What you need to know about the USSA rules for 2016-17
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is working to more closely align the USSA rules with FIS standards at the U14, U16 and U19 levels. There are several USSA rule changes for the 2016-17 season that move them closer to this goal.
USSA rules progress the sport and protect the athletes
The most prominent equipment rule changes that align the USSA rules more closely with the FIS rules relate to skis. While these rules may seem like a hardship for some, they are properly vetted for the greater good of the ski racing community as a whole. They will help to eliminate confusion and ensure that all athletes across the country are skiing on the same equipment.
U19 USSA rules
The new USSA rules state that GS Skis for U19 women need to have a radius greater than 25m. GS Skis for U19 men need to have a radius greater than 30m. There are no length requirements. You just need to make sure the skis bear the proper sticker indicating the radius. In addition, U19 Super G skis for both men and women need to be 200cm or longer with a radius of 40m or greater. Again, make sure, they’ve got “the sticker”. U19 rules for SL skis are unchanged – they need to be 155cm or longer for both men and women. Just like the helmet rule, the policy for all skis is no sticker, no start.
U16 USSA rules
The USSA rules for GS and SL skis for U16 men and women remain unchanged for 2016-17. GS skis need to be greater than 17m radius and SL skis need to be 130cm or longer. The Super G rules have changed. All U16 men and women need to be on skis that are 183cm or longer with a 30m or greater radius. Make sure you’ve got a sticker to prove these specs.
U14 USSA rules
The USSA rules for SL skis for U14 boys and girls remain the same. They need a minimum ski length of 130cm. GS skis for U14 boys and girls must be 17m radius or greater.
Check out the Alpine FIS and USSA Equipment Rules 2016-17 better known as the “USSA Equipment Matrix” for the complete rules and specs. Also, Peak Ski Shop did a great job breaking down the rules and listing what skis are compliant by age group in their blog post 2017 Ski Rules – Important Updates.
About the USSA
In 2016 there were almost 4300 USSA competitions in the USA with close to 180,000 athletes out of the starting gates. That’s a lot of ski racers! To level the playing field and keep the sport as safe as possible the USSA evaluates the ski racing rules and makes changes as necessary at the Congress each May.
A competitor may only take part in a USSA competition with equipment that conforms to USSA Regulations. Read the complete 2017 USSA Alpine Competition Guide for more information. For a summary of all of the changes from the May 2016 USSA Congress see the USSA Congress Alpine Review.
If you are looking for FIS information, read 2016-17 FIS Congress International Ski Racing Rule Changes.