2009 NASTAR National Championships
Steamboat raises the bar again for NASTAR National Championships!
A spring storm challenged many competitors getting to Steamboat Springs but NASTAR racers and their guests pressed on and they were rewarded with cold snow and excellent skiing conditions. The races were run efficiently so participants had ample time to explore the resort and the surrounding community. Our hosting pacesetters, Daron Rahlves, AJ Kitt, Doug Lewis, Diann Roffe, Heidi Voelker and coach Phil McNichol had a great time skiing and racing with the most enthusiastic group of participants on record. In fact, some of the pacesetters may have achieved legendary status in the Tugboat Saloon.
More than 4,000 starts were recorded on Friday and Saturday to determine Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Champions in age, gender and divisional groups. Every Champion was invited to participate in the Race of Champions on Sunday where each winner carries their National Championship handicap into the final race to level the playing field. To win the Race of Champions participants must ski faster than they did to win their Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Championship title. Racers with the fastest handicapped times climb onto the podium in the finish area and try to hold onto their positions as faster racers with lower handicaps charge down the course. Four year old Sarah Goode from Chapel Hill, NC stood in the start gate looking down Steamboat's See Me trail, which is also used for FIS GS, looking confident. The starter told Sarah, "take your time and ski safely. When you get to the bottom of the course you will climb on top of the podium because you will be the first girl to race." The started looked down at little Sarah and added; "the other girls are going to race after you and try to knock you off the podium." Sarah looked back at the starter and said, "Why would they do that?" Sarah handled the See Me trail like a seasoned veteran, climbed on top of the podium and did not relinquish her position as older and faster racers put down faster and faster runs. Steamboat's Kersten Scherer had the fastest raw time of the day, but even with her handicap of 8.265, she was not able to beat the four year old. Sarah Goode was awarded the 2009 Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Championship trophy. Kersten Scherer was awarded a US Ski Team uniform and a four day trip to South America to train with the US Team for posting the fastest time. The non-alpine division was won by Peggy Martin, with telemarkers Annecy Hillmuth and Kathleen Ross taking second and third respectively.
In the Men's race the competition was fierce and the podium changed frequently as faster racers laid down faster and faster runs. A cloud of snow was thrown into the sky as each racer skidded to a stop in the finish area, but when the cloud of snow finally settled, 66 year old Pete Wither was standing on top of the podium. Steven Coulter, the 2008 NASTAR National Champion, stood in second place and eleven year old Garrett Leis held on to third place (see photo). For the second year in a row Rob Zehner posted the fastest raw time. Rob was given a US Ski Team uniform and he too will be joining the US Ski Team for a training camp this summer in South America. Ray Heid, the 71 year old Telemarker form Steamboat won the non-alpine division, Winter Park's David Stansbury took second and Bear Creek, PA's Chris Berns took third.
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A huge Thank You goes out to the entire Steamboat Mountain Resort staff for hosting an incredible event. Their efforts on the mountain and around the village made the 2009 NASTAR National Championships the best event ever.
Steamboat wishes to thank all of the participants for attending the 2009 NASTAR National Championships and for the great camaraderie brought to this special event. It's been an honor, and a pleasure, to host the Championships for the past four years and we hope that your family will visit Ski Town, U.S.A.® this coming season.
Special season passes to Steamboat and related Intrawest resorts are on sale now at skicolorado.com. And you know how much fun Steamboat is during the winter; now find out how great it is when the snow melts. Steamboat Summer Breakaway packages include three nights for the price of two. For details visit Steamboat.com.
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