That's a Wrap, 2017 Eastern Championship Was One for the Books
02.06.2017 | Megan Ganim
By Megan Ganim
There’s nothing better than a gaggle of NASTAR racers coming together to bring positive energy, good times and laughs all around. That’s exactly how the Eastern Regional Championship in Okemo went down. Bull Run, a trail directly in front of the lodge where the race took place, was filled with plenty of fresh faces along with many returning racers. For the annual diehards, the race is not to be missed.
Take Paul Marysko, a NASTAR regular who gathers his buddies each year to enter into the Friends Team Race. He and a group of friends stay in a cabin near Okemo for this event every winter. “I think I am the only person who doesn’t have time to ski or train at all but NASTAR is great for me,” said Marysko. “I get to jump in the start gate and remember the good old days of downhill and super G.” This year, Marysko and his friends took the gold in the Friends Team Race on Sunday.
It’s friends like these who bring the NASTAR family together.
“The NASTAR community is fun. They’re some of the most appreciative people I know, and on top of that, everyone gathers just to have a good time,” said Bill Madsen, director of NASTAR. “Fun is what NASTAR is all about.”
Richard Cole, at the age of 82 years old, is a 30-year NASTAR veteran who took home the gold in the Race of Champions at the Eastern Regional Championship.
“I can remember standing on the podium, just waiting to get demoted to second, then third, and so on,” said Cole. “A half an hour goes by and I was still standing on the first place podium so I turned to a friend and said, ‘What’s going on here?’ and that’s when they told me I was winning and I couldn’t even believe it.”
Cole is not only one of the oldest skiers participating in NASTAR, but he’s also the oldest snowboarder and a real character on the slopes - the kind of guy whose hand you would be honored to shake.
“When I came in first and got to have Marco Sullivan put the medal around my neck, it was truly a high point for me,” said Cole with pride of his accomplishment in Okemo.
Shortly after the race, Cole was driving home to Boston and it all started to sink in. His wife had posted a photo on Facebook and loving comments from his friends and family started pouring in. “It was suddenly a way bigger deal than I thought it was,” he realized.
Moments like these make up the tradition and community of NASTAR. For Cole, he gets to see his friends (who are much younger than he is) at the Eastern Regional Championship and then once more again at NASTAR Nationals. He describes it as a reunion for his community of ski racers and snowboarders.
In Okemo, not only did NASTAR get to see an 82-year-old man take the gold in the Race of Champions, but also a seven-year-old girl on the female side. That’s the beauty of the Race of Champions.
In the family team category, Team “C2J2” of the Blount family beat out the competition with a team score of 9.380, while Team “S and B“ of the Spenlinhauer family trailed close in second place with a team score of 8.453 out of a possible 10 points.
The Eastern Regional Championship embodied all that NASTAR stands for. Next stop on the NASTAR train is the MidWest Regional Championship, February 18 & 19. We’ll see you over in Welch Village!