They say it takes a village and to run a modern race, and it certainly does. As a small club, everyone MUST help in running a race. Races at Mad River Glen significantly subsidize the cost of the race program and they give our athlete’s “home court advantage”. Unlike other programs, we do not charge a “race worker bond” to incentivized volunteerism. We expect everyone to fill a role and perform it exceptionally. As the sport of ski racing has evolved, we’re required to do more and more to make the race legal. Volunteers who help for a whole race receive a voucher for free skiing at Mad River Glen. Here is a list of positions and how to help.

Volunteers Information and Benefits: Volunteers are always welcome to assist with the production of ski races.  Position information is listed below; if USSA Memberships and/or certifications are required, this information is noted in the position description.

For each full day or volunteer duty, one (1) lift ticket for redemption and use at Mad River Glen will be provided.   Thank you to Mad River Glen for the continued support of Program volunteers.

For all families with participants in programs U10-HS/U16: As parents/guardians of participants in the Mad River Glen Junior Program, you play a crucial role in the program not only through the support you provide your child/children, but also in supporting the program on race days, as it takes as many as 25 people to staff a USSA.

Volunteer Information: Some definitions are taken directly from the USSA Competition Guide 2015. The descriptions, expectations, information are modified to the Mad River Glen Junior Program needs. While ensuring a smooth race is important, let’s also ensure we have fun.

Race Operations:

  • Starter:  The Starter helps the Start Referee get the start area organized and ready for the athletes, as well as breakdown after the race. The starter should arrive with a start list at least 15 minutes prior to the first racer (forerunner) on course. While no ski race experience is necessary, this person must be able to access the start. He/she is responsible for:
    • Helping Timing as needed;
    • Giving ‘on-deck’ calls to racers; giving start commands to racers as stated in the Alpine Competition Manual;
    • Ensuring accuracy of intervals between racers.

    The Starter wears a headset during the race for constant communication with the timing room to help keep the flow of the race going.

  • Assistant Starter: No experience is necessary however a booming and resounding voice is! The Start Organizer’s main job is lining up athletes so they enter the starting ramp in the correct order. Racers will not hear numbers called, will forget bibs, are plugged in…. you are there to help resolve the issues before the racer is in the start gate. While no ski race experience is necessary, this person must be able to access the start. Collecting a starting list from registration is required.
  • Announcer: Reports to the timing room ½ hour prior to the start of the race, and finishes after the last racer crosses the finish line.Responsibilities include:
    • Welcome attendees to Mad River Glen and ‘x’ race hosted by Mad River Glen Junior Race Program and Mad River Ski Club.
    • Read from computer screen the following:
      • At the start, bib number, name;
      • On course and finish time of each);
      • Bib # finishing with a time of 33.45; three, three, point four, five;
      • Read combined times at finish of second run; Bib # finishing with a time of 33.45, three, three point four five; combined time of 59.78, five nine point seven eight.
    • Ensuring proper and clear pronunciation of each racer’s name;
    • No experience necessary though announcer should be comfortable speaking clearly and publically.
  • Gate Keeper/Gate Judge: Gate keepers have some of the best seats in the house for a ski race. But it come with a level of responsibility; they are the only ones required to make  split second decisions while an athlete is on course. Gate keepers are assigned to watch a few gates by the Head Gate Keeper (a seasoned, knowledgable gate keeper). This job is outside and possibly on skis and starts 15 minutes before the first racer until the end of the run. All gate keepers must fully and completely understand the rules of “safe passage” but little additional training is needed.  See the video below:



All Gate Judges need to arrive approximately 1 hour prior to the start of the race. First time Gate Judges will be instructed on proper gate judging techniques prior to the start of the race. Gate judges will meet in the lower level of the ski club and obtain gate judge bibs, clipboard, pencils and papers, and to meet with the Head Gate Judge to receive assignments. At the end of each run, each Gate Judge will remain in place until the Head Gate Judge collects each individual’s card. Second run placement times and locations will be determined by the Head Gate Judge. After the second run, cards will be collected by the Head Gate Judge. Gate judges will return to and remain in the ski club for approximately 15 minutes after the end of the race in the event there are any challenges to the posted disqualifications. All Gate Judges should return materials to Chief Gate Judge. NON-SKIERS CAN PARTICIPATE AND BE ASSIGNED TO GATES WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF THE FINISH.

  • Chief Gate Keeper/Gate Judge: Experience required. The Chief Gate Judge organizes and supervises the work of the gate judges as follows:
    • Provides instruction and necessary materials to Gate Judge team prior to race start;
    • Designates the gates each Gate Judge will watch;
    • Collects Gate Judge cards at the end of each run for delivery to Referee;
    • Ensures numbering and marking of race course gates are completed within the required time;
    • Is prepared to offer assistance to help keep spectators off course, and/or help maintain course.
  • Course Maintenance/Set-up: This position requires you to be on skis and ready to go at 7:00 AM. Race Crew works to ensure the course, start and finish corral are ready prior to start; during the race they are directed by the Chief of Course as to what they are to work on, including but not limited to: slipping, shoveling, resetting gates, and shuttling equipment. The purpose of the Race Crew is to help ensure the race fairness through the very last racer to the best of their ability. Race Crew is also responsible for the breakdown of the course/venue at the end of the day.
  • Scoreboard: On most race days the scoreboard will be prepared in advance, however there may be occasions when the scoreboard will need to be completed/updated prior to race start, which is then the responsibility of the Scoreboard Recorder. The Scoreboard Recorder writes the finish time of each racer as it is announced from the timing room. Please note that the times on the scoreboard ARE NOT OFFICIAL; any concerns about race times from competitors, coaches, parents… will need to be addressed with officials, not you, at the end of the race (you will be happy about this).
  • Hand Timing: On race day, there are three independent timing systems at work. Tied to the start wand and the finish eyes are the primary and secondary timing systems. Outside at the start and at the finish, are synchronized stop watches. As a racer leaves the start or goes through the finish, hand timers use specialized stop watches and a simple clipboard to accurately record the time of day that the competitor started or finished. Should both primary and secondary timing systems fail, we have hand times from which we can calculate an athlete’s run time.  This job is outside but not on skis from roughly 15 minutes before the first racer through run completition. Check out the video to learn more:

  • Timing: In order to run a sanctioned race, we require two computerized timers; a primary and a secondary. These two individuals are responsible for collecting racer times and tabulating results using approved timing software.
    • Primary Timer: Some related experience is necessary for the role of Primary Timer, hence anyone who has performed any timing in the past is eligible to do some primary timing. The Primary Timer works in the timing room and operates the primary timing system known as VOLA software. The Primary Timer wears a headset and is in constant communication with the start and other timing officials. The Primary Timer arrives at least 1.5 hours in advance of race start.
    • Secondary Timer:  No experience required, so now is your chance to learn something new. The Secondary Timer will:
      • Work with the Primary Timer in the timing room (the Primary Timer will provide an introduction to specifics and be available to assist the Secondary Timer);
      • Wear a headset for communication within timing team;
      • Monitor computer screen to be sure that the right time is being assigned to the correct racer.
      • The Secondary Timer should report to the timing room 30 minutes prior to the start of the race.
  • Registration: As you’ll read in Rick Ruback’s piece, registration happens on a short period of time the morning of a race. While we are all looking for ways to streamline this necessary task, it seems that simple people flow and organization are the two most important aspects. Volunteers arrive and are ready at 7:00 a.m. on race day, meeting in the race room to collect the bibs and transport them to the location of race registration.Responsibilities include:
    • Setting up the tables and chairs for registration and
    • Having start lists and day programs available for distribution
    • When the racers arrive:
      • One list for girls: check name and provide bib number to bib collector;
      • Collect money for registration fees;
      • Distribute ticket if ticket is required;
    • Once the race has started, bring any extra bibs back to Race Secretary;
    • Clean-up registration area, returning tables and bringing back any supplies to club.
    • No experience required.
  • Bib Collection/Awards: At the end of a race, everyone is in a hurry to wrap things up and get on their way home. A person dedicated to collecting bibs and organizing awards is a luxury and one of the last jobs we should fill. If you do sign up to help, organizing awards during first run can be helpful so that your available to be outside in the finish during second run and collect bibs.The Bib Collector reports to the finish area at the start of the second run with bib collection bag/box. Responsibilities include:
    • Ensuring you get the bib from each racer, whether or not he/she crosses the finish line (i.e. DNF); this may require chasing down the racer as he/she exits the finish area and helping him/her to take off the bib;
    • Bring all bibs back to club to sort and return to correct storage bin;
    • Note any missing bibs and return this information to the Race Administrator;
    • No experience necessary.
  • Start Referee: USSA Officials Membership is required. The Start Referee is a non-voting member of the Jury and is listed in the paperwork as a Jury Advisor. This person remains at the start for the duration of the event and is responsible for:
    • Setting up the start area and helping Timing set up the start wand;
    • Working with other start staff to control the start area before, during and after the race;
    • Determine late and false starts;
    • Report any infringements or violations of any rules;
    • Report the names of competitors who did not start, false started, late starts.
  • Finish Referee:  USSA Officials Membership is required. The Finish Referee is a non-voting member of the Jury and is listed in the paperwork as a Jury Advisor. This person arrives 1 hour prior to race start, remains in the finish for the duration of the event and is responsible for:
    • Ensuring that the finish corral is properly set;
    • Assist and supervise hand timer at finish if needed;
    • Having a radio with communication to the start;
    • Confirming Forerunners, correct passage through the finish and finish area sportsmanship
    • Overall control of the finish area for timing, racer and crowd conduct, and safe operation.