News and Announcements

Time to Register
If you are a U14 or younger, you'll need to register for the Sundown Ski Team, CYSL ( and Tri-state (, and USSA (  If you are U16 or older, you don't need to register for CYSL.

Season pass discounts are only available through the end of October, so get 'em now!

Goal Setting 

Goal setting is a large component of success.  Watch any successful person - athletes, actors, political leaders - and they all talk about having goals.   Goals are far more than dreams.  Goals are concrete - they have a date, they have a plan, etc.   In this short series, Zig Ziglar talks about the importance of goals and how to perform goal setting.




Are you working out? It's widely known that athletes who are in the best physical shape are the fastest.  That's why Ted, Julia, Lindsey, and all the other USST stars are busting their chops right now to prepare for next year.  You don't need the resources of One Victory Lane to become stronger, faster, and more flexible.  You can (and should) participate in another sport.  You should also commit to a formal exercise plan over the summer - maybe form a group through Facebook and support each other to work out 5 or 6 days a week.

Your local gym can offer training via classes; many offer summer rates for students.  If you'd rather work out at home, try P90X or Insanity ($120 each).  Or, there's a web channel called "The Gym Box" (see  which costs $10/month.  You can view this on a Samsung blue ray or TV with smart hub, or a Boxee or similar device, or on your PC.
The bottom line - find a way to make fitness a habit over the summer.  Come next December, you'll be ripped and glad that you did.

World Cup Video
Most kids learn visually, so there's nothing better than watching world cup races.  Unfortunately, Universal Sports will no longer be a free channel, so your cable system may not offer it after Jan 1.  Fear not. World Cup video is "broadcast" via Universal Sports.  You can go to http:// , click on alpine skiing, and look for the world cup seasonal package. 

Early weight transfer
There is a great video on the Center of Excellence channel showing Michael Ankeny and early weight transfer.  Milchael gradually steps onto his up hill ski, starting about two-thirds through the turn.   Moving your weight from the outside ski to the inside ski late in the turn helps quicken transition.   Slow transitions and sitting back are the root of all evil (bet you didn't know that..)  So, take a look at the video and see if you can ski like Mikey.   (You'll need the MS Silverlight plug in to view the video.) 

Lazy? Watch this!!
OK - here's a video on one of our pet peeves when we watch good skiers bombing around the hill with their friends.  Remember - you'll race like you train.




Bode Quote

These words are even more enlightening, given his last Olympic performance.  (What role do you think attitude plays in your performance in racing, school, or life?)  This was in New Hampshire Magazine, August 2008.

Recently, when asked what he’d most want to communicate to his legions of fans, especially the young ones, Bode’s surprising response had nothing to do with enjoyment, self-reliance or success. The most important things in life are those moments when you do something purely because it’s the right thing to do, even if no one is watching. Those fleeting, dumb moments, those little choices you make every day — someone drops something and you pick it up for them, you help someone across the road — that’s when you have the opportunity to define your character. Most of the time there’s no payback but you do it anyway. It’s a process that builds self-confidence, at school, in sports and in life.”

"Happiness isn’t an excuse to slack; it’s an opportunity to be your best, to create a life’s work, to make your mark. If this is news to you, then it’s definitely time to something extraordinary. Happiness awaits.”

Somebody said later [after Bode lost a race] that I might as well have stayed home. That’s a bad attitude to take. We’d give up at a lot of things in life if we knew in advance how difficult they’d be, or how badly they’d turn out. But then we’d never excel at anything, or even learn much; we’d be a culture of half-asses and middling wannabes. So thank goodness we can’t see into the future. March on, I say. It’s our only option.”

You can read the rest of the article here:

Summer training with Ted Ligety

Last year at this time Ted was hard at work.  How are you doing on your summer training?


Lecture Series

Here are some videos to watch over the summer.

Randy Pausch - Last Lecture - J3's and up

Suprisingly, a lecture with nothing to do about ski racing is all about ski racing.  How so? 

That's for you to figure out. 

Randy Pausch - Time Mangement



Riddle me this, Batman: why would these videos follow the others? (OK, here's a hint: how do you spend your time on race day?)

Part 2

Technique and Tactics Presentation

Ever find yourself late or low in a course? Want to know how to fix it?  Coach Bob put together this Powerpoint presentation to cover when, how, and where to turn in a course.  Full of useful information and great pictures off of Ron LeMaster's site.

Here's why we do this

Phil Mahre recalls his 1984 gold medal and what it means to him to represent our country.

World Cup Highlights

You can go to Universal Sports to get replays of World Cup runs AND IT"S FREE!!!  These are great to watch and visualize good technique.

While you are watching, check out the racers for technique.
Athletic Stance 
-- See how the weight is stacked over the center of the ski, with the hips and hands forward as they transition into a new turn.
-- Note the pole plants, especially in slalom skiing.

Parallel Position
-- See how they start their turns by flexing the ankle, then rolling the ankle and knees inwards.
-- See how their outside leg becomes long, and they pull up their inside knee at the turn apex (while keeping pressure on the outside ski). Then, watch how they transition their weight to the inside ski to finish the turn.

Keep watching until you can see each of the four moves and the two stances.

Or - watch Mikaela Shiffrin when she was a J3:

Learn More
GS Article
Take a look at this article on GS published on the USSA site:

Tactics Article

Coach Bob has published an article on race tactics.  You can click here to go read it:

Absorbing Moguls

You perform retraction much like absorbing moguls.  So, if you want to learn how to retract and stay forward, ski moguls more.


Tuning School
Here's a link to videos that show you how to wax your skis!  Fast skis are made,
not purchased. From prepping new skis, to edge filing and polishing, to waxing,
overlays, and roto brushing - it's all here in video!  So, get out the files, guides,
iron, wax and fiberlene and follow along.

Here are some links where you can learn even more about ski racing:
Modern Technique

Austrian Coaching

Inclination in GS


Want to be faster? Keep watching these videos.  Try to reproduce the movements you see here in your skiing.
We'll cover each aspect in Holiday Camp and then spend the rest of our lives trying to perfect them. (Think I'm kididng? Ask your coach or parent.) 

Phil McNichol Bio
A ski racer growing up in Washington, Connecticut, Phil McNichol turned to instruction and then coaching while a student at Northern Arizona University in the mid-1980s and quickly became one of the world's best.

Before becoming a United States Ski Team coach in 1997, McNichol led the Ski Club Vail and the Park City Ski teams. McNichol worked through all levels of the U.S. program before being named men's head coach for the 2003 season.

  • Head coach of U.S. Development Team (1997-2000), men's Europa Cup slalom/giant slalom (2000-2001) and men's Europa Cup (2001-2003)
  • Married to former World Cup skier Beth Madsen

Better Carving

So, you want to be a racer? Better be able to carve on anything. Here's how:

Pole Plants

Think pole plants are dead? Think again. You will see definite pole plants in Slalom races and "phantom" pole plants in GS and speed races. You will DEFINITELY need them in free skiing - steeps, trees, bumps. Here's learning the Bode way:

Dynamic Carving
Now that you have the basics, including a pole plant, you can work on advanced carved turns.

Bode Miller and SportsSkool - Skiing tougher terrain
Learn from Bode Miller and CT Native Phil McNichol how to ski the steeps.


Ron LeMaster, Alpine racing technique

Ron LeMaster, Biomechanics

Richard Malmros, Sharpening the Saw
Lengthy article, but full of insight.

Richard Malmros, Speed 101
The basics of speed sking for you SG junkies.

Kim Reichhelm - Driving into the turn
Comedian Steven Wright once said, "You know the feeling you get when you lean back
in a chair and almost fall, but catch yourself?  I feel like that all the time."  A good racing turn is like that.  You must commit your upper body towards the gate, while your feet swim across the slope, out from underneath your body.  You think you'll fall on your face, but the skis catch up and support you. 

Please give us feedback!  Your responses are anonymous.

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Dryland Training Exercises

Posted by robert harwood at Dec 19, 2004 4:00PM PST ( 0 Comments )
More Dryland Training
Click on the exercises below do see demonstrations of each one. You'll need QuickTime to view them. Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds each to warm up:

Now try each of the following.  Perform each exercise for one minute and rest for one minute to form a repetition.  Start with one rep and work up to three repetitions of each exercise.
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Ski Tuning Starts Now (click here)

Posted by robert harwood at Aug 31, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
Did you know that ski prep starts now? It does! Click the link above to find out why and what to do.
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Posted by robert harwood at May 6, 2004 5:00PM PDT ( 0 Comments )
    Through a special arrangement with the Sundown Ski Team, you are now able to get a discount on fluoro overlays through  Go to  to make your purchase.  Refer to bottom of this article for details on the discount. For race day, remember to select the appropriate wax for the temperature.

    Now, a bit of background. 
  • The most important aspect to turning in a fast time is technique.  So, if you want to go fast, work hard on your drills.  That said, equipment does play an important role. 
  • The next most important thing you can do is to be sure your edges are really sharp.  A local ski shop should be able to apply a good race tune to your skis.  In general, we suggest staying with the factory recommended base bevel and side angles.  Our team has close relationships with two ski shops - Sport House in Canton, CT and Competitive Edge in Mass.  While discounts are not available, our team members have had good results from tunes at both locations.
  • Now we have come to waxing.   You can get a good amount of speed on race day by using a high quality hydrocarbon wax for the appropriate temperature.  This wax is inexpensive, running about $15-20 for a 180 gram bar and can be purchased at a local ski shop or  We suggest you get bars for the temperature ranges between 10 degrees F to over 32 degrees F, which is most typical for weather in CT. For most major brands, like Swix and Toko, this temperature range can be covered with three bars, at most.  So, there's lots of benefit to be had -- at a low cost -- by simply waxing your skis after Saturday's practice in preparation for the next day's race.
  • The next step up, which may make a few tenths of a second difference, is to wax with a fluoro wax when the humidity is high.  As the temperature rises towards and over freezing, the benefit from fluoro increases.  This is because in warmer conditions the friction between your skis and the snow tends to melt the snow and form a thin layer of water under your skis.  The water against your ski bottoms can form a vacuum and create additional drag.  You need a substance, like fluoro, to make the water bead up and not cause your skis to stick.  Fluoro wax purchased in a ski shop is pretty expensive.  Fluoro overlays, which can give you another tenth or so, are even more expensive.
  • When working with fluoro waxes, remember to keep it safe. Wax your skis only in well-ventilated areas and wear a respirator. Watch the temperature of your iron closely. If the iron is too hot, the wax will start to smoke. The smoke from fluoro wax can make you sick.

  • To help our older racers experiment with waxes and overlays, we've worked out a discount with  The agreement is that you will get double the quantity of overlay, if you let them know you race for the Sundown Ski Team when you place your order.   Because the fluoro wax is already significantly discounted, no additional discount on wax is available.  Still, you will find that these waxes are significantly cheaper than what you will pay elsewhere for "name brand" ski wax.

    A final tip - teflon fibers (which is what the "fluoro" stands for) in your skis can build up and cause your skis to become slower.  So, after each race, we suggest that you do a "hot scrape" with a hydrocarbon wax to clean the teflon fibers out of your bases.  Then, wax with the appropriate hydrocarbon wax for the Wednesday night practice.  Those two waxings will ensure that your bases are ready to accept the fluoro wax for the following week's race.