GENERAL FAQs

When does SPAC plan for the upcoming season?

The race and training calendar for SPAC is influenced by a variety of factors including, but not limited to: Stevens Pass operating schedule for the upcoming season, PNSA calendar, Western Region calendar, and holidays.   SPAC bids on races to host at the PNSA spring convention.  At convention, all PNSA clubs set their race schedule for PNSA supported events.   After convention, the SPAC Program Director builds the training and race calendar for the upcoming season.  During that time, the new registration paperwork is typically prepared.  Generally by the September fall bbq, registration is open and the seasons’ calendar is complete.

What is a Mighty Mite?

Mighty Mites are racers that are 13 and under. Racers compete in their “U” class, based on their age as of December 31.

Mighty Mite “U” classification is defined as:

U8   (2005, 2006) = 6 & 7 years old
U10 (2003, 2004) = 8 & 9 years old
U12 (2001, 2002) =  10 & 11 years old
U14 (1999, 2000) =  12 & 13 years old

What is the SPAC shack?

The SPAC Shack is what SPAC’ers call the timing shack, which is where SPAC stores race equipment, timing equipment and misc. supplies.  It is also where SPAC staffs a team to conduct the timing during a SPAC hosted race.  SPAC has 2 shacks: the “SPAC shack” which is a permanent structure located just past the Big Chief chair, and a “Mobile Timing Shack” which is often stored at the base of Big Chief below the “Showcase” run, but is moved to other locations on the mountain as needed for race situations.  The permanent SPAC Shack is typically where racers meet in the mornings or evenings for training, and also where SPAC conducts awards ceremonies for hosted races.

Do I need to get a lift ticket or a seasons pass?

Stevens Pass offers discounts on seasons passes in the spring of each year.  These are usually the best “deal” for the athlete but seasons passes can also be purchased in the summer and fall for a slightly higher rate.  Families can opt to buy lift tickets for every day of training but a family should look at the number of anticipated training days and decide if it is better to buy a lift ticket each day or a seasons pass.

What is the relationship between SPAC and Stevens Pass?

SPAC operates at Stevens Pass and has a long standing history with the mountain, with SPAC having been founded in 1950’s.   Stevens Pass provides quality hill space to SPAC training during the week as well as for Thursday and Friday nights, when Stevens Pass is open for night operations.  In addition, Stevens Pass supports SPAC’s annual races with groomed, well-maintained hill space, and those races include: Wild Katz, Masters Race, Evergreen Cup and Steve Madison Small Fry/Easter Race/March Madness.   In addition, SPAC usually bids on other PNSA hosted races and Stevens Pass works cooperatively with SPAC to host a well-run event.  Because of the long-standing great relationship with Stevens Pass, SPAC proudly displays Stevens Pass logos on our website, race materials, team uniforms and other items produced by Stevens Pass.

What is USSA?

USSA is the guiding organization for all Ski Teams, and SPAC racers often compete in “USSA sanctioned” races. If a racer competes in a USSA sanctioned race, then the racer needs to become a member of USSA, which consists of annual dues that vary based on whether the racer is a Mighty Mite or a Junior and if they are a Junior there are additional optional fees for FIS racing. USSA information can be found on the USSA.org website. All USSA licensed racers are tracked on the USSA database including any USSA sanctioned races in which they compete. SPAC is part of the PNSA division www.pnsa.org (Pacific Northest Ski Association), which is part of the Western Region of USSA. USSA has 4 regions: Western, Rocky / Central, Northern and Eastern. Each division and region also maintains its’ own website and programs specific to that division or region.

What is PNSA?

PNSA stands for Pacific Northwest Ski Association and SPAC is a member of PNSA. There are 24 clubs in 3 states (Washington, Oregon and western Idaho) that belong to PNSA. All athletes are encouraged to become familiar with PNSA and the website as it is a great source of information on upcoming races (see the race calendar) and other events or newsworthy items pertinent to PNSA clubs. PNSA hosts a convention in June every year and any member organizations membership is eligible to attend. At convention, rules and regulations are reviewed and changes are voted upon, and the race calendar for PNSA supported events is established. PNSA has an auxiliary organization called PNSEF which is a foundation that is non-profit and exists to help offset the high costs of ski racing for the athletes. PNSEF also has a board meeting during the PNSA convention. PNSA also has a meeting in the fall to follow up on items from the convention and to deal with other business as appropriate.

What is an “elite” pass?

PNSA has an elite pass program that is unique in the ski racing community and incredibly beneficial to Junior racers in lowering some of the high costs of racing at the Junior level. An elite pass is a pass that is earned based on a racer having USSA points in any discipline below a specified threshold. For men, it is USSA points below 180 in any discipline and for women, it is USSA points below 190 in any discipline (based on rules during the 2009 season). If an athlete qualifies for an elite pass, their name will appear on a list published by PNSA in September based on the prior season’s results. The price of the pass is set by PNSA, and it enables the racer to ski at ANY PNSA ski resort during the ski season (Sept.-May) without paying any additional fees. Typically the elite pass is more than a seasons pass at Stevens Pass, but it serves as a seasons pass at all PNSA ski resorts.

What is FIS?

The International Ski Federation – Fédération Internationale de Ski, Internationaler Ski Verband – is abbreviated in all languages as FIS. FIS is the main international organisation of ski sports. Founded by 14 member nations in 1924 in Chamonix, France, today it has a membership of 101 national ski associations and is based in Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.

The federation organises the following ski sport disciplines, for which it oversees World Cup competitions and World Championships: Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, and Snowboarding.

Athletes are eligible to compete in races that are sanctioned as “FIS” races beginning in 1st year J2 level. Coaches must submit names to race organizers of athletes intending to race in FIS, but it is up to the FIS host to determine the number of racers they will accept from each region/division and/or country. FIS racers earn “FIS” points, much in the same way that USSA points are earned and calculated.