NASTAR was created to provide recreational racers an opportunity to compete and to compare their scores to friends and family members regardless of when and where they race. The skis, race suits and the ability to track results online have transformed the program but one thing has always remained the same, NASTAR is a family program and The Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships is the Disneyland of the skiing community, just ask the Stojda family.
The Stojda family looks forward to racing NASTAR and going to the Nature Valley NASTAR Nationals each year. “It’s a lot of fun and not just about racing,” said Mike Stojda, father of Marc and Alex Stojda. “From the reception and craziness of the swag giveaway, to meeting past and present U.S. Ski Team members it’s an amazing event.” The National Championships has become a family vacation that the Stojda’s plan on taking each year.
At the 2012 Nationals, held at Winter Park Resort, all three of the Stojda men won their respective divisions and qualified for the Race of Champions on Sunday. Mike went first and clipped a gate during his run, “It was a complete yard sale. They had to reset the gate.” Marc, 12, watched as his dad fell but didn’t let the nerves get to him. Marc had his best run of the entire season and his handicapped time put him on the top of the podium as he watched his brother and the rest of the field try to record faster discounted times. “I remember standing on the podium, watching each racer come down and hoping they didn’t do as well. I thought it would also be cool if my brother made it on the podium – as long as I was still in first,” said Marc. Marc’s brother, Alex, didn’t make the podium; he fell during his race but managed to get to the bottom and finish.
At the end of it all Marc stood victorious on the top of the podium, beating out the rest of the male alpine skiers to become the winner of the Race of Champions. His victory came as a surprise, this was Marc’s first year qualifying for the Race of Champions and he wasn’t having his best race season, “I knew I was skiing the best I had all season long,” said Marc, “I actually had a pretty bad year last season until the very end when things just started to click. I think some of it also has to do that the NASTAR course at Jay Peak (the Stojda’s home mountain) is much flatter than Winter Park.” His dad, Mike, also noticed his son was skiing his best race of the season, “ I was like ‘Wow he’s really on today.’ He had a tough season and barely qualified for Nationals. The biggest difference was the steeper start and no ice.”
Though the whole family didn’t make the podium during the Race of Champions they still had a blast. At the NASTAR Nationals, racing isn’t the entire reason you attend; you come for the camaraderie and spirit of NASTAR. “Well of course winning was the best, but there were so many other things as well,” said Marc, “The great backpack, which I use as my school bag, meeting the U.S. Ski Team and getting pictures taken with them and autographs, the great party and also the family race – we need to get my father some lessons as he’s tooo slooow. If we can just get him to ski as fast as he drives.”
The Stojda family is gearing up for the new season and plan on making the trip out to Aspen/Snowmass for the 2013 Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships to not only defend Marc’s title but to also have fun as a family.