Just finished a meeting with some of the FIS guys. This is kind of old news. The new starting age for FIS is 16.
Ages will be broken down from U21, U18, U16, U14, U12, U10. Starting in the 2012, 2013 season.
Some other topics were the importance of being physically strong in ski racing. The stronger you are the better chance you have to win. The hardest part of ski racing is the preparation in the off season. Building endurance, agility, power, strength, flexibility, and general athleticism. For the National women team, that is their main focus. The other European nations are bigger and stronger. I feel in any level that is a easy way to give your self a better chance for new personal bests!
Mental toughness is of course a vital part of your preparation. What is it? How much pain you can stand? How much you can lift? Real mental toughness is being able to follow you race plan, your training plan fully. Focus on every step and actually be fully there for each part. Meaning do not think ahead , or back. Believing in your self, your preparation. How to visualize, Set daily goals, season, 3 year 5 year, emotional control, Positive self talk, breathing, keeping a journal, and the list goes on. Top athletes in any sport are prepared in every way!