By Jake Bright
If you’ve run a NASTAR public race course this season and qualified for the National Championships, there’s still time to register. This year’s grand finale for the world’s largest recreational race program will take place at Steamboat Springs March 24 to 27. NASTAR’s biggest event brings together skiers and snowboarders from around the country — along with Ted Ligety and other elite skiers — for racing and a full program of fun activities off the course.
Qualifiers for the NASTAR National Championships will see a National Championships logo in their record at NASTAR.com. Anyone who received an invitation last year is automatically invited again this year. Racers can also submit a request for a discretionary entry with a link to their results to Christina Zarndt (email@example.com).
Lyta Foulk, pictured here, is one of many alpine racers across the country who will compete in NASTAR Nationals at Steamboat.
For those who can make it, NASTAR Nationals is a festival for alpine competitors, with racing, raffles, U.S. Ski Team pacesetters and a full entertainment program. Steve Nyman, AJ Kitt, and Casey Puckett are among the top athletes expected to attend.
Participants, friends and family can also check out the latest in ski and board equipment, clothing and gear in NASTAR’s sponsor village. (Racers will all get High Sierra hydro packs, along with other U.S. Ski Team, NASTAR and Steamboat merchandise.)
Then there’s the opportunity to experience Steamboat Springs, with its 10,000 vertical feet peak, eight-person gondola, 165 trails and surrounding authentic Western village nicknamed Ski Town USA.
Steamboat offers an excellent backdrop to NASTAR National’s main attraction: the racing. NASTAR has a division for just about any age and ability, and its handicap system shows each competitor’s percentage slower than U.S. Ski Team pacesetters. This makes it one of the few programs where amateur racers can compare themselves simultaneously to world-class athletes and their peers.
After two days of competition, the top three in each division earn medals on NASTAR’s stage, while divisional winners go on to race in NASTAR’s Race of Champions. This discounted time, winner-take-all competition determines overall champions for alpine and combined categories (snowboard, telemark and adaptive).
The Steamboat competition schedule also offers the opportunity for group racing in Saturday’s team and family races, and a slalom competition on Sunday.
While alpine competition is the main attraction, NASTAR Nationals provides plenty of opportunity to share the day’s race stories and make new friends at its entertainment stage. Following daily live music from local bands from Steamboat, raffles and awards ceremonies, this year’s main act will be Jakubi, an Australian based band known for their soulful dance rhythms.