How NASTAR Works

Our mission is simple - to provide a fun, competitive and easily accessible racing program that, through the development of a handicap system, allows racers of all ages and abilities a means to compare their race results to other competitors across the country regardless of when and where they race.

Developed by SKI Magazine in 1968, NASTAR (NAtional STAndard Race) is the largest recreational ski and snowboard race program in the world. Since the program's inception, more than 6 million skier and snowboarder racer days have been recorded.

This is accomplished by establishing a National Standard for all races. The National Standard is the Par Time or the "0" handicap which every racer competes against when they race NASTAR. The "0" handicap is set at the NASTAR National Pacesetting Trials and is the fastest time possible on a NASTAR course. The women and the men of the U.S. Ski Team compete to establish the "0" handicap which sets the Par Time for the season.

U.S. Ski Team alumnus also compete against the National Team to establish their pacesetting handicaps. AJ Kitt, Daron Rahlves, Tamara McKinney, Casey Puckett, Marco Sullivan and other alumnus host regional pacesetting races at resorts across the country where each resort's pacesetters can establish their handicaps for pacesetting. Resort pacesetters earn GS and SL handicaps that are used to establish the Par Time when they race a NASTAR course. The Par Time is the time the National Pacesetter would have raced the course had he been their that day. A pacesetter, with a certified pacesetting handicap, races the course and sets the Par Time for the race and in turn each participant in the race earns a handicap and a medal in their age group.

Each time a participant races NASTAR, they earn a handicap which represents the difference between their race time and the Par Time expressed as a percentage. It's easier than it sounds - if a participant earns a 15 handicap, they are 15% behind the Par Time. If you don't like percentages, think of it this way. Resort pacesetters set the course's Par Time which is the fastest time possible on a NASTAR course. If the Par Time is 23.32 seconds and your time is 27.00 seconds, you are 3.68 seconds slower than the National Pacesetter, Ryan Cochran-Siegle, or the Par Time.

One more thing, each time you race NASTAR, you could win a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze medal depending on the handicap you earn. Depending on the number of times you race, participants also receive a national and state ranking (3 race days) and a resort ranking (1 race day) in your age & gender category within your division. The rankings allow you to compare your race results to other competitors across the country. After each race, it is the resort's responsibility to post their complete and accurate race results directly to You then have the ability to check race results, chart your progress and view rankings on And, your result will qualify you for the National Championships in your ability group. You will be invited to compete for a National Title and race alongside some of skiing's all-time greats at the NASTAR National Championships.

It’s that simple!

Related Content

National Championships

NASTAR Team Racing