A Beginner’s Guide to Racing

A question that is often asked by people new to racing is that they have no idea how to find out when and where races are held and whether they would be suitable for them to take part in. The reason for this is partly because there is so much choice that it’s hard to write it all down! This guide is designed to give you a flavour of what is out there – it is not designed to be a comprehensive compendium of all the types of races available.   If, however, you read this and think that we have left some really important races out of our guide, let us know and we’ll update this page.

Categories of Ski Races


Dry Slope: these mostly take place in the summer season and although it may seem odd to be skiing in the summer, it makes perfect sense, as everyone wants to ski on the real stuff in the winter!


Artificial snow: again, these take place mostly in the summer.


Alpine: no surprises as to when these take place!

Race Formats

Dry slopes and short artificial snow slopes (all UK slopes) will be on a slalom course. Races at large artificial slopes (e.g. Landgraaf in the Netherlands) and alpine races will be on slalom, giant slalom (GS) and combi for the minis (under 12s)

Race Scoring

This varies with each race and can even vary across the age groups. There are many variations on the themes of best run of a number of runs or an aggregated time from a number of runs. The goal is obviously the smallest (quickest) time, whatever the scoring format. The scoring rules will be defined in the race ‘invitation’ which is the initial notification of the race.

Age Categories

Again, these vary, but anyone in U12 or below will normally race on stubbies (short poles) and older children (and adults) will race using full poles.

Some races will have minimum age for entry – that will be defined in the race invitation.

Snowsports Registration

In order to enter many of the non entry level races,  you will need to be a member of a Snowsports Association.   You can join Snowsports England,  Snowsports Scotland or Snowsports Wales,  depending on eligibility criteria.  Selection for the national squads is dependent on your membership,  so it is worth considering which body is the most appropriate for you.


Some races are seeded. Those competing in U14 and older can get be seeded.

Snowsport England explains the Seeding system as follows.

“Seeding is a scheme developed at international level, which is intended to provide a consistent measure of performance within and between races. It uses a formula that relates each racer’s time to the winner’s time, and also factors in the ‘level’ (difficulty) of the race by taking account of the capabilities (seed points) of the best racers amongst those taking part. The formula is defined by the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is the same one that is used at all **levels of racing.

Results from all ‘approved’ calendar races are collated and processed at intervals during the season to produce the ‘Seed Lists’ (e.g. lists of Seed Points for all registered racers), which are then published in various formats for racers and race organisers to use. Although often used to measure individual performance, Seed Lists are officially used to check eligibility against race entry criteria and to determine race start order.

Seeding Schemes

Two seeding schemes are run, each covering different skiing ‘surfaces’. The British Alpine Seeding System (BASS) covers recognised British races that take place on snow during the winter. The British Artificial Seeding System (BARTS) covers artificial slope (indoor snow and outdoor) races that take place here in the UK throughout the year.

The Races




Individuals Racing




Schools Racing



Useful Links

http://gbski.com Race invitations, acceptance lists, official results, rules & BASS/BARTS lists. A comprehensive resource for finding out what races are happening

http://www.srsa.org.uk Snowsports South (SRSA).  This has information and on-line entry to to the SRSA Summer series races

http://www.ersa.co.uk/online_registration ERSA On line race entry, used to enter many races (though more races will be entered through gbski going forward)

http://snowsportengland.org.uk Snowsports England site

http://www.snowsportwales.co.uk Snowspnorts Wales site

http://snowsportscotland.org Snowspnorts Scotland site

http://www.britski.org – contains historical links to most of the snow and artificial races that you’ll ever need to know about! There is also information about race regulations. (replaced by www.gbski.org)