Southeastern Wisconsin Alpine Team Racing
S.W.A.Team Racing Frequently Asked Questions
This FAQ section is geared towards new and potential new S.W.A.Team applicants.
What is S.W.A.T.?
S.W.A.T. is a junior downhill ski race club with programs that will train your athletes in recreational and regional USSS/FIS SLALOM AND GIANT SLALOM competitions. We have programs for competitive athletes from age 8 - 18.
How does S.W.A.T. differ from ski school?
Our coaches take proficient skiers and help them reach their full potential as competitive athletes in SLALOM AND GIANT SLALOM SKI RACING COMPETITIONS. S.W.A.T. is not in the business of teaching your child how to ski or to ski better. We are not a "Learn to Ski Better" program, we accept athletes that are beyond the INTERMEDIATE stage and who have the ability to make PARALLEL turns down all the runs at Alpine Valley Resort. If your child has outgrown ski school and has expressed an interest in competing, you’ve come to the right place. In ski racing, “winning or losing is tenths or even hundredths of a second, which is the differences in a few degrees of rotation, a degree or two of edge angle and when the ski is pressured along its length. These are all very small and sometimes imperceptible amounts. SkillsQuest drills allow the skier to learn to make these minute adjustments unconsciously.” ~SkillsQuest Evaluator Manual
How do I enroll my child in S.W.A.T.?
Click on the CONTACT US tab and complete the form. Watch your email IN box for a response from SWAT with further instructions. The team E-mail is sent through a ".club" account so it could be sent to your 'junk' or 'spam' folders. Please check those. SWAT will contact you via the email account or phone number you provided and send to you a questionnaire to complete telling us more about your athlete's present skiing experiences and schedule your athlete[s] for an on-the-snow skill evaluation.
For the 2021-2022 season SWAT HAS A WAITING LIST.
W327 S8068 Oak Tree Dr.
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Which program is right for my child?
For the 2020-2021 ski season we will be offering three  programs.
PROGRAM ONE  SWAT CLUB program.
IF your athlete is new to ski racing experience or has been in similar programs before, the best program to enroll them in is the SWATeam competitions program. This program will introduce them to the race event experience and refine their current ski skills.
PROGRAM TWO  is the HS [High School] competition program.
IF your athlete is currently in high school and participating in their high school's ski race program, you may want to consider our HS competition program. This program allows your athlete to participate in two  SWAT practices per week. Learn more under our "Programs" tab above.
PROGRAM THREE  is the USSS/FIS competition programs.
IF your athlete has years of racing experience OR is finishing in the top 5 of their class and is looking for higher competition events to compete in, the USSS competition program may be for them. The USSS events require more commitment from the athlete and parents. Competitions involve 2-3 consecutive days of ski racing in SLALOM, GIANT SLALOM and SUPER GIANT SLALOM courses which involve travel around the state of Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. Your athlete is required to dues to the USSS National Organization and USSS Central organizations for race events.
PLEASE read the information offered under each program and if you have additional questions feel free to contact us!
What are the prerequisites for enrolling my child in S.W.A.T.?
For the 2020-2021 season we will be having try outs for the team to evaluate your athlete[s] current skiing skills.
As mentioned above, your child needs to be 8 years of age and a "proficient skier" and comfortable skiing all the runs and riding all the chair lifts without adult assistance at Alpine Valley Resort and the chair lifts at the resorts that host the race events. Our coaches utilize all the runs and ride the quad chair lifts for training at Alpine Valley Resort. ALL slalom and giant slalom gate training is done on BIG THUNDER run at Alpine Valley. There may NOT be a coach riding each chair lift ride with athletes. SWAT's home RACE is held on BIG THUNDER for all classes of racers. Children should also be old enough and self-sufficient enough to spend the training hours with their coach and without a parent while on the hill. From our 35+ years of experience, we have found the youngest age to be successful in our race program to be 8 years old.
Difference between a novice skier vs a proficient skier:
NOVICE SKIER: Skis once a week or less. Has the skills to do wedge or christy turns and stops in a wedge. Could experience trouble controlling their speed in a wedge or christy turns down advanced terrain and in adverse snow conditions.
PROFICIENT SKIER: Skis 3-4 times a week or more and has good balance on all kinds of terrain and snow conditions and can find support on the surface of their skis. Their technique is when the skis remain parallel all the time using their ski poles and they have their own good ski equipment [skis, boots, poles, hard ear helmets, goggles, good mittens or gloves, neck gators] and know how to dress for cold weather conditions.
- Has a skiing ability beyond the INTERMEDIATE stage, beyond CHRISTIE turns and can ski ALL the slopes at Alpine Valley Resort in a control manner.
- "How does my child turn?" Christie turns? Parallel turns?
- **Is my child self-sufficient and ...
- Has the ability to manage own ski equipment; carry skis & poles, put them safely in ski racks, etc.
- Has the ability to put their boots on and off on their own, without adult assistance.
- Has the ability to step in and out of the bindings on their skis on their own, without adult assistance.
- Has the ability to step in and out of the binding on slopes if any equipment is released and has to be stepped into.
- Has the ability to safely ski all the runs at Alpine Valley Resort; beginner, intermediate and advanced.
- Has the skill and knowledge on how to use their poles.
- Must be able to "skate" on their skis, using their poles to get from lift to lift.
- Has the ability to navigate down all ski runs making christy or parallel turns descending; no straight runs.
- Has the ability to stop at any point on a ski run.
- Has the ability to ski/train 2 1/2 to 3 hours with their coach.
- ATTEND practice sessions: Saturday & Sunday mornings from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon AND Tuesday nights from 6:00-8:30pm. Athletes are REQUIRED to attend two  SWATeam sessions each week.
- NEW MEMBERS must attend all the scheduled DECEMBER practice sessions which usually begin the 1st weekend in December, weather permitting until the end of the month. The last couple of weeks training session in December is when we would begin 'gate training' which will prepared the athlete for competitions scheduled in January and February.
- Athletes MUST have the ability to load, ride, and exit all types of chair lifts without adult assistance. All athletes 8 years of age ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE A SKIING PARENT WITH THEM DURING PRACTICE AND AT RACE EVENTS. We realize younger children may need some assistance in the beginning, therefore a skiing parent will be necessary to help the coaches with this task during practice sessions and at race events. The skiing parent must purchase a lift ticket or have a season pass from Alpine Valley. Our ratio of coaching in the U-10 to U-12 groups is 6-8 athletes per coach and U-14 to U-18 groups are usually 8-10 athletes per coach. This ratio may vary at times due to the availability of the coaching staff. The chair lifts at Alpine Valley carry 3-4 people at a time, but all the other ski hills, where race events are held, the chair lifts carry only two  or three  people. Coaches are NOT available on race days to ride chair lifts with athletes.
- Athletes must have willingness to participate in skiing drills that prepare them for gate training.
- Ability to communicate clearly about basic needs; cold, hurt, hungry, thirsty, bathroom, etc.
- Ability to be away from Mom & Dad during practice sessions.
- Ability to stay warm on 0°F days, etc.
When does the team train on-the-hill once the season begins?
Saturday and Sunday mornings: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and Tuesday evenings 6:00pm to 8:30pm for the month of DECEMBER.
Once the race events begin in JANUARY, Saturday's turn into RACE DAYS. Race days usually run from 8:30am to 3:30pm.
Tuesday evenings: 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Athletes MUST ATTEND two  SWATeam sessions per week.
** Coaches expect the athlete to arrive 15-30 minutes before the start of training so they have enough time to boot up, dress appropriately for the weather and get their gear on. Before each practice some time is spent outside doing warm-up exercises. We expect our athletes to be in the chairlift line before 9:00 am on the weekends. A late athlete is a rushed athlete.
Where does the team meet at Alpine Valley for practices?
SWATeam meets in the "Fairview Cafe" at Alpine Valley. This meeting place may vary depending on the public crowds expected or scheduled by Alpine Valley Resort. Your coach's will notify athletes and parents about alternate meeting places when necessary. The athletes will be asked to store their boot bags, backpacks in a specific area in the building as the room is also open to the public. You will receive those instructions from the coaches.
Will my child have the same coach all season long?
The same "group of coaches" and athletes generally stay together for the entire season. Of course, there are exceptions and occasionally one or more members of a group or a coach may be reassigned to better match a group of athletes with similar skill levels. Especially in the entry level programs, we try to group athletes together that are similar in skill level and age. We do hire part-time coaches that assist in our program during the Holidays and fill-in for coaches if they are not available.
Are competitions mandatory?
YES, training athletes for SLALOM and GIANT SLALOM RACING competitions is the MAJOR GOAL of our programs. First year athletes will be strongly encouraged to participate in competitions. IF there are circumstances the athlete has to prevent them from competitions the parent must discuss this with the administrative office before enrolling their child in SWATeam. First year athletes will be required to attend all three  practice sessions for training. We understand that there may be an occasional circumstance when the athlete will miss a race so the parent should e-mail the office to inform the team; i.e., injuries, family holiday obligations, etc.
What are the licensing requirements for S.W.A.T.?
S.W.A.T. is a club member of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSS). If your child chooses to compete at the USSS or higher level, they are required to hold a USSS license. Older athletes may also need an FIS (International Ski Federation or Fédération Internationale de Ski) license to participate in national or international competitions. There is no license requirement to compete at competitions in the recreational level.
For USSS applications you need to go online to http://www.ussa.org/ and print an application. All forms and payments are made to USSS or USSS Central. SWATeam will not make out forms for you. Athletes that will not race in a scored USSS race (J4 and under) will need a youth license. Athletes skiing in scored USSS races (U14 and over) will need a competitor’s license. You will also need to pay your Region II Division dues.
Does my child need a helmet & goggles?
Absolutely! Hard Ear Helmets are required for all SWATeam practice sessions and on RACE DAY.
USSS rules state: Hard Ear Helmets designed and manufactured for the particular discipline of ski racing [slalom or giant slalom] being contested are required for all competitors and forerunners in all USSS events and official training. Hard Ear Helmets must bear a DC mark and conform to recognized and appropriate standards such as: CEH.Din1077, ASTM F2040, SNELL S98 or RS 98. Protective features integral to the discipline being contested, such as, chin guards on slalom helmets are permitted. Your athlete’s helmet must be a complete "hard shell" product that covers the athlete’s ears. SWATeam Racing must follow USSS rules. We also STRONGLY recommend the helmet be worn during 'free-skiing' time.
NO helmets with spoilers or other elements that stick out.
NO bicycle helmets.
NO 'partial hard shell' which is a hard shell over the head, but consists of 'soft materials' over and around the ears.
NO "Free-Ride" helmets.
A good fitting helmet manufactured specifically for skiing is MANDATORY for all S.W.A.T. training and free skiing.
GOGGLES: TWO pair of goggles is recommended for your athlete in case during practice or competition one of them is not functioning well. The goggles need to fit inside the 'face frame' of your athlete’s helmet. It is best to have the helmet along when purchasing goggles and for the athlete to try both of them on to assure a proper fit. The goggles should have 'interchangeable' lenses - a lens for sunny days and clear for night skiing or something suitable that they are comfortable skiing with.
It is the sole responsibility of the competitor, parent[s] or guardian[s] of the competitor to select an appropriate helmet for accident protection in ski racing. USSS, SWATeam Racing, Inc. does not specify, nor recommend, nor make any warranties as to the fitness for use of any particular ski helmet design or brand name. USSS, SWATeam Racing, Inc. undertakes no responsibility, liability or duties to any competitor in connections with the requirement that helmets be utilized.
Seek the guidance and assistance on purchasing a helmet from a ski shop of your choice.
Thank you for your interest in SWATeam Racing! We hope you give us the opportunity to ski, train and race with your children.