It’s been 50 years since the lifts began cranking at Welch Village, Minnesota, thanks to the resort’s founding by the Nelson Brothers just before the season of 2015-2016. And from February 26 to 28, some 140 NASTAR racers celebrated the golden anniversary going for the gold during the NASTAR Midwest Championships.
Then there was the great golden globe in the sky, which turned an already stellar few days even shinier. “We had a great weekend,” reported NASTAR’s Bill Madsen. “It was very warm, but the Welch crew did a great job prepping and maintaining the course and everyone was amazed how well the course held up. The temperature reached 60 degrees by the end of Saturday and with sunny skies the atmosphere was festive.”
AJ Kitt starred as the pacesetter on Lookout for the juniors morning race, crossing the finish line in 19.50 seconds on the Yellow Course and 20.34 on the Green Course. The youngest category, Male 1-5, saw Luke Hakseth finish in 31.76 seconds on the Yellow Course; brother Noah finished in 26.15. Traveling all the way from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota were brothers Braeden and Logan Hunt in the Male 18-20 Division. Family was the name of the game all weekend, as four Caturia kids showed up to race, along with three Molitors and three McKinneys.
For the adults’ races, 19.72 on the Yellow Course and 19.45 on Green were the times to beat. Dozens of racers, from Adam Adkins to John Wothe and from Carly Bjorklund to Rosvita Wolk chased after Kitt’s time.
“The Regional Championship races are a great way to prepare for the Nationals in Steamboat, and it’s fun to meet up with our ski racing friends,” Scott Bjornson, Welch Village racer.
On Saturday night, Tim Mahoney, who earned fame on “The Voice” entertained NASTAR families before the Awards Ceremony in the Welch Village Main Lodge. “We had a huge raffle with really nice jackets and tuning equipment, a huge box of stuff,” said Madsen. “Welch Village put out a spread for dinner, too.”
On Sunday, Feb. 28, Alexander Campion of St. Louis won the men’s division of the Race of Champions, posting an adjusted time of 19.22. His qualifying group: 5 & under Gold. “I love it when the little kids win,” said Madsen. Jack Burger, from 8 to 9 Gold, and Logan Hunt rounded out the podium.
The women’s Race of Champions saw Elizabeth Burger take win, followed by Hannah Caturia and Ella Pattison — all of them under age 18.
Caturia was the name of the game in the Team Race, as eight Caturia family members, ranging from 8-year-old Finn to 44-year-old Jason, placed first. In second was Team Kimmes, followed by Mad Miltor.
Finally, the Family/Friends Team race, during the golden anniversary year of Welch Village, continued the theme of medal and metal-worthy performances, with Platinum on top of the podium.
There’s still time to register for Nationals at Steamboat here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nature-valley-nastar-nationals-2016-registr...