Each summer we analyze the results that were recorded within all of the age and gender groups to determine if the handicaps for each medal group need to change. We look at the percentage of people that won platinum, gold, silver and bronze medals in each age group and compare the minimum and maximum handicaps earned with the percentages outlined for each medal group. Within each age and gender group participants that earn a handicap that places them in the top 70% of the racers within their age group should earn a bronze medal or better when they race NASTAR. The silver medal group is determined by the handicaps earned by participants that make up the top 45% of the racers in each age group and the gold medal is reserved for participants that record results that place them among the top 20% of the racers in each age and gender group. To win a platinum medal racers must earn a handicap that places them nationally amongst the top 5% of the racers in each age and gender group. For example, a boy that is 11 years old must earn a handicap between 27-41 to win a gold medal in the new U12 age group and a handicap better than 26 to earn a platinum medal (view Handicap Chart).
The NASTAR junior age groups have been changed to be consistent with the new United States Ski Association age groups. Many people are familiar with the "U" designation used by hockey and soccer association so NASTAR & USSA have adopted the nomenclature for our age categories. For example, we will now refer to racers that are 10-11 years of age as U12. Age groups are still determined by the racer's age as of December 31st.
A new column has also been added to the handicap chart for team racing. The new column shows the handicaps needed to score the maximum number of team points. This change will equalize the opportunity for females, older and younger racers to score maximum points for their team. If you compete in a local race series or league the ladies on your team and your older and younger team members may now be the most important members of your team. In addition, team points are a great way for people to compare their ability regardless of their age or gender.
Check the chart and set your goal for the winter. Know the number you need to hit to achieve your goal.