When does MARA registration open and when does it close?
Enrollment in MARA will open in November, usually before Thanksgiving. It closes when all positions are full or on the first day of MARA training, usually the first weekend of January, whichever is first.
What programs are available?
Please see the “Programs We Offer” page.
What is the Mandatory MARA Registration Meeting?
MARA will have a mandatory MARA parent meeting, usually during the week leading up to the first training weekend. This meeting is an opportunity for new and returning MARA families to get together, have some pizza, and learn about the upcoming season. It is also where you will complete registration. Please come prepared to fill out waivers, provide deposit checks and sign up for your volunteer hours so your child can receive their MARA jacket. This way your child will be good to go for their first day of training.
If you cannot make the Registration Meeting, registration can be completed during the morning of your child’s first day of training, usually starting at 9:30 AM. MARA jackets, if still available, will be distributed once registration is completed. Your registered athlete(s) may then join MARA for the afternoon session.
What is the minimum age and the minimum skills required to participate in MARA.
Each athlete must be 6 years of age on January 1st of the season to participate. For example, a child must be 6 years old or older on January 1, 2020 to participate in the 2019/2020 winter season.
This is not a “learn to ski” program. Athletes must be able to load and unload lifts unassisted and comfortably ride the lifts by themselves. They must also be able to ski the runs serviced by the Comer lift. This includes making linked parallel turns (or mostly parallel turns) in both directions at a consistent speed and have the ability to perform a hockey stop safely and effectively. Preferably, athletes will be skiing with poles upon entering the program.
New athletes’ skills will be assessed on the first day of training. If the skills mentioned above are still a bit beyond your athlete, we will refer you to the Mt. Ashland Snowsports School. They offer lessons that will help get your athlete up to speed. MARA membership fees will be returned in-full in these instances. Your athlete may re-enroll with MARA the following season.
What is the FreeRide program and how does it differ from the Alpine Race program?
While all MARA athletes will spend a considerable amount of time developing all-mountain skills, the freeride program will spend additional time focusing on aspects of freeriding including slopestyle and all-mountain freeriding skills. Freeride program athletes will spend some time in the race course, but they will have a larger percentage of time riding on challenging terrain, including moguls, powder, chutes, couloirs, cliffs, jumps and variable snow conditions. Technical skiing, freeride tactics and mountain awareness will be emphasized. When available and with enough interest, freeride athletes will compete in the areas of Big Mountain, Freestyle or other disciplines of interest.
Athletes entering the freeride program are required to have a higher skill level than the basic requirements for MARA. Athletes are usually older than 10. Athletes should already be comfortable skiing off-piste terrain and a majority of the chutes in the Mt. Ashland bowl. Athletes who are not ready for freeride will be referred back to the general program.
I heard that there are scholarships for reduced membership fees. How do I apply my child for a scholarship?
Peogram fees can be found here. MARA endeavors to provide scholarships for reduced membership fees based on family financial need. Families can apply for a fee reduction by submitting an application. Family financial information will be required. Please see our “Financial Assistance” page.
Will my child receive a MARA team jacket?
Team jackets are available for most MARA athletes in a large number of sizes. We have made an effort to supply all athletes with a jacket, but sometimes certain sizes will run out, depending on enrollment. Jackets will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis. Jackets are distributed on the first day of training.
MARA jackets are primarily intended to be worn by MARA athletes during MARA training and events. It is okay for MARA athletes to wear their jackets when they are skiing at other ski resorts. In order to limit wear and tear, however, we ask that athletes do not wear MARA jackets when they are off-mountain.
What is the jacket deposit?
A deposit check for $100 will be required before an athlete receives a jacket. The check will be destroyed when the jacket is returned to MARA in good condition (other than normal wear and tear) at the end of the season. The check will be cashed if the jacket is not returned by the final collection date (usually in early April). If the jacket is not returned by May 1 or is returned in an unusable condition you will be charged for the replacement of the jacket (the $100 deposit plus an additional $150).
When does the jacket need to be returned?
Unless the athlete is competing postseason, jackets must be returned by the last training day of athlete’s program (6, 9 or 12 week programs). Please return your athlete’s jacket to a MARA representative at the MARA coaches’ room (inside the locker lodge) or as otherwise designated by MARA. Be sure to collect a receipt of jacket return. If the athlete is participating in a competitive event after the last day of training, the jacket should be returned on the last day of the event. In some years, a collection site will be arranged in town for those who were unable to return jackets on their last day of training. When available, this will happen shortly after the completion of the 12 week program.
What is the volunteering deposit?
MARA usually holds three races during the season (6 days of racing in total). These races are fun events where MARA athletes can experience alpine ski racing in a supportive environment. These events require numerous volunteers to make them successful. Volunteers provide important roles such as timekeeping, gate judging, course breakdown, bib distribution and collection. No experience is necessary and off-snow roles such as registration are available. Each MARA family is required to provide a volunteer for 3 of the 6 racing days. Alternatively, families can provide at least 6 hours of off-mountain volunteering, such as help with the auction. A $100 volunteering deposit check (made out to MARA) is required before the athlete can participate in training. The check is destroyed after completion of the volunteering requirement has been confirmed. If the volunteering requirement is not met, the check will be deposited following MARA’s last home race of the season..
What is the auction deposit?
Each year, MARA holds a fundraising auction, usually in autumn. This auction provides needed income for our non-profit organization, allowing MARA to significantly reduce membership prices and provide scholarships for those with financial needs. MARA relies on its members to make the auction successful, by providing items to be auctioned during the event.
Each MARA family is required to provide an auction deposit check for $150 (made out to MARA). The check must be received by MARA prior to the athlete’s participation in training. Once items with cumulative value greater than $150 are provided to MARA, the auction check will be destroyed. Note that the MARA families do not need to personally provide or pay for an item, but rather, they can solicit attractive items from local businesses for the auction (feel free to reach out to MARA administration for advice on soliciting items). The auction item(s) will need to be submitted by the last day of training of the 12 week program. If the auction submission is not provided by this date, the check will be cashed in lieu of auction items.
Will I receive a refund if MARA is unable to provide a full program due to Mt. Ashland ski area closure(s)?
If a MARA training day is canceled due to a Mount Ashland ski area closure, a single make-up training day will be added to the program, whenever possible. A make-up day will usually occur one week after the original final day of the program. If additional training days are canceled due to ski area closure, MARA will endeavor to provide partial refunds for the additional unfulfilled training days. The refund will be up to 80% of the per diem fee. Any discounts, including first-year discounts and scholarships, will be proportionally subtracted from the refund. Note that regularly scheduled and make-up training days each count towards fulfillment of the series, whether or not an athlete attends the training.
Will I get a refund if my child is injured or has an illness that precludes him/her from completing their season?
A portion of a membership fee may be refunded if an athlete has an illness or injury that prevents him or her from participating for the remainder of the season. If the illness or injury occurs prior to the first day of skiing, the fee may be returned in-full. If the illness or injury occurs after the first day of skiing, the fee will be returned in the value proportionate to the remaining training days of the season, up to 80% of the fee. A note from a treating medical professional may be required.
Refunds will not be provided for athletes who miss their scheduled training for reasons other than listed above.
What happens if MARA is unable to hold practice due to extreme weather, lack of snow or closure of the Mt. Ashland resort?
If the Mount Ashland Ski Area is operating, parents/guardians should expect that MARA training sessions will take place. It is important that MARA athletes be well prepared for the weather conditions, such as extreme cold or heavy rainfall. Special preparation or equipment may be needed during more extreme conditions, and this is the responsibility of the athletes and their parents or guardians. It should be noted that MARA jackets are not waterproof and other gear may be needed to allow for skiing on more extreme days, such as extra base layers or waterproof jackets, pants and gloves. It is the athlete’s parent or guardian’s responsibility to determine if an athlete is adequately equipped for the conditions. Nonetheless, if an athlete is inadequately suited for the conditions, he or she may be brought to the lodge for warming. A parent or guardian should be available to meet their athlete if this occurs.
Refunds will not be offered if a MARA training session is cancelled due to extreme weather conditions once training has begun for the day.
How are group assignments made? Can my child request to be with another child in a different group?
MARA athletes will be assigned to coaching groups based on their program, their age and their skiing ability. We are sometimes able to accommodate moving athletes to a different group at parent or guardian request. Please understand that we may not be able to accommodate these requests if it disrupts group size or breadth of skiing ability within the groups. Please direct any such requests to the MARA head coach.
I signed my child up for a 6 week season. Can I extend to a 9 or 12 week program?
When conditions allow, athletes participating in a 6 week program may extend their session to 9 or 12 week sessions. Similarly, athletes participating in a 9 week program may be able to extend to a 12 week session. Please make a request for program extension though the MARA administrator before the last week of your athletes program.
I signed my child up for Saturday group. Can he/she switch to a Sunday for a single practice or multiple practices?
An athlete may switch the day of their program (Sunday to Saturday or vice versa) until the second weekend of training. From the second weekend onwards, an athlete must continue with their selected day. Single-day or multi-day switches are not allowed.