SkiRacing.com NOVEMBER 25, 2013 | 74 LISA DENSMORE
Four Ways to Welcome New
Racers to the Masters Ranks
BY LISA DENSMORE Filling
USSA Eastern has historically been the largest
masters division in the United States. When I first joined
the masters circuit in New England, in 1991, the number
of racers on the average start list at the average giant
slalom numbered 180-plus, 150 for slalom. The more
popular events such as the Stratton GS closed the field
a month early with more than 250 racers. As a woman
in Class 1, I started around bib No. 50.
When I last competed on the New England masters
circuit three years ago, the average GS usually cracked
100 racers. One hundred fifty entries was a large field.
Slaloms struggled to recruit 60 people. The attendance
in the women’s field had become nearly nonexistent
with perhaps 15 starters on a big day.
This slow bleeding of the masters’ ranks over the
last 20 years, particularly among the youngest
classes, is not unique to New England. It’s a national
phenomenon. With the exception of the regional and
national championships, outside of New England, a
field of 60 racers is average in the larger divisions. The
smaller divisions, such as Northern where I live now,
run masters events concurrently with junior races, or
piggy-pack with another division — Intermountain, in
Northern’s case. If our numbers wane much more, the
number of races in each division will be fewer or will
disappear altogether along with critical sponsorships.
Once race attendance drops below about 60 entries,
it’s not worth a mountain’s while to host it.
Jack Ballard competes in the A/B
super combined at Park City in 2012,
his first national championships.
Lila Gidlow, Nancy Auseklis and
Anna Droege are regulars atop
the masters podium.