Over thirty years old? Enjoy ski-ing? Got the taste for racing? Want the challenge of racing on the mountain? Look no further...

The  masters ski racing scene is thriving in the UK, there’s no doubt about it. With the growth of the Lions Indoor Grand Prix Ski Series and numerous  races being organised by the Home Nations, the numbers of Masters racing on the UK summer scene is fast overtaking some of the other younger age groups. So, where to go in the winter months?

Believe it or not, Masters Ski Racing is big in Europe. There is a thriving race series run by FIS and attended by racers of all nationalities. Do not be put off by the official ‘Federation International de Ski’ title, as these races are open to racers of all abilities and ages. Racers must first register for a British Masters FIS Licence with the newly formed ‘British Ski & Snowboard’ at a cost of £60. However, there are no further entry criteria to meet and no requirements for the further expense of registering with a ski club or with your Home Nation ( Snowsport England / Scotland / Wales ). Get your licence and you’re good to go J.

Thirteen weekends of races are planned for this winter in Europe, along with the prestigious week long FIS Masters World Criterium (the equivalent of the World Championships) to be held in Val Nord, Andorra this year. Many weekends will provide the opportunity to race Slalom, Giant Slalom and ,for the adrenaline junkies, Super G. Masters racers are split in to five year age groups so you will always compete against your immediate peers. The average race will attract a minimum of two hundred and fifty masters racers. Racers are subdivided in to the ‘youngsters’; males aged thirty to fifty-five years old known as Category A, the ladies known as Category C  and the ‘more experienced’ racers aged fifty-five years +, category B. It is usual practice for a separate  race course to be set for each Category at each  race, although sometimes Categories B and C will share a race course.

Seed points are awarded at each race, so you can gauge your progress throughout the season. The races are also run as a Series , with prestigious FIS Crystal globes being awarded to the top three in each age group at the end of the season. Additionally, the British Masters FIS race is very professionally run by Kandahar Ski Club in Megeve, France  and planned this year for 18th,19th and 20th February 2011. This race awards international prizes and awards specifically for British competitors.

Yes, there are some top class ex-national team racers competing. But the majority of competitors are simply ‘mature’ racers striving to improve and enjoying the experience of some top class racing at top class venues.  And , of course, the friendship and camaraderie of fellow masters racers from around the world.  So come along and give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.

The provisional calendar can be found on www.mastersski.com along with details for British FIS registration. Check out the Masters section on www.fis-ski.com where  race events will be confirmed and results published.  For further advice on the British Masters FIS winter scene contact the British Masters Co-Ordinator  james.rothnie@yahoo.co.uk  or  the Masters UK  Training Course Organiser chris.anderson@boxcomputing.net or myself at kerryturnock@hotmail.com