt. Then the plane slowed, shuddered and came to a stop with one hundred meters to spare.

Being able to create a robust, and detailed mental model of anything is becoming an increasingly critical skill, not just for skiing and ski racing, but also for life. Having an expectation of what’s going to, or what could happen will help us be more confident in our decision making process and leadership skills. Envisioning details of what could happen or certain scenarios that we’d like to see happen, but then not happening, will help us prepare for anything coming up. The more detail, the more we envision happening, or people saying, or events occurring, the better our mental model will be able to help us.

Sometimes, as in Flight 32, that mental model will need to shift and change to something completely different. But without a model of any kind to fall back on, then our spotlight will swing around like crazy until we can latch on to something, anything, even if it’s the wrong thing. So having prepared for a situation by creating a mental model for it will help your spotlight be able to focus on what needs to be focused on in order to succeed in that situation.

This all takes practice, but anyone is able to do this.

Practice by using imagery in your skiing. Going up the lift ride, imagine yourself skiing the run you’re about to ski. How do you look? What do you do? What turns do you make? What line do you choose? If someone’s in the way, where do you go? If you hit a jump, what do you do?

The best thing you can do is to create a mental model of what you would like to look like when you ski. Watch World Cup skiers and find one that you like. Study their skiing until you can envision it in your head. Then use that model to contrast your own skiing.

No, you won’t look exactly like them, but you’ll have a model to compare against when you watch video with your coach. You can then adjust your own skiing to start to match that model one piece at a time. You’ll then have two models to evaluate. One that includes what you look like currently, and the other of one small thing you can adjust to look more like the World Cup model. Maybe you can lift your inside hand up on each turn, or drop your hip a little more each day, or level your shoulders at the end of the turn, or transition with your hips forward, etc.

The key is to just choose one thing to change at a time. Of course, use your coach to helo you decide what that could be. There’s nothing better than an athlete coming up to me saying, “So I’ve been thinking, I noticed that I drop my inside shoulder on each turn, I was thinking I could do pole draggers to help fix that, what do you think?”


Having a mental model will help make things simple. You’ll be better able to problem solve our complicated sport and figure out what exactly you can do right now to fix one small thing. You’ll also be a better judge on your progress by comparing your previous model of yourself, to the new one for that day. You’ll want to look for any small change, or big change, but a change is critical. We want to see something different. Without doing something different, you won’t progress and will stay the same for ever.

But how can you know you’re doing something different if you don’t have a mental model to compare it against?

This is one of the best things you can do as an athlete, and a Higher Level Human, to improve and make some drastic changes in your skiing. It’s also great skill to have for life. Work on it constantly. Always have a mental model of what you would like to do for the year, month, week, day, and even each run. The lift ride is a perfect time to build that model. Talk about it with your teammates and see what they come up with. It will all help you to get better and be the best skier possible.

- Coach Tyson