National Pacesetting Trials: What to Expect
11.09.2017 | Nastar Editor
It’s finally November and that means it’s National Pacesetting Trials month! Putnam Investment National Pacesetting Trials brings together current members and alumni of the U.S. Ski Team along with two people sent from each NASTAR resort across the nation (these are often the best racers at each resort). This is the ultimate opportunity to see how each club’s pacesetter’s compare to World and Olympic Champions and bring back their earned handicap to their local resort. As you might already know, this handicap represents the difference between the racer’s time and the National Standard time expressed as a percentage. Now, if a resort’s two designated pacesetters are not able to make it to the National Pacesetting Trials, there will be ample opportunity to earn certified pacesetting handicaps in each region throughout December and January. To find out where Daron Rahlves, Casey Puckett and Marco Sullivan will be traveling for each regional pacesetting trial, read more here.
So who is racing at Putnam Investments NASTAR Nationals as pacesetters?
Ted Ligety is the Standard that all participants compete against when they race NASTAR. Each time a participant races NASTAR they earn a handicap which represents the difference between their race time and Ted's time expressed as a percentage.
The most decorated male American Downhiller and Super G skier in history, Daron Rahlves, might be an athletic animal but guess where his roots were planted? In a NASTAR course at Alpine Meadows alongside his parents and his grandparents every Saturday during the winter. Daron has won 12 World Cup races, had 28 World Cup podium spots and seven U.S. National Titles on top of four Olympic game appearances.
One of the only American skiers to race in five Olympic Games, Aspen native Casey Puckett is known to Warren Miller fans as the “fastest man in Aspen.” Born in Boulder and raised in the rugged mountains of Crested Butte, Casey also represented Colorado in the X Games and won Skier X gold twice.
From the toughest and arguably the most technical hill in the nation, Marco hails from Squaw Valley, home to many things but most importantly, home to 2018 Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR Nationals. He learned to go fast on some of the most legendary terrain in the world, then took that skill to the World Cup and won. With 16 years on the U.S. Ski Team under his belt, Marco has competed in five World Championships and is a four-time Olympian.
A Minnesota native, Claire Brown grew up bashing gates under the lights at Buck Hill before joining the University of Denver Pioneers where she earned NCAA All-American honors and helped her team win two National Championships. After graduating with a degree in finance and marketing, she relocated to Park City and now has worked seven seasons at Ski Racing Media.
Not only will current and past U.S. Ski Team members be invited to the National Pacesetting Trials, but National Champions from the 2017 National Championships will have the opportunity to attend the race as well.
“Racing for my club team this year, I am looking forward to being a leader for the little kids on my team and competing and trying my best every race,” said Jenna Muchow who was a NASTAR National Champion last season. “For Nationals this year, I hope to win the fastest raw time and win the handicap time.”
The National Pacesetting Trials races are not open to the public but we encourage you to come watch the best in the nation set the par for the rest of the season. Spectators can only watch the event from the bottom of Copperopolis. No foot traffic will be allowed on the Eagle or Excelerator lifts.
There will be a fun after party at JJ’s at Copper Mountain with light appetizers and drinks and opportunities to meet the pacesetters!
9:00am - 11:00am – NASTAR National Pacesetting Trials GS
- 9-10am National Team
- 10-11am Pacesetters and invited guests
11:30am - 1:30pm – NASTAR National Pacesetting Trials SL
- 11:30-12:30pm National Team
- 12:30-1:30 Pacesetters and invited guests
5:00pm - JJ's Rocky Mountain Tavern
- Meet NASTAR Pacesetters: Daron Rahlves, Casey Puckett, Marco Sullivan, Kristina Koznick, Claire Abbe and National Team athletes.