Well last weekend’s Mighty Mite Squaw Cup was an experience. Sunday morning, race day, it was incredibly cold from a strong wind. The gates were blowing sideways and the Green Stars were shivering at the top of the course at 9:30am ready to start their first Mighty Mite race. It was one of those times when you feel sorry for the kids in the blowing weather but also have to smile as they make 3 turns between gates, switch courses accidentally and even go through the same finish line while they learn what it is to race. Don’t get me wrong, some of those little Green Stars new exactly what to do, but it was a mixed bag of experiences the kids. I think it took over an hour to get all the Green Starts through the course two times. Hats off to the coaches and race crew for providing the experience and staying positive. Next the Orange Stars did their runs and as they were wrapping up 3 of the 4 lifts open on the mountain closed on wind hold. That left only Exhibition for the Mighty Mites, the other ski teams who were training and the general public still wanting to ski. The Red Stars got started and the wind did not let up. Squaw had to close Exhibition, rightly so. The last thing parents want is there children on an extremely windy chair lift ride.
The rest of the race was moved to Monday (Martin Luther King Day). Luckily the wind had subsided and the sun was out but it was still quite cold. Our son is a Blue Star and he enjoyed two great runs on the course. At this age great means: went around all the gates the right way, stayed on his course, crossed the finish line and was smiling at the end for the fun of it all.
There was an issue that came up during the race, the race times. I was a Mighty Mite coach for 8 seasons and now this is my 4th season as a mother of a Mighty Mite/Shooting Star. I know the races times are never shown. That is why I was shocked when I walked over near the race shack and found an electronic board, out for everyone to see, with names and race times. I thought “This is new. I wonder why they are doing this?” Of course I had to take a look and I found my son’s name with a fairly fast first run time and a DNS for his second run. Quite a few kids had a DNS for their second run, but many of them had times.
From my years of racing I know DNS means Did Not Start, differing from the other abbreviation, DSQ, meaning Disqualified. DNS means you did not do the run. DSQ means you did the run but missed a gate, or several in the case of some of the little competitors this past weekend. I knew my son, as well as many of the others raced both runs. One of the coaches was noticing the board as well and went to check it out and came back to report the display was not working accurately and all the times were in the race shack on the computer. I was glad to know and spread the word to other parents who were asking and looking at the board. It really is a bummer the board was even on because it was causing some confusion.
Anyway when the official results came out and the coaches went up on stage to announce the winners, and our son won the gold for Blue Stars. He was so excited letting us know, this was the first Mighty Mite race that he was in the top ten. We are so proud of him and thankful for the opportunity for him to grow in the sport of skiing through the Mighty Mite program. Thanks to the coaches and staff who do their best with a large number of kids gaining their first racing experiences.