Among all of the new website functionalities this season, we have developed a badge system that recognizes some of NASTAR’s highest achieving racers in a few different categories. Each badge represents an accomplishment ranging from who has the highest number of buddy’s on NASTAR’s website (if you’re asking yourself what in the world a buddy on the NASTAR website is, keep reading. Hint: It’s our personal version of adding your own Facebook friend to your NASTAR profile, or you might even be able to compare it to Strava...) all the way to who has the most NASTAR resorts under their belt.


Simply adding five buddies earns you a badge and you can also earn badges for the total number of days raced, total number of results, the number of different resorts raced and total career years raced. Plus, if you're one of the first 50 to earn a badge you'll have bragging rights because you'll be listed on the page detailing that badge. You heard that right, you don’t have to be winning races to earn a badge!


Take Linda Walkup for example. She is a NASTAR racer from Steamboat, Colo., and has earned bragging rights for 50 total results this season and with ten days of racing. Those are two separate badges that she’s earned already!


“I love NASTAR because it motivates me to be a better skier. The gates and timing give me feedback on how good my turns really are,” said Walkup. “Free skiing is great but it's easy to make lazy turns with bad form. Another benefit of NASTAR racing is being able to compare my results from year to year to see if I'm getting better.  I didn't start skiing until my early twenties, so I didn't grow up racing.  I had a late start to my racing career and I'm trying to make up for lost time!”


Throughout her 15 years of racing NASTAR, Walkup has made numerous friends through NASTAR. “Rather than racing with friends, I've made many great friends racing NASTAR over the years. They have encouraged me to take on steeper terrain in the local Town Challenge races in Steamboat and made me feel very welcome,” explained Walkup. “Last winter I found myself spending a few days in central Wisconsin so I had to go run the gates at Cascade Mountain. The race crew there was very friendly and told me the best place for a post race beer and even bought my beer! At Nationals in Snowmass a few years back I got to hang out with a friend from high school in Illinois and meet his lovely family. Almost all the competitors at Nationals have been great to get to know over the years.  I've even been peer pressured into wearing a race suit from time to time. Most of my non ski racing friends would find that look quite odd but not my race buddies!  It has been a great way to meet people who share my passion for racing.”


William Mitchell from Hanover, N.H. is also a devoted NASTAR racer who has earned 50 total results this season after ten days of racing. He pointed out that although his official recorded results don’t track back to his true early days of racing NASTAR, he actually began racing in the late ‘60s at Powder Ridge, Connecticut and King Ridge in New Hampshire. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Mitchell raced at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in Pennsylvania where he was also a coach while his kids were racing.


“While we had fun racing competitively in those days with family and work friends I have always encouraged race days with family and business,” said Mitchell. “The business days were always at Vail and Beaver Creek. Prior to a festive family and friends dinner over the holidays, we created a ‘Race Day’ at Vail and now at Deer Valley. This year we had nearly a dozen in the course for race day. I always try to tilt the playing field so I can beat my son James who was New Hampshire Skimeister in 2002 and 2003 but this year he beat me by 0.23 seconds, but I love the handicap system so I can claim a ‘net’ victory since he has to spot me about 7 handicap points, we both win!”


Mitchell pointed out that NASTAR is the best way to spice up a day on the ski hill when there’s no powder to be had. And a very good point he makes.


NASTAR’s very own Director, Bill Madsen is the man in the hot seat who has earned a badge for more than five NASTAR resorts visited. Although we all know he’s been to far more than five resorts on behalf of the NASTAR cause! “Each NASTAR resort has its own culture and vibe and it’s so much fun to learn the nuisances of each race hill,” explain Madsen. “ I like visiting the small hills that have a base lodge environment that is designed to support racing, those are my favorite hills.”


The man, the myth, the legend Mr. Franz Fuschberger, A.K.A Fuxi (the man behind Fuxi Racing) has made the top of the list and has been awarded a badge for over 20 years of racing NASTAR. The list of men and women who have raced NASTAR for over 20 years is, to no surprise, quite long. Included on this list of incredible racers who have earned a badge for their dedication is Richard Mead. Richard has been racing through the Crescent Ski Council in the North Carolina area for the last 10 years but started racing NASTAR at any venue that held NASTAR races.


“I started out racing NASTAR whenever it happened to be available at whichever resort we were racing at, but then discovered the Council could become a club affiliate, which we have been for over ten years,” Mead said. “This gives all of our racers, typically 100-150 on any race weekend, the opportunity to race NASTAR, see their results posted and compare them to others, qualify for Nationals, and enlarge the overall NASTAR community.”


Mead is the NASTAR coordinator for the Crescent Ski Council and also acts as a Pacesetter for his community. Through NASTAR, he became involved in coaching and obtained his PSIA Ski Level two Instructing license.


“Seven years ago a friend and instructor at Cataloochee Ski Area called me to ask for my help getting up to speed with the NASTAR software after they joined NASTAR,” explained Mead. “I had never seen the area but fell in love with it and joined the ski school the following year, including working the middle and high school racing programs and serving as a Pacesetter for many of the races. Though many of the kids may never ski or ride well, being able to offer them a competitive format with national exposure is an awesome experience for them. NASTAR is a great community that makes meeting new people a lot of fun.”


If you still aren’t sure where to find what badges you have, we’ve written a detailed “how to” that you can watch or read about by going here. If you still are having trouble, try clicking on your user profile (this looks like a silhouette of a person) and you will see a “badges” button on the blue bar under your profile name.


We’ll catch you out on your local course earning badges and medals this season!