Regional Pacesetting Trials - Eastern Swing
01.15.2017 | Ski Racing Staff
The Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR Regional Pacesetting Trials returned to competition in the new year beginning with Pennsylvania's Seven Springs Mountain Resort on Jan. 6 and then on to Labrador Mountain in New York on Jan. 8. This past weekend, they were held at Mount Southington in Connecticut, and most recently the trials took place at Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire.
NASTAR pacesetters have shown incredible enthusiasm toward the sport of ski racing as they earn their handicaps in the first month of 2017.
The weather at Seven Springs presented a bit of a challenge. NASTAR Director Bill Madsen wasn’t able to attend the race as he was snowed in, but former U.S. Ski Team member Marco Sullivan took charge and the show went on. With the help of a wireless start and finish timing system, NASTAR was able to utilize a slope with an abundance of snow.
To view Seven Springs results click here.
Next up was Labrador Mountain. The local course crew worked hard to put on an amazing race for the NASTAR pacesetters. In previous years at these trials, pacesetters were allowed to take two runs with their coats on, two runs in a speed suit and then two runs during the slalom race. However, this year each race is one-hour long and the pacesetters are able to take as many runs as they could squeeze in during that time.
“The pacesetters really enjoyed the new ‘jam format’ that we have employed at all of the trials,” said Madsen. “Some pacesetters took advantage of the opportunity to race a lot while others saved energy and were content with only a few runs.”
To view results from Labrador Mountain click here.
The trials at Mount Southington were chilly until the sun came out along with the eager pacesetters of Connecticut. Although the quaint resort is only two hours from New York City, ski racing is a thriving sport on this small hill. Team Okemo had a slim victory over Team Ski Sundown with a combined team score difference of only 0.003. What an incredible margin!
To view results from Mount Southington click here.
Cranmore Mountain Resort in New Hampshire is home to the Mountain Meisters Program, a Wednesday race league with more than 400 participants who attend each week. Local teams complete for bragging rights at the New England resort. This year, Cranmore moved its venue to a new trail to provide racers with a dedicated NASTAR trail.
To view results from Cranmore Mountain Resort click here.
This season, NASTAR has been incredibly fortunate to have Marco Sullivan travel and race at each of the Eastern Pacesetting Trials. Marco spent 17 years on the U.S. Ski Team racing World Cup downhill and now he is Pacesetting so one can hardly classify him as retired.
“Traveling with NASTAR is a way for me to give back to the ski racing community as a whole while also getting to visit a bunch of places that I have never been before after being on the World Cup tour for quite some time,” said Sullivan. “It’s cool to see that there are a lot of people stoked about ski racing and comparing their times to mine out here.”
According to Madsen, more than a few pacesetters have commented about their high handicaps this year. But with a superstar like Sullivan traveling to the races, it’s only to be expected.
Now that the trials are complete it is fun to compare team scores from all of the races. We ran the trials as a race series so that we could rank Nastar resorts and to provide a system that compares resort teams from coast to coast. Ski Cooper pulled together a strong group to record a perfect score followed by Welch Village and Aspen Mountain:
We also ranked pacesetters individually by the number of team points they scored. With the exception of the director in first place, because he raced in nearly all the events, it is interesting to see who scored the most points when age and gender are factored into the result:
But the Pacesetting Trials are all about the handicaps earned by each resort pacesetter so that they can represent Ted Ligety. With a certified nastar pacesetting handicap resort pacesetters can set the par time for Ted, as if he was racing daily at 115 resorts across the country.