Have you tried NASTAR?
You've probably seen the green and yellow signs at ski resorts around the country. You may have even spotted the race course from the chairlift. Have you tried NASTAR?
What is NASTAR?
NASTAR, which stands for NAtional STAndard Race, has been around for 44 years and is the world's largest recreational ski and snowboard race program. Available at over 100 ski resorts in the US, it is open to all ages and abilities.
Can I Do It?
Absolutely! No race experience necessary. However, you should be able to ski any groomed intermediate run with controlled turns and a little speed. The course is often located on a beginner or intermediate trail. At Park City Mountain Resort, the course is located on Blanche, a designated easier run.
Don't hesitate to ask the NASTAR staff for help. Tell them you're new, and they will help you out. Take your time on your first run to get a "feel" for the course. If you miss a gate, just keep going. This isn't the Olympics - it's for FUN.
How Do I Sign Up?
You can register online to get started, or at the NASTAR desk at any participating resort. The desk may be inside the base lodge, or a booth near the race course. At Park City Mountain Resort, register at the booth at the top of the course. Times and days a course is open varies by location.
Bring cash in the event they do not take credit cards on the hill. Prices also vary by ski area, but it is usually $5-$7 for one or two races, or $10 for a day pass. Back in the day they used to give you a bib to wear. I'm happy to report that it's been replaced with a very subtle sticker.
Are There Prizes?
Yes! It's a race against the clock, and your time is calculated with your handicap based on age and gender to determine if you win. Check out the website for all the technical details about pacesetters, handicaps, and par times. Based on your handicap, you might earn a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum medal. Don't be discouraged if you don't medal on your first, second, or any try. Remember, this is for FUN.
Just last year I signed up after a 26 year hiatus. Bad equipment and my less than stellar athletic ability were not a good combo wearing a race bib. Nearly fifty NASTAR races over my high school years resulted in only one - that's right - ONE - Bronze medal. My mom was so proud she still has my old bib and medal from Mt. Southington.
The best part about the handicap? The older you get, the bigger it gets. I'm almost looking forward to my next birthday because I "age up" to the next handicap. There are just a few years between me and a Gold medal - I can feel it!
Give It A Try!
The next time you see a NASTAR course, ask your kids to race you. If it's your first time and you need to take it slow - even better. Kids LOVE to beat their parents. The enthusiasm and excitement from that alone is worth giving it a try.
Follow those NASTAR signs and give it a whirl, and don't forget to tell the Snowmamas how it went! We'd love to hear all about it!
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The views expressed on Snowmamas are those of the individual authors, who are independent contractors of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Killiington Resort and may not be factually accurate. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Park City Mountain Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Killington Resort, its owners, its management or its employees. Snowmamas' will receive compensation for their participation as an author.