Q. What is a typical GFA session like?
We meet in the new GFA Clubhouse (at the Pistol Lift/Parking area) @ 8:45 where we gear up and discuss the plans for the day. Then we head out for stretching and a warm-up run or two before breaking into groups. We train on a variety of terrain, from beginner trails to expert glades to beginner and pro level parks (athletes can expect to cover every inch of the mountain by season’s end). We break for lunch (usually 30min) anywhere from 11:30-12:30. Then head back out to practice what we covered in the morning until 2:30pm (3:30pm for Comp Team).
Q. What days/times are the training sessions?
We meet Saturdays and Sundays from 9am - 2:30pm (Comp Team ends at 3:30pm). Half-time members must choose at the start of the season, which day (Sat or Sun) they plan to attend for the duration of the season. Full-time members meet both days.
Q. How long does the GFA season run?
We start mid-December and end around the mid to late March (approx. 12-14 weeks total) depending on snow coverage. Comp Team members planning on qualifying for USASA Nationals should plan on an extended season to mid-April.
Q. Do I have to compete to be in GFA?
Competing is encouraged, and we ask all GFA athletes to compete in a minimum of two(2) home mountain events (which we attend together as a team).
For GFA members wishing to compete on a dedicated level, we recommend the Competitive Level training program.
Q. How does the Competitive Program differ from the Progressive Program?
The Progressive Team trains at a more casual pace with focus on the fundamentals. Our progressive
Members who chose the competitive program are committing to attending at least 3 USASA events during the season. With the goal of qualifying for USASA Nationals (Copper Mtn, CO). Also, competitive members will receive individual event specific coaching the session(s) prior to the event.
Q. What else do I need for GFA?
All GFA progressive team members MUST BE registered with USSA (www.ussa.org) and have a season pass to Gunstock Mountain Resort.
*Please note that season passes NOT included in the price of GFA membership.
Competition team members will ALSO need to be registered with USASA (www.usasa.org)
Q. How do I know if GFA is right for my child?
If your child is a strong boarder/skier with a desire to learn how to utilize the terrain park features, our program is likely a good fit. A typical freestyler is often a natural risk taker and while every risk is calculated and under the supervision of qualified coaches, these risks should be within their comfort zone. The child should also have a desire to ski with a group, listen to coaches, improve, and most importantly have fun! GFA does, however, assess each new child at the beginning of the season to ensure the program is a good fit. Some of the things we look for in terms of ability are being able to link turns, ski parallel, keep up with the group while maintaining control, and ability to get on the chairlift independently and ride it safely. We also will ask the child if they have interest (now or in the future) of learning the previously mentioned aspects of freestyle skiing. In terms of maturity we look for children that can dress themselves, use the restroom independently, and carry their own equipment independently, and most importantly the ability to listen and follow the instructions of the coaches.
Q. Should I have my childs equipment tuned?
True we hit rails and boxes and dull our edges quickly. That doesn’t mean our equipment shouldn’t be tuned. A properly waxed base and tuned edge will allow athletes to maintain their speed into features and lock in edges in the icy conditions we so often encounter on the east coast. We cover tuning skills in GFA and will be reserving team tuning sessions for poor weather days. Likewise, tuning is simple at home with the right tools, or your local ski shop can provide this service. Equipment used more than one season should be professionally stone ground and tuned up, consult your local ski shop.
Q. Can I ski/ride with my child while they are in session?
Generally speaking, no. More often than not, having a parent or other family around is distracting to the athletes and unproductive for the group. You are more than welcome to watch from afar and cheer on your child from the chairlift.
Q. What about my child's friends, can they join the group?
If the friend is of proper ability level and has an actual interest in learning with the group, then YES!! We allow friends to join us on hill up to 2 sessions per season. After that, they need to join the program(out of fairness to paying members).
If your child plans on having a friend hang out with us, please make an effort to give us as much advance notice as possible.
Q. What if my athlete is injured, has allergies, special medications, etc?
In case of accidents, coaches will stay with injured athletes until a parent or guardian arrives. Coaches will act as guardian, accompany athletes to first aid, hospital, fill out accident reports, etc. until the parent or guardian arrives. Please notify coaches if athletes have any special allergies/medications/conditions as well as provide proper instructions as well as the means to care for the athlete in case of an incident. While it’s not a requirement, we strongly encourage at least one member of the family to be on mountain throughout the session. Should an emergency arise with a child, or if weather creates a problem for the program, we will call/text parents the details.