What Do New Racers Think? What Do World-Cup Racers
This page gives a summary our our program. In addition, here are several "new racer" viewpoints that are so positive we have to mention them first.
The race format is FIS slalom and giant-slalom. We also have a super-G and a super combined (one run Super-G, one run slalom). We run four separate courses for most of our racers. This allows the courses to be more challenging for the faster racers, and by keeping the number of racers per course under 50, it limits the rutting to enable more racers to ski a "clean course."
Race with people as fast as you
Racers in this program are organized into classes based on ability and gender. A handicap system is used to place men and women in appropriate classes, and to determine when racers should upgrade or downgrade to different classes. Ability groups with lots of racers are further divided by age (vet racers are 40 and over, and super-vet racers are 60 and over). The handicap system ensures that in most classes, all racers are within a few seconds of each other.
Adult recreational participants
The MACC program is for adults. It is organized by ski clubs and ski teams. Our racers come from all over Michigan and its neighbors (Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois). Junior ages 14 through 17 can participate if a parent or guardian is a MACC racer.
The best terrain
The best terrain for racing in the lower peninsula of Michigan is the SuperBowl slope at Boyne Mountain. With 400 ft of vertical, a steep pitch, permanent shacks at the start and finish, and a warming hut that overlooks the hill, the Boyne race arena is simply the best facility available for alpine racing in our area. We also have a 3-day race weekend further away. Some years we go to Searchmont in Ontario, Canada. Searchmont's 700-ft vertical and rolling terrain allow us to run a super-G, along with regular GS and slalom. For the 2014 season, we followed the same schedule at Marquette Mountain Michigan (U.P.)
Volunteer non-profit organization
We are part of a non-profit organization. All members of the MACC are volunteers. For the Boyne races, all race work (other than making snow, grooming the hill, and running the lifts) is done by the racers. In this program, you have to work on someone else's race each weekend in which you participate. For example, you might race at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and 12:00 on Sunday. You have to sign up to work on a race at a different time (say, 2:00 Saturday). Most jobs take about an hour. Although running the races ourselves keeps the cost down, the real reason is that we have full control over the quality. (One exception: when we race at Searchmont, The Ski Runners (a local racing club) run the races for us.)
Individual race awards
On a given race day, there are about 20 different men and women's ability classes, most with 10 to 20 participants. Awards are given to the top three finishers for each class on every race day. The awards are typically glasses or mugs with a MACC logo and trim in gold, silver, or bronze.
MACC began decades ago as a league for ski clubs, with club membership mandatory for participation. In 2003 we became an independent non-profit organization dedicated to providing a high-quality racing program for adults. We provide FIS-style race courses in an adult-friendly program. (We include racers as young as 14, in support of racing families and high school race teams. However, racers under 18 must be sponsored by an adult MACC member.)
Once you join, you are required to select an existing team, in order to assure you are represented in the MACC organization (each team as at least one racer representative who attends MACC meetings). Some of the teams are affiliated with ski clubs; others exist solely to participate in MACC (no meetings, no dues).
Separate courses for different classes
We usually run three courses per day to keep the number of racers per course under 50 (i.e., 100 racer runs). The course setters are able to set courses that are appropriate to the ability levels of the classes. The limited number of racers reduces course rutting and deterioration and give more participants a change to ski a "clean course." When ruts develop, they are consistent with the ability levels of the racers: elite racers face ruts at the turning gate, intermediate ruts occur further down. Each course typically takes about an hour to complete (both runs).
Well-run and organized races
All course and timing equipment are owned by MACC and kept permanently at Boyne. On race days, experienced crews set things up. The facilities at Boyne allow two races to be run simultaneously.
We typically run three races per day at Boyne at 10:00, 12:00, and 2:00. All results go into a computerized data base, with results usually being posted within 20 minutes after the completion of the race. Unlike many FIS-style racing programs, ours is designed such that racers can inspect the course and make both runs in about an hour and half (sometimes under 30 minutes for a GS). Start orders are published ahead of time, so it is possible to watch the race and show up "just in time" (if that's your style).
World Cup points and awards
Besides winning awards for the top three finishes, participants accumulate World Cup points for the top 15 finishes. Points are accumulated over the season, and at the end of the year awards are given to the top three finishers in each class. The best 8 finishes (out of 11 races) are used. Therefore it is not necessary to make every single race to be competitive in the chase for World Cup glory.
All MACC racers are associated with a team. Some of the teams are affiliated with ski clubs, in which case membership in the club might be required. Other teams exist only to participate in the MACC racing program: no team meetings, no team dues.
Team trophies are given out, based on team averages accumulated over the season. Team results are posted every race week, so you can keep track of how your team is doing as the season progresses.
Mark II weekend
The season concludes with the Mark II weekend. This is a 3-day weekend in March, held at Boyne Mountain. A highlight is the Mark II banquet on Saturday night, in which all of the season trophies are given out.
Be sure to get tickets for the Saturday night banquet. A roast-beef and chicken buffet provides tasty nourishment, while we socialize, look at the 1000+ photos taken during the season, drink more nourishment from the cash bar, and applaud those who receive seasonal world cup trophies and team trophies. Also, this is where all the equipment and goodies donated by our sponsors are handed out. Your banquet ticket includes a raffle ticket. Drawings result in awards of skis, boots, poles, sunglasses, helmets, season passes, and many ski and sport-related items.
On Sunday we have the Cantor Cup race to conclude the season with something different: a super combined (one Super-G run on FIS, one slalom on Super Bowl). No world cup points. No team points. Just two runs, with the fastest total time per class winning a Cantor Cup award.