Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to have race experience ?

No, not at all! We just ask that you have experience skiing, but we have no requirement for prior racing experience. Most students who join the team have never skied in gates before. The student should be an intermediate/advanced skier comfortable skiing blue trails and black diamonds with parallel technique. Our coaches will take your experience level and build upon it. 

When does the team practice and race?

Practice usually begins the end of November or first week in December. The season usually finishes around the end of February. Check the team calendar for actual dates.

Dryland Practice: Weekdays from 2:45 to 4:30pm. Dryland ends once the mountain opens and all racers have completed a minimum of 6 dry-land practices.

Mountain Practice/Race Events: The bus leaves after school and returns between 7:00 pm and 9 pm.

Where does the team practice and race?

Dryland Practice: Sparta High School.

Mountain Training: Mountain Creek, National Winter Activity Center, Mount Peter, Blue Mountain, and Big Snow.

Races: Mountain Creek, Mount Peter, NWAC, or Blue Mountain.

How do racers get to and from the mountain?

Bus service is provided from Sparta High School to the mountain and back, for most practices and team races. Note: All racers must ride the bus with the team.

Occasionally, a school bus may not be available for practice. At this point, we ask for parent participation to help get our racers to and from practice.

What equipment will I need to race?

All racers will need to have: slalom race skis, race boots, helmet with hard ear coverage, chin guard for slalom races (or mouth guard), goggles, gloves, ski pants and ski jacket.

For a more in-depth listing of equipment recommendations, Sparta Ski Team racers should log in to the racer portal on this website and view the Equipment Guide found under the Essentials tab.

Must I have 2 pair of skis to race (GS & Slalom)?

Ideally, a set of Slalom and a set of Giant Slalom race skis will improve performance in each event. Varsity racers are encouraged to have both Slalom and Giant Slalom Race Skis for our team to be competitive.

For those new to the team, we often suggest starting with a pair of Slalom Race Skis and using them for both events. This will give you a better advantage in slalom. Then, when it becomes feasible, you can purchase a set of GS race skis and use each ski for its respective discipline.

Alternatively, a good pair of hybrid racing skis will do the trick for JV racers. Hybrid skis are usually a little softer and are often designated with "RC" in the model name. A hybrid style ski typically features a turning radius close to that of a slalom ski with a length closer to that of a GS ski. This gives you the best of both worlds, better stability at speeds, and easier turning initiation. 

For more information, please refer to the recommended ski equipment guide within the racer portal of this website, or speak with the Coach.

Will I need to purchase a race suit?

No, all racers will be outfitted with a Sparta Ski Team race suit. 

How do I clean my Race Suit?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to properly clean your Racer’s race suit.

This will prolong the life of the suit and ensure damage isn’t caused by improper washing.

 Race Suit Cleaning Instructions


1.   Remove all pads.  Each suit has 12 pads, they are enclosed in envelope-style “pockets “ in the suit.

  a. To Remove the pads -

    i.     Pull the arms inside out to remove the arm pads. Then pull back so the outside gets clean.

    ii.     Do the legs in the same manner

    iii.     If it is your first time cleaning a race suit you may want to lay out the pads on your dining room table, top to bottom (head to toe) where the pads were so you can replace them in the right “pockets” later.

b.   If you are cleaning more than one suit keep all the corresponding pads together. Each suit has a number located on the inside shoulder. Post It Notes helps to ensure the correct pads will be returned to the correct suit.

   i.     Pile up the pads and Post It with the race suit number

  ii.     If you notice any of the pads are curled, place some heavy “coffee” table books on top to flatten them out.

2.      Zip up the front of the Race Suit

3.      Pre-Spot with mild dish soap and cold water or spray with Spray & Wash/ Shout spray

4.      Machine Wash in cold water with detergent.  (Do not use Woolite).

5.      Hang Dry- DO NOT PUT IN DRYER!

6.      Rips and tears can be mended with a matching thread.

7.      Once it is dry replace all pads.

8.      Please place it in a bag, mark it as CLEANED, and return it to the SKI BOOSTER CLUB.

 Now the suits are RACER READY for next year!

 Thank You!!!

Will storage be provided for ski equipment?

TO BE DETERMINED! Yes, racers may store their ski equipment at the Sparta High School in a team-dedicated locker room. Ski equipment must be dropped off before homeroom class, as the storage room will be locked after homeroom and remain locked during school hours. Skiers will be able to access the locker room when school ends before we depart for the mountain. Racers are encouraged to bring a lock to secure their locker at the high school.

While students may leave their equipment in the locker room over the weekend, we prefer you take home your ski equipment and practice on the slopes as often as you can. The Sparta High School locker room will NOT be accessible on weekends and holidays!

The Sparta Ski Team will be transporting their skis and equipment to and from the mountain and may store their equipment in the ski team locker room at the Sparta High School.

How a team qualifies to compete at the State Championships?

State Championships: Each season, every ski team competes in six scheduled conference races, three giant slalom and three slalom. These six races determine which teams will move on to compete at the NJ State Championships at the end of the season. To qualify for States, a team must be above .500 mark at the end of the season. To qualify as a team, a team must have a minimum of 3 racers.

Scoring: Each team receives 1 point for each team it beats and 1 point for each team it loses to in a race. The first and second Giant Slalom and Slalom races are competed only against teams in the opposing conference. Points are not awarded against the teams within the same conference as Sparta. Only at the third race of each discipline will points be awarded against all teams competing including those within the same conference as Sparta. The third race is based on chronological order and will be the last race for each discipline.

Petro Qualifier: Operates as a GS tune up for those teams who have already qualified for the State Team Championship and also as a wild card qualifier for those trying to make it to the “Big Dance”.  The girls and boys team who finishes first out of all teams that have not been admitted to states by their record will be granted admittance to states. Each team that is granted the wild card must have raced as a team in 3 out of the 6 league races. 

Who qualifies for a Varsity Letter?

Skiers who have raced in three or more Varsity Races, will receive their varsity letter at the Annual Banquet Dinner.

How is the seeding order determined for a race?

The Coach will analyze many factors when strategizing the seeding order for a race. It's NOT just as simple as looking at the racers last race time! To learn more about Seeding click here.

Ski racing is a team sport. Do NOT worry about your individual seed order. Being a team sport, what is important is for each racer to learn how to compete as a team, to have fun and for each of our racers to perform their best.

At NO time is it acceptable for a racer or parent to question a coach about the seed order. What we do encourage is all racers and parents stay in touch with the coaching staff and request periodic progress updates. We are always happy to discuss a racers development and prospective.

I have more questions, who should I contact?

Contact Coach Calafati by sending an email to coach@spartaski.com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.