- When starting to race for the first time in the Summer League or Club races there are many rules and procedures to be followed. This page is designed to help you when you arrive at your first race. It does not deal with how to enter races. You will need to get advice from your club and perhaps your coach for this. Here we point out for you some of the most important things to know about a race. For much more detailed information about racing and race rules you will need to consult your club, trainer or look up the ERSA rules or the Snowsport England Race Manual, available from GBSki. You can also talk to race officials sometimes at races. As you become more experienced you may decide to register as a racer with the Snowsport England. Different rules will apply to national races but the basics are the same for all the races you attend.
On Arrival at the event
- Go to collect your bib from the race office. You may need to fill in a race commentator’s sheet before you are given your bib. In the summer league sometimes these sheets are not used and bibs are collected by your race manager. Please refer to the published timetable and listen to the announcements. Go out onto the slope and practice/warm up when advised to do so. You will have about 1 hour for this.
- You must wear long sleeves, long trousers and gloves even in hot weather and a “Race Helmet” plus appropriate warm clothing for indoor snow events.
- You are given a period of time to inspect the course. Listen to the commentator who will tell you when you can start inspecting and when you have to stop.
- You must be wearing skis and your bib to inspect the course. Once again this is not always required in the summer league.
- Your coach or trainer may help you inspect the course.
- You must not ski through the course or ‘shadow’ it (ie. ski down the side making turns, parallel to the course). You can be disqualified if you do this.
- Check the start order, as you need to be at the start in plenty of time. Remember that in some races the order for your second and third run may be different than for the first, and you may need to ask to be sure when to go to the start. The Start Marshall, who is at the start, will help you.
- When it is your turn you should appear in the start gate with all your equipment ready, boots done up etc.
- If you do turn up late at the start you may be given a provisional start; the Start Referee will make the decision and the jury will decide if the time counts. It is much easier, less hassle and less stressful to be ready on time.
Making a Mistake
- When you race down the course, you can go through the gates in any order and any direction but there is obviously a best and fastest route that passes through all the gates in the shortest time.
- If you miss a gate you can go back and take it again going back several gates sometimes is inadvisable since your time will be very poor and the race will be delayed. If you sadly decide that you cannot finish the course, you can signal that you have retired by holding your ski poles in the air in the form of an X.
- If you fall you can continue the race as long as you have not accepted help from anyone. This is why officials do not rush to help you pick up your poles and skis if you fall – they are not being unkind, they are aware that if they help you, you cannot continue in the race and will be disqualified.
- If you retire or knowingly have missed a gate you should not continue through the course, or ski through the finish gate. This is against the rules.
- If you make a mistake gate judges may advise you whether you need to “Go back” or whether you can “Go on”. If in doubt, ask them.
- If someone or something is in the way as you ski your run, then you must ski out of the course at that point and tell an official that you request a rerun.
- On no account should you ski through the finish gate if you have been obstructed; you are not allowed to be given a re-run if you ski through the finish.
Provisional Starts, Runs and Re-runs
- If you are told that you have a provisional start or provisional re-run this means that the jury will decide at the end of the run whether your run is valid. The decision will be written on the protocol.
- The Protocol is a piece of paper put on the race notice board after each run which gives information about racers who did not complete the run, were disqualified or were given provisional runs.
- There is an announcement when the protocol is posted. All racers should check this protocol as soon as it is posted. It is valid for 15 minutes.
- If you think there is a mistake in the protocol about you, discuss this with your parent or coach. If you have clear evidence that you completed the course correctly, you may protest about the decision by handing in a written protest accompanied by a fee of £25.00 within 15 minutes of the protocol being posted. Remember you will be given the “benefit of doubt” but without positive evidence, e.g. video, a protest may not be successful.
- This does not apply in the Summer League where a verbal protest is sufficient.
- A group of officials who are the jury will meet to discuss your protest.
- They will hear evidence from people involved, including you. You will be able to have your parent or team manager with you when you speak to the jury. There is no need to be nervous, the jury’s job is simply to hear evidence separately from the people concerned and come to a fair decision.
- If the jury is uncertain as to whether you made a mistake, the decision will be in your favour. This is called giving the racer “the benefit of the doubt”.
- If your protest is “upheld” this means you are back in the race and your fee of £25.00 is returned to you. If the protest is “not upheld” the decision is as stated on the protocol.
Finally, remember that this sheet is to help you with any problems you may encounter in your first few races; you will certainly hardly ever be involved in late starts, re-runs or protests. If you are, always try to stay calm and polite and seek help if you need it. The main aim of everyone is for you to ENJOY YOUR RACING.
NB. This sheet is written for children and provides a simplified and readable version of some of the aspects of racing. It should be used with this purpose in mind and in no way should be seen as to provide any amendment or modification to the rules as used and modified by Snowsport England or ERSA. The current Race Manual and ERSA rules should be the main reference for all racers, coaches and officials.