Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ski Challenge?

Ski Challenge began in 1985 as a Twin Cities Metro Area recreational ski racing program allowing adults to ski on teams in leagues, similar to softball or bowling leagues.  Approximately 35 members raced in the first year of the program, today more than 1,000 racers of all ages participate in the leagues and as guests each week.

Ski Challenge racing is considered GS (Giant Slalom) racing.  No need for shin guards or face masks, however we encourage all members to wear helmets.  At each race we set two, mirrored GS courses.  You take one run on each course.  We count your best score out of the two runs.  You can use any kind of ski you want.  There are no rules when it comes to equipment.  Most of our racers either ski on recreational “cheater” race skis, or all mountain skis.  Some racers compete on full blown GS race skis that have a little less side cut than the “cheater” skis.  And, some of our women compete on Jr GS Race skis.

The Ski Challenge has evolved into the finest and largest team oriented recreational ski racing experience anywhere!  As far as we can tell it is the largest league of its type anywhere in the world!  Ski Challenge’s size and long time commitment of its members is testimony to the exciting racing and quality experience that it provides.

How do I sign Up?

Any adult 18 or older may join any of the adult racing leagues as an individual, with a few friends, or start a new team (on a space available basis). Individuals join a race league and race in that league (same day & area) for the entire seven week series or for the three week December league race series. Kids are welcome in any of the all age leagues.

If you are forming a new team, contact the Ski Challenge office to get on the Captain’s e-mail list. Call Ski Challenge at 952-894-9220 or e-mail to  E-mails will be sent out early July with instructions on how to secure a team spot for the upcoming season. If it is past July, or if you just want more information go to our Captain Information page.

If you are an individual, go here for registration information: REGISTRATION

What if I don’t have a team?

Individuals are welcome to sign up for any league. Just fill out a registration form and either pay online with a credit card or mail in a check.  We will also give you a call to see what kind of racer you are and what kind of team you are looking for.  We’ll put you on a waiting list until we find a team for you to be on. After the existing team rosters are submitted  in November, we will know where we have openings and will notify you. We are usually pretty successful placing individuals. If we can’t place you on a team, we will refund your money.

How are teams formed?

Each team may have a maximum of 10 permanent racers (no substitutes).  A team does not need all ten racers present to compete.  Each member may participate on one team per race.   Racers can be on more than one team just so the teams are in different races.

Teams are generally put together by individual captains.  Ski Challenge does not usually form the teams.  If you are an individual looking for a team, then Ski Challenge can place you on an existing team.  Ski Challenge will do its best to place you on a team which best matches your preferences and abilities.

I haven’t skied for a while. Does that matter?

Our racing program is designed for all levels of racers. The Ski Challenge gives you the chance to get out every week for 7 weeks starting in January and/or 3 weeks in December. Courses are set on hills designed for intermediate skiers. Ski Challenge has staffing available to help you on how the race works. Staff will be out on the hill to help you line up and show you how everything works. The host ski areas also offer racing clinics at various times.

I’m not a very good skier. Will I have fun?

Everyone in a Ski Challenge race will receive an award every time they race. Besides fastest skiers and all teams, we also recognize most improved individuals every week and most improved for each team for the entire season. Door prizes, donated by our sponsors, are given out at award programs following the races. Competition and camaraderie run high in the chalet as the season progresses.

How long does the season last?

The pre-season December league starts the first Friday in December. Leagues run every Friday,  Tuesday, and Wednesday nights for three weeks. The regular season leagues start the first Saturday in January and continues for seven weeks.  Our season wraps up the first weekend in March with our State Championships. Racers are not required to participate in both preseason and regular season, however racers can do either preseason or regular season or both.  For a complete schedule go to our calendar of events.

What does it cost to join a league?

PRESEASON (December League) - 2 races per league - Join more leagues and save money
Per Person - 1 league$25$27For pre-pay and pay at door.
Per Person - 2 leagues$40$42For pre-pay by Dec 1
Per Person - 3 leagues$55$58For pre-pay by Dec 1
REGULAR SEASON - (Starting In January)
Regular Season - After Oct 31$145($150)After Oct 31 and at 1st race participating In

This price does not include lift tickets. Note that no one will be allowed to race in the course until payment is made. No race uniform/bib or t-shirt will be distributed until the racer has paid in full.

Click here a complete fee schedule and registration due dates

What does the fee cover?

Your fee covers all race event administration including: your t-shirt, uniform/bib, two timed runs per race, scoring and awards at each race, trophies and medals at the final league race, chances to win door prizes at each race, result newsletters, web site with updated scores every week (including scores sent in to Nastar), team photo, and staffing for each event. Note that your fee does not completely cover the cost of all the above expenses, so the fee is subsidized with sponsorship money.

Ski Challenge does not charge or credit on a per race system.  Note that fees include much more than the racing itself.  NO REFUNDS on Race Fees.

Lift tickets are NOT included in your fee to The Ski Challenge. You must purchase lift tickets from each ski area in order to use the hill.

Can I get a sub if I am unable to attend one week?

Temporary roster substitutions are NOT allowed.  Guest racers may race with a particular team, but cannot count for the team scores or take the place of a missing rostered member for the week.  Each racer number is assigned to a rostered participant and tied into all of their information (ie birthdate, gender, age, previous week’s handicap).  This is permanent until an official roster change has been made.

Roster Changes for a particular spot can only be made once. Changes to teams (up to the roster limit of 10) may be made up to and including the fifth league race.  Re-entry of participants is not allowed. You can only make one roster change per bib number. Once a change is made, it remains for the remainder of the season. (Check with office for substitution for injuries.)  Empty roster spots can be filled any time.  Additions are expected to pay the full Ski Challenge fees.

Do I need my own equipment?

Ski Challenge does not provide equipment, but the ski areas do offer rentals. It is highly recommended to wear a helmet but you are not required to. All our sponsor shops have the right equipment to fit your needs. Many of our sponsor shop employees race in Ski Challenge and are very familiar with what a Ski Challenge racer may need. Tell the participating shop you are with The Ski Challenge. All of the participating shops offer some kind of discount.

For more information on Equipment Suggestions CLICK HERE

Can kids and families participate?

Yes! Children 4-17 may join any of our All Age and Adults + Kids leagues.

All Age Leagues – Kids and Adults can mix on teams.  Kids and Adults will be combined for individual awards such as Fastest, Fast, and Most Improved at each race.
The following lists the All Age Leagues Available:
Buck Hill Sunday AM
Buck Hill Sunday PM
Wild Mountain Sunday AM
Wild Mountain Sunday DAY
Wild Mountain Wednesday
Wild Mountain Preseason Wednesday
Buck Hill Tuesday Preseason

Adults + Kids Leagues – Kids and Adults can mix on teams.  Kids and Adults will be recognized separately for individual awards such as Fastest, Fast, and Most Improved at each race.
The following lists the Adult + Kids Leagues Available:
Buck Hill Friday Preseason
Buck Hill Friday Regular Season
Buck Hill Saturday Regular Season
Wild Mountain Sunday PM Regular Season

Parents are not required to race but are strongly encouraged to be present at each race. Adults and Kids can race on the same team, but are not required to. A liability release form will need to be signed by a parent for each child prior to the child racing. These forms will be available online at this link: Liability Form.

Can I try it out before I join?

If you would like to try out Ski Challenge before signing up for a race series, you can participate as a guest racer. Guests are invited to race at any Ski Challenge race. If you are new to Ski Challenge, you can try it for free the first time. CLICK HERE for more information and to download a free Guest Pass. If you are a currently signed up for Ski Challenge and you bring someone new to guest race, you and your guest can guest race for free!* Just download two passes at the above link. **

If you want to guest race again or your are a current Ski Challenge racer, the fee is $15. You are only allowed to guest race once per regular season league during the year.  Preseason you are allowed to guest race as many times as you want. We do not allow guest racers at Individual Championships or State Championships. You must check in 1/2 hour prior to the start of the race in order to guest race.For more information on Guest racing go here: GUEST RACING

A complimentary* practice and gate time with coaching is offered two Saturdays at Buck Hill.  This clinic is for any racer in any of our race leagues who is newer to racing or for anyone who is thinking of joining Ski Challenge and would like to run some gates.  The course will be open from 12 pm – 1 pm. This clinic is designed for beginner racers. You will need to pick up a voucher at your weekly race or Saturday mornings in the Whittier room at Buck Hill.  A Ski Challenge Waiver must be signed prior to participating. *Lift ticket must be purchased. A voucher must be presented at the time of the clinic.

If you are a current Ski Challenge racer, you can also bring a guest to try racing for free to a current race you are participating in. But, only your new guest will race for free. You will not get any discount on your race. If you bring a new guest to a race you are not currently signed up to participate in, you both can guest race for no charge.  Lift tickets must be purchased.

Am I required to wear a helmet?

Ski Challenge does not require helmets, but strongly recommends helmets. Any of our sponsor shops can help you find a perfect helmet for you.

How many races do I need to attend to participate at the Championships at Giants Ridge??

You need to have raced in at least one weekly race on the team you will be going to championships with by the completion of week 5.  The current team roster at week 5 is used to determine the team’s division at State.  NO Roster changes after week 5.  All Teams are eligible to compete in the State Championships.  Full teams of 10 are not required.