Volunteer roles and responsibilities
If you are new to the Club, please read on for an overview of the volunteer roles and the associated responsibilities.
Set up day
The afternoon before the race gets under way is for B netting setup. Unless otherwise announced we meet the Club Captain at Tower 17 (just below Kareela) on set up days usually around midday.
At the same time some volunteers work inside the Clubhouse, preparing folders for Start and Finish Referees, Gatekeepers, Start Marshall, packing the backpacks with the folders and snacks , sorting the race bibs, putting magnetic name strips onto the race board ready for the Team Captain’s Meeting, checking and labelling the volunteer radios, organizing volunteer tickets and providing various lists to the ticket office.
We require some volunteers to be present for the Team Captain’s Meeting where outstanding entry fees are collected, unused bibs are put away, start lists are collated and put into the backpacks, radios double checked onto chargers, finish board sheets are written up for the next race day.
The key official positions are the Chief of Race, Chief of Course, Course Referee and Chief of Gates.
The Jury comprises Chief of Race, Chief of Course which would be the Technical Delegate (TD) for FIS races, and a nominee by the Chief of Race.
For non-FIS races these positions are typically filled by Club Committee members.
Course Crew – Meet outside the Clubhouse on snow by 6 am!
Under the direction of the Chief of Course, the course crew is responsible for the preparation of the course and its maintenance throughout the race. The course crew also takes care of the preparation of the start and finish areas.
Some members of the course crew along the course use rakes and shovels to ensure that the course is kept in a good condition. Other members of the course crew are positioned at the top of the course and used to shuttle equipment down to places where it may be required during the race. Coaches are usually available to replace gates that are knocked out.
Most members of the course crew act as Slippers who slip the course to minimize the ruts. Slippers should circuit continuously back to the top of the course where they will be grouped and sent down as a team, as required, by the Chief of Course. It is important that they do this right through until the end of the race, not just until their child finishes, so that all the athletes have the benefit of the best possible race conditions.
Collect your backpack from the Clubhouse and meet the Chief of Gates at the top of the course approximately 30 mins before race start.
A Gate Judge is responsible for judging the passage of each competitor through the gates and deciding whether the passage is correct. Gate Judges ideally should have completed their Level 1 Official’s Course so they are aware of the rules concerning correct passage, or consult the FIS website where the rules can be found.
Gate Judges are assigned a certain number of gates to watch by the Chief of Gates. They stand to the side of the course and watch each competitor pass through their designated gates. If a competitor does not have the correct passage through the gates the Gate Judge marks this down on a Gate Judge sheet and draws a diagram of the athlete’s path. (It helps to draw 4-5 drawings of your gates before the race starts, so you only have to draw the racer’s incorrect path and their bib number on the pre drawn diagram.)
It is a good idea to take a square of carpet to stand on to stop your feet getting too cold, or a milk crate to sit on along with an extra layer of clothing as you can be standing still for a long time.
If you are new to this, ask to shadow a more experienced parent for a couple of races. Don’t worry – you will get the hang of it quickly!
At the end of the race you will ski to the bottom of the course and meet the Chief of Gates and Finish Referee and go though any disqualifications (DQ’s) you may have, in the order you were stationed along the course. Please do not ski off until the Finish Referee has completed their summary as the DQ’s must be posted for the coaches and competitors in case there is a protest. Please ensure your name and mobile is on your record sheet.
Positions at the start include the Start Referee, Starter, Hand Timer and Start Marshall.
The start area is overseen by the Start Referee. He/she must be at the start gate to open the course for inspection at the advertised time and to close it accordingly. Collect your backpack and radio early in the Clubhouse then head up the Snowgums chairlift to the top of the course. There should be forerunner bibs and also some spare bibs in the Start Referee backpack.
The Starter wears a headset and is in communication with the timing crew. The Start Referee ensures that all is in order for the race to start, and will stop and restart the race depending on the radio contact with other Course Officials.
There are usually 1-3 forerunners who report the condition of the course to the Finish Referee, who radios the report back to the other Officials.
Each racer is started by the Starter, for GS with a countdown 10secs, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (or in some cases an electronic clock), and for Slalom with the command “Racer ready…go”.
The Start Marshall organizes the racers according to their start order.
The Hand Timers use a timing machine to manually record the time at which each racer starts or crosses the finish line. This forms an important backup time for all the electronic timing system. The Start Marshall and Hand Timers are appropriate volunteer positions for less experienced volunteers. Please check with the Race Secretary in the Clubhouse office early on the race morning to be shown how to use the timers.
The finish crew consists of the Finish Referee, Hand Timer, Finish Board Scribe and Bib Collector.
The finish area is overseen by the Finish Referee.
The Finish Referee records the order in which the racers cross the finish line. They also record those racers who do not finish (DNF). He/she is also responsible for collating a summary of those DQ’s from the Gate Judges who come down to the finish area after each run, and posting those on the finish board noting the time, so that the athletes and coaches can see it and make appropriate protests if they wish.
The Finish Referee is also part of the chain required to give a course clearance before the race starts or restarts after a stop. He/she is also one who can “stop the start” over the radio if there is an incident which could cause a problem to the next racer, or if ski patrol are needed. Other positions on the radio channel are Start Referee, Course Referee, Chief of Gates, Chief of Course and the Technical Delegate (TD) for FIS races.
The Finish Board Scribe transcribes the times from the electronic display clock to the finish board so the racers can quickly see their times.
The Bib Collector collects the bibs from racers after their final race, takes them back to the Clubhouse and sorts them into number order, checking that all have been returned.
The Hand Timer, Finish Board Scribe and Bib Collector are appropriate volunteer positions for inexperienced volunteers or non-skiers.
Backpacks and radios should be collected prior to the race in the Clubhouse and volunteers all in position well before race start time.
he timing crew is responsible for the electronic timing systems of the race. Regardless of how the system is set up, the principles of timing are the same. The starter gives the start signal. When the racer opens the start wand, the circuit is broken and the start signal is sent to the timing machine. When the racer breaks the light beam at the finish the circuit is again broken and the finish signal is sent to the machine, which calculates the elapsed time of the racer and prints it out.
If you are on the course, never ski through the finish timing wand whilst a race is in progress, or you will interfere with the racers’ time on the course. Ski around the finish line.
Race Office [off-hill positions]
The Race Office takes care of the considerable amount of paperwork that a race inevitably requires. The Race Secretary has a myriad of duties, including producing the Race Notice, taking minutes at all race committee meetings, Jury Meetings and Team Captain’s Meetings, handling all correspondence, receiving all entries, preparing the draw cards and preparing start lists. The Race Secretary is also responsible for the preparation and timely distribution of the results.
Administration in the Clubhouse also involves coordination of various volunteers, liaison with the ticket office, receipt of entry fees, general trouble shooting, preparation for Team Captain’s Meeting, setting up of draw board, setting up finish board sheets, sorting trophies and so forth.
The Race Office is an appropriate place for volunteers who do not wish to be outside for the duration of the race. We require help both in the afternoon before the race and at the Team Captain’s Meeting.
On the final day of our race series, TSRC usually holds a BBQ for all volunteers, coaches and athletes while the results are being collated and the trophies being organised. This typically happens outside the TSRC Clubhouse and preparation usually begins around 11am. The BBQ requires 4 people to prepare and cook the food, as well as clean up. This is a much appreciated role for non-skiing supporters.
We would recommend all parents complete their Level One Officials Course. This is organized before the ski season through NSW Alpine and the Interschools organisation. TSRC will also run an information session within the first week of the season for new parents as an introduction to race day and the volunteer roles.
Level One is a basic course prepared for race volunteers with little or no experience as alpine race officials. The goal is simple: to inform you about alpine ski racing. The different types of race events will be explained, how they are organized, the required personnel to run a race and the roles and duties of those involved.