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Alpine Programs – 2021/2022

Cooper Spur Alpine Team offers programs for athletes age 6-18, with each program providing different levels of commitment based on goals and interests.  Our programs are designed to provide training, competition, growth opportunities for young skiers and racers in a fun learning environment.  All of our ski programs are structured to provide high quality instruction utilizing small group size,  professional coaching staff, commitment to more time on snow, and building solid fundamental skills through free-skiing and race technique.  We believe learning is based on repetition, but fun is what provides the motivation.  Once the basic skiing skills are mastered, coaching emphasis shifts to refining technique and developing the physical, mental, and emotional skills to be a competitive athlete and good teammate. 

All of CSAT ski programs are held at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area. Cooper Spur Ski Area is an important part of CSAT’s history and team culture but Meadows is our day to day home. 

Click HERE to learn about CSAT’s 2021 winter Covid 19 protocols.


Cooper Camp 2021: Dec. 21th – 23rd

Sponsored By Crestline


Cooper Camp is a three day introduction to ski racing and ski team fun! The camp integrates basic skiing and racing fundamentals through fun drills, gate training, and free skiing for optimal skill acquisition. The camp’s final day includes a fun Intra-Team Cooper Cup GS. Children that can ski green runs comfortably and load the chair by themselves are eligible for this 3-day program. Cooper Campers are eligible to join the team afterwards, if recommended by CSAT coach and space is available. 

Requirements: Ski gear*, racing helmet, All Access Meadows Season Pass

Ages Program Dates Program Fees  
6-11 Dec 21-23rd
9am – 2pm
Early Bird Pricing: $385                 

After Dec 1st: $400

Register Online



Camp is held at Meadows. Price includes coaching, lane fees, and sweatshirt. Does not include tickets.  Click here to understand Covid-19 safeguards, participant’s expectations and refund policies.

Development Team – Ages 6-11 (U8-U12)

Our ‘Devo Team’ program is our entry level program for ages 6-11 (U8-U12) which starts with the Cooper Camp and skis every Sunday January through mid-March. This program is designed for the child who has can ski blue runs comfortably, but needs further instruction on the basic skills and techniques that will enable them to go anywhere on the mountain. Our Devo program utilizes small athletes to coach ratios, 7:1, and professional coaching staff to build a base of solid skiing skills and basic fundamentals through directed free skiing, gate training, and friendly competition. The program emphasizes improving free-skiing, basic race fundamentals, skiing etiquette/safety and fun! Click here to understand participant’s expectations and refund policies. When conditions allow the Development Team will meet out of the Hood River Meadows base lodge and programs will run from 8:30am – 2:30pm.

Devo Team members must be comfortable on blue runs and load the chair by themselves. The Devo Team may participate in local Mt. Hood races if desired. The program starts with Cooper Camp at the end of December and runs every Sunday through mid-March. 9am-3pm. The majority of Devo practices are based out of Hood River Meadows. 

Requirements: Ski gear*, racing helmet, All Access Meadows Season Pass

Ages Program Dates Program Fees  
6-11 Dec 21th- 23rd (Cooper Camp)
Every Sunday January through March 14.
8:30am – 2:30pm                

18 Days

Early Bird Pricing: $990                

After October 10th: $1090 

Register Online




Fees include coaching, lane fees, team sweatshirt, neck gator, Cooper Camp and coaching at local youth ski league races.  Click here to understand Covid-19 safeguards, participant’s expectations and refund policies.

Parent Handbook, Draft YSL Race Calendar, Gear Guide

Training Team – Ages 8-11 (U10-U12)

Our Training Team requires more commitment and is designed for the U10-U12 athletes (8-13yrs). The training team skis on both Saturdays and Sundays, starting in early December. Training runs from 9am-3pm. Training Team athletes will emphasize the development of basic skiing fundamentals through focused free skiing and gate training, with an introduction to race tactics in GS & SL. All Training Team coaching staff are professional ski coaches with extensive backgrounds in racing and ski team culture.

Training Team includes Fall Dryland that runs on Sunday, 9AM-10:30pm at local Hood River fields starting October 10th-November 14th. The Training Team will race in all the local Mt. Hood races including the ‘Mt. Hood Mitey Mite Youth Ski League Series Races’ as well as the 4-Way Championship Race, and Meadows Challenge.  Click here to understand Covid-19 safeguards, participant’s expectations and refund policies.

Ski gear*, race helmet, All Access Meadows Season Pass, USSS (United States Ski and Snowboard), US Ski and Snowboard Youth Competitor License. Register online at

Ages Program Dates Program Fees  
8-11 Dec. 12th – Mar. 28th           

Dryland starts Oct 10th    


Saturday & Sunday (9am – 3pm) Or Sunday & Wednesday (3pm -6pm)


38 Days

Early Bird Pricing: $1,550

After October 10th: $1,650

Register Online






Fees include weekend coaching, lane fees, Cooper Camp, team sweatshirt, neck gator fall dryland, and fall tuning clinic.

Parent Handbook, Draft YSL Race Calendar, Gear Guide

Junior Competition Team – Ages 9-11 (U10-U12)

The Competition Team is our highest level team in the Jr. Development Program and is offered to skier’s age 9-12yrs (U10s – U12s). The Competition Team focuses on improving all mountain skiing, race technique, race tactics and establishing strong ski fundamentals in and out of the gates.  The Competition team trains two and half days a week plus MLK, Presidents day and mid-week training during Christmas Holiday. Competition team members are eligible to participate in November’s fall training trip held at Sun Valley. 

This program is for the motivated athlete and skier who wishes to prepare for a more competitive environment in a high quality training environment.  Professional coaches work with athletes on and off the hill to identify and pursue personal ski goals.

Training Team starts with fall dryland that runs on Sunday, 9am – 10:30am at local Hood River fields,  October 10th – November 15th. Click here to understand Covid-19 safeguards, participant’s expectations and refund policies.

Ages Program Dates Program Fees  
9-11 Dec 11th – Mar. 28th
Sat, Sun
9am – 3pm
Wednesday 3-6pm, MLK, Presidents Day                

63 Days

Dryland Starts Oct 10th

Early Bird Pricing: $2,110                 

After October 10th: $2,210

Register Online






Fees include coaching at Meadows, coaching at races, lane fees, Cooper Camp, team sweatshirt, neck gator, fall dryland, and fall tuning clinic.

Ski gear*, race helmet, All Access Meadows Season Pass, USSS (United States Ski and Snowboard), US Ski and Snowboard Youth Competitor License. Register online at

Parent Handbook, Draft YSL Race Calendar, Gear Guide

 USSS Competition Team U14/U16

The USSS Training Group is  for the very motivated U14/U16/U19 athlete who wishes to train 3-4 days and wants to race at the US Ski and Snowboard scored races. Besides racing, these athletes will focus on all-mountain free-skiing, technical drills, gate training (including speed elements of super-G & downhill), goal setting, mental visualization, teamwork, and leadership. The USSS Training Group will attend select USSS Evergreen scored races and attend U14 Divisional Qualifiers for U14s and select Evergreen  or NWC races for U16s. Training will start in September with dryland once a week and twice a week in October. On hill training will start at the mid-November with a 10 – 14 day fall training camp.  

USSS skiers train three full days (Sat, Sun, Thursday) with an option for an additional afternoon mid-week training session (Wednesday). 

Team athlete requirements: Skis: GS, SL, SG, FIS race helmet, all slalom protective gear, Back protector for all GS, SG, DH training and races.  All-Access Meadows Season Pass and a USSS Competitor License required.

Ages Program Dates Program Fees  
12-17 Sep 7th-  Nov: Fall Dryland, Fall Pre-season camp, Nov 17-28. Training start Dec 4th – Mid April        

Sat, Sunday, Thursday, Federal Holidays, Christmas Break

Early Bird Pricing: $3,500                 

After October 1st: $3,600

Register Online





Fees include lane fees, training and racing coaching fees on and off Mt.Hood, coaching fees for fall training camp, team sweatshirt, and fall dryland. Click here to understand Covid-19 safeguards, participant’s expectations and refund policies.

Alpine Events

Jan. 25,26, 2020Meadows Challenge, GS & SL, Meadows Devo Team, Training Team, Jr. CompIntent to Compete

Feb 9, 2020Cooper Duel, Duel SL, Cooper Spur, MMC RaceDevo Team, Training Team, Competition TeamIntent to Compete
Feb 28, 29 March 1 20204-Way, Jumping, XC, GS, SL, Ski BowlU14, U12, U10sIntent to Compete

March 15, 2020Candy Cup GS, Meadows, MMC RaceU12s,U10s, U8sIntent to Compete
March 27-29, 2020Buddy Werner Championships/U14 Finals, Schweitzer IDU12s - OR, WA, IDIntent to Compete
December 30Cooper CupEveryone!Intent to Compete

USSA Race Events




Alpine Results

12/30/19Cooper CupU8 Results
2/10/19Cooper DuelU10 Results
U12-U14 Results
U8 Results

Alpine Camps

Alpine Summer Camps

CSAT summer camps provide U12-U19 athletes summer training opportunities in GS and Slalom.  Our emphasis is on the continuation of skill development for all disciplines, including gate drill progressions and competitive training environments.  CSAT offers a high level training environment utilizing quality salted surfaces and highly experienced staff.

2021 GS Fundamentals Camps and Day Training Opportunities

  • GS Camp June 20 – 23: U10s (2ND Year), U12s and U14s (DOB 2011 – 2007) $665
  • GS Camp June 25 – 28: U14 and Older (DOB 2008 and Older) $665
  • SL Training July 16 – 19: U14 and Older (DOB 2008 – 2005) – Two Day Minimum Participation – $165 a day
  • SL Training July 21 – 24: U14 and Older (DOB 2008 – 2005) – Two Day Minimum Participation $165 a Day


Includes: Coaching, lift tickets, T-Shirt, salt, lane fees. 



Sun Peaks Fall Camps 2021

CSAT’s fall ski training camp  is going to Sun Peaks Canada! The skiing and training is great at Sun Peaks and the Canadian exchange rate makes the trip a sweet deal!  Sun Peaks is in the Okanagan Valley which is famous for ski areas and lack of crowds. The camp will focus on both GS and SL fundamentals with early season drill progressions, drill courses, full length courses and lots of freeskiing!
Team Camp
Leave: Nov 16nd
Train: Nov 17 – 28
Return: Nov 28
Family Camp
Train: Nov 21 – 27 (Ski with Family on Thanksgiving)
Coaching Staff
Shana Sweitzer, Tanner Lujan, TBD
Lodging: Ski in – Ski out
Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Hotel & Suites
3220 Village Way
Sun Peaks, BC V0E 5N0
Team Camp. Approximately $2400 US (Dependent on final participation numbers)
Includes Meals, Housing , Tickets, Lane Fees, Coaching, Transportation
$500 No-Refundable Deposit Due By October 1st
Refunds will be provided if we are not able to travel to Canada due to COVID- 19 or other travel restrictions.
Family Camp. Approximately $1100 Includes Tickets, Lane Fees, and Coaching (Dependent on final participation numbers) 
$100 per No-Refundable Deposit Due By October 15th 
Refunds will be provided if we are not able to travel to Canada due to COVID- 19 or other travel restrictions.

CSAT families or parents traveling to Sun Peaks will receive a 40% discount on any available rooms in the Cahility and 20% off any Bear Country properties in Sun Peaks. Tell the hotel/ booking agent you are with the CSAT PARENTS Group, valid 8-24-21(1-800-811-4588). There is no expiration on the discount but rooms fill up quickly so book your rooms early if you are planning on going. You can also use the following links to look at rooms/ properties: Cahility Condos , Bear Country Properties .


Room Type RACK 40% Cooper Spur Family Rate
Hotel Room 149 59.6 89.4
Studio Kitchenette 149 59.6 89.4
Studio Full Kitchen 169 67.6 101.4
Lofted Studio 199 79.6 119.4
Family Suite Full Kitchen 259 103.6 155.4
One Bedroom Suite 319 127.6 191.4


Travel To Canada
  • Athletes participating in team van travel and sharing room with other athletes must be fully Covid vaccinated prior to crossing the border. All people crossing the border must show proof of vaccination and a negative PCR Covid test within 48hrs of crossing, per Canadian rules (7/29/21)
  • Athletes under 12 who are unvaccinated can cross the border with a Covid vaccinated parent or guardian as of (7/29/21). All people crossing the border must show a negative PCR Covid test within 48hrs of crossing, per Canadian rules (7/29/21)
 Once registered for a camp we will provide updated information regarding entry into Canada.


Winter – Cooper Camp – 2021


All CSAT skiers are eligible to participate in Cooper Camp during the Christmas holiday ski week.  Cooper Camp integrates basic skiing and racing fundamentals through fun drills,  gate training, and free skiing for optimal skill acquisition.  Children that meet our basic requirements are eligible for this 4-day program. You can decide to continue afterwards, by upgrading to one of our Junior Development Teams.

Program dates:  December 21-23.

Fees include:  Supervised fundamental skill development training and free-skiing, to be completed with our annual Cooper Cup Giant Slalom Ski Race on the final day, and Cooper Camp T-shirt.

Requirements: Ski gear, helmet, lift tickets to Meadows or an All Access Season Pass.  Skier must be able to ride chair lift by themselves and make turns on easy terrain (green runs).

Location: Meadows, Hood River Meadows, conditions allowing.


Program Fees:  $385




Alpine Calendar

Coaching Staff

Shana Sweitzer

CSAT Executive Director & U14 Coach

Shana was hired as the Program Director in the Spring of 2012. Shana raced on the US Ski Team from 1993-1998 and competed at the World Cup and Europa Cup level in DH and SG. After retiring she attended college and was named first Team All-American while skiing for Whitman College. After college she coached throughout the Pacific Northwest and Inter Mountain Ski Divisions, with coaching positions at Mt.Bachelor Ski Education Foundation, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, Bluewood and Rocky Mt.College. When not keeping track of  200+  kids she mountain bikes, gardens and windsurfs.



Ryan Boroughs

U16 Coach

Ryan started coaching on Mt. Hood shortly after finishing his racing career in 2000. He coached YSL freeride and racing in Park City for several years. In 2006, Ryan moved to the Southwest and took on the position of Head USSA/FIS Coach for Flagstaff Alpine Ski Team. In 2009, he and his wife Karen headed back to Mt. Hood Meadows where he had been the Head U19/U16 Coach for Meadows Race Team. Ryan is very excited to now be a part of the CSAT family and share his passion for helping athletes develop strong skiing skills while having fun. When not on snow, Ryan loves mountain biking and exploring the outdoors with his wife and two kids, Harry and Hannah.



Tanner Lujan

Competition Team Coach

Tanner comes to Hood River from Mt.Bachelor Ski Education Foundation (MBSEF) were he raced at the NorAm level in SG and DH and is a one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier GS and SL racers, taking numerous NWC SL and GS titles over the last 4 years.  Tanner has been coaching for CSAT the last two summers. Skiing is one of Tanner’s greatest passions, and he believes it is an excellent way to develop a positive relationship with yourself and your community.  He is very excited to make Hood River his new home and be with a team that values community and passion for sport.




Chelsea Laswell

U12 Competition Coach


Chelsea started working with CSAT in 2010 as an assistant coach. In the spring of 2012 she was hired to bring her modern technique and endless enthusiasm to CSAT’s Junior Competition Team. Chelsea grew up racing for the Park City Ski Team, where she competed at the national and international level. In 2006, Chelsea was recruited to race for the University of Utah and she spent 4 years racing NCAA Division I. After graduating from college, Chelsea moved to Hood River Oregon where she now spends time doing her favorite things, like riding her bike, running, painting, cooking and of course, SKIING! Chelsea also likes to spend her time thinking of ways to torture her athletes with endless drills, bottle caps and destroyers. What will she come up with next? The possibilities are endless




Mary Gunesch

U12  Head Competition Team Coach


Garret Lodge

Training Team Coach



Jeri Moore

Training Team Coach

Jerry is a Native of Mt Hood where his passion for skiing led him to racing and competing as a USSA racer for 6 years. His need for speed and love for competition resulted in a professional Motorsports career. After two action packed decades, too many injuries and a remarkable career, he settled down in the Columbia Gorge. Jerry has been coaching ski racing for the last 6 years, is a USSA Level 200 certified coach and holds a National Ski patrolcertification.

Jeri is very excited to join CSAT’s coaching staff and share his passion for racing and extensive knowledge of Meadows hidden powder trails with his young charges. His romance with the outdoors and ski racing is never exhausted and accompanied by his son, he can be found fly fishing, biking, boating and hiking in just about every remote outpost in the Pacific Northwest.




Garth Hager

Development Team Coach


Garth grew up in Seattle, skiing Crystal Mtn, and Snoqualmie pass with his family.  His father was a ski instructor and soon, he followed in his footsteps through High School, teaching skiing.  While attending College in Bellingham, Wa, he made the US Freestyle ski team for mogul skiing.  He spent 9 years on the team as an athlete before coaching for the team for 11 years.  He is a ussa level 3 mogul, and level 3 aerial certified coach.  He loves to share his passion for spending time on skis.  He lives in Hood River with his wife and two daughters.




Jessica Altman

Development Team Coach

Jessica grew up skiing on Mt. Hood.  She went to Mt. Hood Academy then raced for Rocky Mt. College.  After college she moved to Mammoth, CA and coached for Mammoth Mountain Ski Team for a couple of years.  After that she moved to Hood River and was head coach for Hood River High School Ski Team for 6 years.  After getting married she moved back to Welches to start a family and become part owner of Cherryville Construction.  Now she is looking forward to getting back to coaching. She enjoys skiing, biking, and hiking with her husband, Allen, and daughters Emelia, Adin, and Nomi.




Sonja Fritz

Development Team Coach

sonja-baldfaceSonja started skiing at the age of two and raced both in Austria and New Zealand. Years of ski instructing in Austria ignited a love for skiing with kids. Since moving to the US in 2007, she explored mostly backcountry and big mountain riding in Alaska and the PNW. In  her second year with CSAT, she looks forward to help the kids become well rounded skiers who will have a life long love for the sport! Austrian ski instructor certified,  USSA level I,  and WFA Certification. When not skiing, Sonja is enjoying the Gorge with her husband and baby boy.




Carter Rigart

Development Coach

Carter grew up on Mt. Hood, racing competitively for CSAT, bringing home the coveted wooden ski for two years.  He took his competitive edge with him to HRVHS, where the team won the 2017 Alpine High School Championships.  Carter was named male ski-miester for his results competing in both alpine and freestyle competitions.  Carter has coached for CSAT X-Mas camps for the last 3 years  and a PSIA instructor for Mt. Hood Meadows Ski School.  Last ski season, Carter was studying in Austria for the year where he was able to ski the alps.  When Carter is not on the slopes, he is in the water kiteboarding, surfing on the coast or mountain biking.  He is looking forward to a great ski season and helping his kids become “little rippers” on the mountain




Justin Van Houte 

Development Team Coach

Justine grew up skiing in New Hampshire and raced high school in Massachusetts. After attending college in Boulder, Colorado, she  ski bummed in Telluride, got a job as a lift operator and became enamored with mogul skiing. She made the U.S. Ski team and had the privilege to ski all of over the world in her  7 years World Cup career. In summers Justin trained on Mt.Hood’s Palmier Glacier and fell in love with the Columbia Rive Gorge. After retiring from competitive skiing in 2003, she worked in restaurants and become an RN. She now lives in Hood River with her husband and her 2 children, who ski as much as possible! She also enjoys mountain biking, windsurfing, and costume parties!




Craig McConnell

Development Team Coach

Craig grew up in Bend, OR skiing at Mt. Bachelor.  He raced for MBSEF then for Mt. View High School. He attended Oregon State University, while attending, he Coached the Corvallis High School Ski Team for 4 years before moving to Hood River, where he was the assistant coach for the Hood River Valley High School Ski Team for two years.   Craig is excited to be back coaching as he encourages his son to learn how to race. You will often find Craig, his wife Sarah, and two kids enjoying the many outdoor opportunities around the Gorge.




Emily Knutson

Development Coach

Originally from the flatland’s of North Dakota, after college Emily soon discovered a love for skiing and mountains that derailed her med school plans and directed her career path towards experiencing life in several great mountain towns. She has recently returned to the Northwest after spending the last few years coaching hockey and teaching skiing in Aspen, CO and Jackson, WY. 

Besides skiing and working…Emily loves to hike, bike, cook, sweat, read, shoot her bow and play with her nephews and niece, and she has high hopes of becoming a proficient Nordic skier this winter!


Jaimie Didier

Development Team Coach

jamie in 1peice


Jaimie grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  She found love in the outdoors and skiing at a young age.  After finishing college she moved to Hood River where she took advantage of all the PNW had to offer.  She has coached for CSRT the past 3 years and is a Level II Alpine instructor, working on her level III.  She also holds her Children’s Specialist season and will see you on the mountain!





Garth Elison

Training Team Coach

birds-of-prey-beaver-creekGarth joins the 2016 CSAT staff as a USSA Level-3 certified alpine coach and PSIA Level-3 certified instructor with over 35 years of experience. He has served in full-time positions at Timberline Lodge and Timberline Summer Training Center, Skyliners Ski Team, (now Mt. Bachelor Snow Sports Education Foundation), and most recently as a staff trainer for the Timberline Snow Sports School.  Garth also served 5 years as Head Coach for the Corvallis High Ski Team and 1 year as President of the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association during which time he completed graduate school in Electrical Engineering at Oregon State University.  Garth’s ski racing began in the mid-70’s as an off-season activity between competitive distance running in cross-country and track at Clackamas Community College. Garth’s love of skiing and working with skiers continues to be his inspiration towards returning to skiing full-time in the years to come.  “It is an incredibly great privilege to be working with such a talented group of coaches and athletes at CSAT and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program.”  When Garth is not spending time on the ski hill he serves as Director of Technology at Phoseon Technology in Portland.




Becka Parker

 Development Coach

Becka grew up skiing in the Tahoe area and found a deep love for the snow early on! Originally learning to snowboard she became a snowboard instructor at Alpine meadows in 2003 and moved two Mt. Hood Meadows in 2005 as a PSIA certified ski and snowboard instructor. She has a level 3 AASI certification in snowboarding and a Level 1 PSIA for skiing, with a child specialist certification. Before moving away from Mt hood she was a Ski School Training Director for Meadows. Shortly after massage school she moved to Alaska to explore the big mountains and backcountry skiing of the far north. Eventually Becka moved back to the Mount Hood area with her family and two little girls in 2013. Beka has a passion for skiing that she is excited to share with CSAT’s little rippers!




Mark Mason

Development Coach

Mark grew up in Michigan with a family that loved to ski so much that by the age of two every child was expected to lace up their boots and get out on the hill. At the age of nineteen Mark moved west to Aspen Colorado, and Park City Utah to follow his skiing passion. He spent the next 11 years working as a ski instructor, race coach, and traveling to every Town Series, FIS, Coors & Peugeot Pro Tour race throughout Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and California, that his trusty Datsun 210 rust bucket could manage. In 1985 he moved to Hood River to enjoy windsurfing and skiing, and worked for 28 years as a partner and manager of Hood River Windsurfing, which you may now know as Doug’s. Currently Mark is working as a Real Estate Broker with Windermere Real Estate, and enjoys, skiing, kite boarding, golfing, and working on his house in his free time.

Alpine – New Parents

Parent Handbook.

Jr. Race Team Parent Info Meeting November 14, 2019 

Equipment Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions

Download printable CSAT Equipment Guidelines


SL Race Ski x x x
GS Race Ski   x* x
Boot: Soft flexing with front buckle x x x
Poles with straps. No trigger systems x x x
Helmet (no ear flaps) x x x
Helmet chin guard for SL   If hitting gates* x
Shin Guards   If hitting gates* x
Pole Guards   If hitting gates* x
Race Suit   Recommended* x
Goggles x x x
Rain Poncho and Pants x x x
Neckwarmer x x X
2nd Pair of Gloves x x x




All Ski companies make good products and the coaches will be able to advise parents on which would be suitable for their athlete. Shaped or side cut skis are when the tip and the tail are wider to help the athletes to carve by creating an arc in the snow. 

Slalom skis tend to have more side cut than do giant slalom skis (short, quick turns vs. longer turns). It is beneficial to go shorter rather than longer when choosing length for children. A shorter ski will facilitate turning, allowing quicker progression of basic skills and increase your child’s enjoyment of skiing. Their skis should be between the chin and the top of the forehead with slalom skis more at chin level and GS skis at forehead level. Check with your coaches before you purchase your child’s equipment. 


Boots are the most important ski gear with regard to skill acquisition and improvement. Too stiff or too large of boots will significantly hinder improvement of young skiers. A softer flexing boot will be more effective than a stiffer boot due to strength limitations and skill level. To determine if a boot is soft enough for your child you should be able to see the forward boot flexion happening in the upper cuff simultaneously with the lower leg. If the upper boot cuff does not 

move or moves very little the boot is too stiff and will hinder your child in their skill progression. 

Boots should fit properly, tight but not uncomfortable. Remember the boots might feel too tight at first but will break in within a couple of ski days. Buying boots oversized is counter productive for both performance and fit. 

Buy boots that fit properly and check with your coaches if you have any questions about your child’s equipment. Bindings, good fitting boots and appropriate clothing are the most important pieces of equipment. Bindings must be currently approved, and DIN rated for your racer’s ability. At the start of each season, always have boots and binding’s release tested at your local ski shop. Boots need to allow enough room in the toes for warmth, but still need to be a tight fit. ALL racers should be able to “flex” their boots. 


It is very important if you are training at night that you wear goggles with a clear lens. Dark lenses or goggles meant for daytime skiing are not effective at night and can not only hinder your child’s training but can even make it dangerous when skiing gates if they cannot see properly. 



Q: Where do we buy ski equipment? Are there any equipment deals for my child? Are hand-me-downs OK?

A: Alpine Race Center is a great supporter of CSAT racers, but you can find new gear in all kinds of places. Look for Alpine Center’s yearly racer discount day advertised on the web site and through blast mails. CSAT and the Hood River High School also have a gear swap prior to the season so look for announcements on the website and monthly newsletter.

Equipment is forever changing hands at CSAT. Checkout CSAT’s Intra Team Google doc for high quality youth ski gear. Also CMAC Buy and Sell Facebook page, Leavenworth Ski Club Buy and Sell Face Book Page, and Mission Ridge Ski Team have buy and sell forums on Facebook. There is also a forum at SidelineSwap which might also be helpful. Finally there are many fine outlets for gear on the web, including ARTech, Race Place, RaceWerks, SVST

Q: How should I tuning my racer’s skis (edge bevel, base bevel, etc.)

A: This is a big topic. There are many resources on the internet. Here is a great pdf from CMAC’s ski guru, John Ellis.  

Q: How do you know when a kid needs new skis?

A: When the bases and edges are beyond tuning or when the child outgrows the pair they have. If you are not sure ask your child’s coach for their opinion. Look to see what other kids are skiing on, or ask your tuning shop.

Q: How many times can you move bindings?

A: The more you move bindings the weaker the ski becomes, certainly not more than twice. You can always try it but the ski is likely to break. If the skis have riser-plates on them, bindings can be moved indefinitely, if you are careful to preserve the holes.

Q: Can you tune skis yourself? Are there any classes? Where do you buy wax etc.?

A: Yes you can tune your kid’s skis yourself. CSAT offers a tuning clinic in early December. There are also many resources on the internet, however the best rule of thumb for tuning skis for younger skiers is to keep it simple and keep skis waxed on a weekly basis.

Q: How long should poles be?

A: In the past it was recommended that your elbow be at 90° when your pole is in the snow. Now a little longer is regarded as better.

Q: Does my child need special poles, pole guards, GS poles, etc.?

A: They don’t need guards unless they are hitting the gates and they will let you know when they start hitting the gates. They don’t need GS poles but it is nice to have a bent GS pole for U12 & U10 athletes to help kids grab and learn good tuck body position.

Q: Where do you buy the CSAT team jackets and uniforms?

A: Orders for new jackets, rain ponchos, and zip off pants are taken once a year in the spring. This will be announced in our email communications beforehand in February.  A team jacket is not but recommended as it helps coaches locate kids, creates a great sense of team and the kids love it.

Q: Are there any extra items we should have on hand?

A: Absolutely you should have extra gloves, a neck gator to protect your child from frostbite on very cold days and a set of dry clothing for wet days and accidents.