Series provides skiers with unique racing opportunity |

Series provides skiers with unique racing opportunity

Bryce Evans
summit daily news

As head coach of Team Summit’s alpine development program, Jerry Karl is clear on the perception many people have about ski racing: It’s too expensive.

Fees for youth races are around $20, plus the added $70 cost for a competitive license with USSA. Then, equipment charges are factored in. Speed suits, specialized skis, boots, helmets – all are as regular to the sport as a bat and glove are to baseball.

So, Karl understands the hesitation of some parents to get their kids involved.

And that’s the main reason Team Summit partnered with The Summit Foundation and local ski resorts more than 30 years ago to start the Summit Cup Series, a totally free – from registration to lift ticket – entry-level competition series that teaches kids the basics of the sport.

The first of three events is Saturday at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

“This is an opportunity to get kids out on the hill and have fun, eliminating the stress,” Karl said. “It lets (kids) see what the sport’s all about and to do it in a fun environment.”

And the kids can do this with two standard giant slalom races, taking place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Breck’s American run on Peak 9. Any boys or girls between the ages of 6 and 14 are eligible to take part, regardless of skill level, and the races will be broken down into five age categories with awards handed out to the top-10 skiers in each GS run.

Karl, who’s run the series the past six years, said 160 skiers are already signed up for Saturday with registration running through Friday.

“It doesn’t matter if they have speed suits or any experience at all,” he said. “That’s what it’s here for, for them to learn how it all works.”

That goes for parents as well. Karl said youth races regularly struggle with finding enough parent volunteers. “I think a lot of them get intimidated by the whole process,” he said. More than 40 parents have already volunteered for Saturday, and Karl said the experience will “train them to be able to help with races in the future.”

More than anything, Karl simply hopes the series can help to show people that ski racing doesn’t have to be a burden on a family’s budget.

“I still have parents calling about this race worried about the cost, worried how their kids have never gone through gates and things like that,” he said.

And Karl has a simple message for anyone on the fence about showing up for the Summit Cup’s first event: “Just show up.”

“We’ll take care of everything,” he said. “All the kids have to do is have fun.”

The series’ next race will be Feb. 12 at Copper Mountain.

To register, e-mail Karl at

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