Mighty Mites provides an introduction to ski racing for 7-13 year olds. Our motto is “Love to Ski, Learn to Ski Race”. This recreational level program provides great fundamental skiing skills for movement into the more competitive Junior Racing Program and the Freeskiing Program. The decision of when to enroll athletes in higher-level programs is up to each family and can be affected by program availability and tryouts for skill capability.
Historically, athletes age 14 and up were eligible to move into the Junior Racing Program. So the natural progression was athletes completing their 13th year could apply if interested. Mighty Mite Groups were appropriately titled with the highest group, of oldest athletes, being “Junior Hopefuls”. We have renamed the highest group, of oldest athlete to Snow Leopards.
Over the years the Junior Program started providing a more intensive and competitive option for younger athletes. This has evolved to allow Under 10 athlete groups at the Junior Level. The benefit is an option for families of dedicated young ski racers to train more intensively with paid coaches at a younger level. Naturally, the increased commitment to training and racing has resulted in higher program fees and an increased time commitment for these athletes.
The new options in programs have created confusion on when to move an athlete in to the more intensive programs. Some families choose to hold their children in Mighty Mites and not enter Junior’s until they reach the Under 14 age levels. A potential downside of this option are slots not being available at the Junior Levels and tryouts required to ensure new athletes can compete with those already in the program, whom have been skiing more intensively and more often than Mighty Mites’ athletes.
Obviously there is great benefit in having many options for athletes of all ages. The difficulty is to understand there is not one clear path forward in racing or freeskiing programs. The important thing to remember is movement between programs is a FAMILY decision.
Please see your athlete’s Head Coach for assistance in navigating the options available. And we suggest discussions with the Junior or Freeskiing Level Coaches for the programs you are considering.