Snowmass and NASTAR are celebrating 46 years. The two were born in an era when skiing was a wild and untamed adventure, but the sport gained popularity when new resorts, faster lifts, and grander accommodations improved the skiing experience. As recreational skiing became more popular, the interest in ski racing began to grow. SKI Magazine wanted to develop a system to standardize racing so that racers at different resorts could be measured by a common scoring system across the board. At the time, editor-in-chief of SKI Magazine, John Fry, organized a pilot program in 1968 using a universal handicap system and thus, NASTAR (NAtional STAndard Race) was born. By 1970 après ski and funky fashions launched the sport into the mainstream media and television stations began airing ski races. Spider Sabich became the poster boy for the sport after he won a World Cup Slalom at Heavenly Valley, CA in 1968 and two World Pro Championships in 1971 & 1972. The Snowmass Resort Association saw the marketing value of the dashing young racer and struck a deal with Spider to promote its new resort on the outskirts of Aspen – Snowmass. Today Snowmass is known worldwide as a premier ski destination and the Spider Sabich Race Area bears the name one of the sport’s original super stars.
Sadly, Spider was killed in the spring of 1976 in his Aspen home by his girlfriend, actress Claudine Longet. The ensuing court battle divided the town into two camps. One group saw the tragedy as an accident and stood behind Claudine. The other group saw Spider as the victim of a senseless crime of passion. The affair turned into one of the largest celebrity scandals of the time and it brought Claudine more notoriety than her acting or pop singing career. The Rolling Stones even took sides recording a song about the drama. The true story will probably never been known but the debate continues today. "Only Spider knows for sure and he aint talkin any more" sings Mick Jaeger.
The Spider Sabich Race Arena will be the perfect location for the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships. All six race venues can be accessed from the Base via the Village Express six person lift. You can get off at midway for quick access to the race venues or continue on to the top of Sam's Knob for a warm up run. The Coney Glade high speed quad should be used to make quick laps on any of the race venues and it will keep you from skiing to the base area.
The sponsor village will be located just behind five of the six finish areas and lunch will be served at the Spider Sabich Picnic Place adjacent to the sponsor village. Foot passengers can ride the Burlingame lift to the finish area for just $10.