FAQ's about the SST Programs
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the SST Program?
The mainstay of the Senior Ski Team Program is the 12 week, 12 session package and it is enjoyed by about 250 people each year. The package includes 12 ski improvement sessions of 3 hours duration conducted over the winter from early December to the end of March. Most groups are 7 people and you ski with a certified instructor/coach . The program is offered on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday's. The skier chooses one day and then attends successive sessions with the same "team and coach" on the same day all season long. The program has become known as "The SST".
Q. Do I need to attend all the sessions?
You are not obligated to attend every session but the program is sold as a Pass holder Perk and therefore as a package and is not pro-rate-able should you not attend certain sessions.
Q. Am I allowed to "Drop -In" to sessions?
No. The program has evolved as a program to promote safety, continuity and learning and in part, accomplishes these goals by conducting 'sessions' instead of 'lessons' and you join a 'Team' and not a 'class.' If we were to allow 'drop in's', we would be defeating our own objectives with interlopers disrupting the flow.
Q.What is the SST Questionnaire and do I need to complete it?
The SST Q is our information profile where you tell us everything from your preferred email address to your goals for the season and everything in between. Many of the questions relate to your conditioning and activity levels. As we get older, this becomes an important indicator that we use to determine which group you should be placed in. For example, we won't place someone who does 1-3 days of cardio in the off season on the same team with someone who does 4-7 even if you are at the same technical level. So, everyone must complete and submit one every year.
Q. What are The SST Ski Trips Abroad?
Ski travel adventuring started early with the SST when a group was formed and ventured on a bus trip to Sun Peaks back in 2005. Since then, we haven't looked back with trips to New Zealand, Chile and Argentina, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. For 2024, we have a return trip to Japan planned for January and, we are circling Austria on the map for our 7th adventure to the country known as the heart and possibly soul of modern skiing.
We have loosened the rules as far as age and other typical program affiliation are concerned as the tours have evolved organically to be all about friends and word of mouth experiences so you don't even have to be a member of the SST to join us on an excursion. Friends and ski buddies are all welcome!
Today's ski tours have evolved with a winning formula that puts the 'ski package' together up to a year in advance based on Intel gathered from previous trip experiences both good and not so good. We operate in a constant effort to deliver the best bang for the buck. Rest assured, the next one will be the best one yet taking you and your friends on a seamless experience from beginning to the end. You won't want to get on the plane to come home!
Q. What are the SST Tech Camps?
The SST Tech Camp is a 4 Day program designed to help Green and Blue Level skiers improve their skiing and move to the next level. Skiers will be following the student centered teaching system developed by Harald Harb called Primary Movements or PMTS.
The first day is a Structural Alignment Screen where we look closely at your equipment setup and make sure you are able to balance with it. Then, over the following 3 days, you will ski on different demo skis each day as well your own for comparison and learn how to apply tipping, counterbalancing and counteracting to your skiing!
Q. What is FMS and the Prime Timer's Club?
Over the years, we have encouraged our program participants to use every means available to them to be better prepared to ski this year than they were for the previous one. And, although this isn't always possible especially when injury or ill health comes calling, when you're fortunate enough to link a few seasons together in a row, it is truly amazing what is accomplished with persistence.
We are very cognizant that there are many "Olga's" out there, [What Makes Olga Run?] These are people who are thriving in their senior years seemingly getting better with age. So, to meet or exceed the goals of our "super seniors," we keep evolving with innovative and cutting edge products to meet the demand.
The Training for Balance Page on our web site gives you a primer to keep working on your balance and conditioning as it related to skiing.
This is about choosing methods and ways to modify, adapt, condition and correct our muscular systems so the changes accommodate the requirements to ski; historically achieved by ski conditioning.
When we are in our 50's and 60's, almost anything we do to keep moving is good and desirable but as you hit your 70's and beyond, you need to listen to your own inner coach and modify accordingly.
Although there isn't a SST Program specific to ski conditioning, we do provide you with a valuable section on Training for Balance on the SST Web Site with tips and hints that never get old.
What we do offer and highly endorse the Functional Movement Screens conducted by Dr. Ryan Oughtred ND. Arguably, the FMS is the method to scientifically measure a skiers physical functionality against the norm.
After the screening, the skier gets a series of 'physio like' exercises that are not particularly difficult to do. However, while doing physio after we've injured ourselves while going through the recovery phase has become a no-brainer today, doing pro-active physio, well, that my friends is another story.
Pro-active physio is the most accurate description of the exercises Dr. O prescribes for the skier who takes the FMS. Ask about how to contact Ryan.
Q. What is Better Balance & The Structural Alignment Screen?
Better Balance, formerly known as the SAS has been devised To Help You Tailor Your Ski Equipment so you can balance comfortably on your skis
This process is about choosing, modifying or adapting the ski equipment to accommodate our unique body types.
Over the past 9 seasons, we have been offering the Structural Alignment Screen [SAS] as part of the 4 day SST Tech Camp where the screen is combined with Ski Improvement; where we pay close attention to your equipment but we also help you to improve your skiing. The Tech Camps will continue this season but...
In 2015, we spun off the Structural Alignment Screen part as a "stand alone" product and now, anyone is able to have a complete assessment of their ski and boot system coupled with how the fit performs on the snow! Taking the analysis to the slopes differentiates our approach from the standard in-shop alignment assessment.
Conducted both in the ski shop and on-snow; the objective is to create a seamless fit and finish assessment. Doesn't it make sense to avoid the suffering, pain and frustration caused by mis-fitted equipment and increase your performance and skiing enjoyment at the same time?
This program/product is also important for the "silent sufferers," the skiers who put up with comfortable but terribly inefficient equipment set-ups that won't allow them to ever progress and in some situations leads to progressive joint wear and tear forcing them to ski in pain or heaven forbid, quit!
The session runs for 90 minutes on the slope and about an hour in the ski shop in total and however long it takes the boot technician to apply any corrections to the soles of your boots.
Over the seasons since inception and based on requests from people for a re-assessment to have another look at aging equipment or to gather further insights into taking the 'balancing' effort to the next level, we introduced Re-assessment Sessions where previous clients come back for another session. Check the web page for further information.
Q. What do you mean when you say that the SST
Provides A Social Environment of Safety and Fun?
I cannot speak highly enough about our 30 coaches who, in many cases make personal sacrifices in order to coach their respective teams. And, although the program is open to anyone over 55 years of age who wants to join, over the years it hasn't been so much about the folks that have come to "kick the tires for a season" but it has become mostly about the individuals who come back season after season. Together, they have created a social environment second to none and much greater than the sum of its parts. This is an environment that succeeds at play and fun, never taking themselves too seriously; just seriously enough.
Today many of the people who started with us in their mid fifties and sixties are now in their mid sixties, seventies and early eighties. We have 9 or more people 80 years of age and still "giving'er." I am forever grateful to the coaches as well as to all the long time Senior Ski Team members, what a great skiing experience we've created for ourselves and for people to come!
Q. I'm 58 years old and have not ski raced for decades . But I'm thinking of doing some this winter in Colorado where I live.
If I visited W/B 2018 -2019, could I "drop in" and try it for a few sessions? Do you train SL and GS ?
If I liked it with a visit and then moved to W/B and wanted to do it for multiple days in 2 seasons ie 2019 to 2020, would that be possible?
Thank you for your query and interest in the Senior Ski Team on Whistler/Blackcomb Although we are called a ski team and even have some National Team Alumni as coaches, no one amongst us have done gates in years. Do we still ski like we did? Absolutely but the moniker has all to do with the ‘team identity' and all that one would expect from that without the competitions. Our skiers range in ages from 55 to 87 and there are around 50 groups of 7 skiing together over 4 different days.
One of the tenants that makes this a team is that we don’t do drop in’s which keeps the ‘team’ a team with the same group and coach for the season; so, not suited for someone like yourself who would only be here for a few weeks. You’d be better suited to joining the Kokanee Valley Race Series or possibly Gatebusters if you’d like to train gates.
However, if you ever plan on spending the winter here at Whistler like many of our clientele, please give us serious consideration; you’d love the social component and improve your free skiing and knowledge of the sweet spots of the mountain.
Kind regards and great skiing