The immediate change--having the US Ski Team logo back on the Nastar medals. That will be a draw.
I wish they would push the Master's program also.
I ran gates for the first time in 30 years and look forward to doing it more. Unfortunately, Nastar is only at Winter Park. EpicMix racing is too expensive.
Racing gives you something to do when the skiing is subpar. It's a good way to work on carving skills especially at the start of the season. It's a fun family activity. Getting the kids to race against each other and then the adults against the kids--it's fun. And kids love medals! My niece loved being able to go fast instead of having "slow" signs all around.
My parents didn't get my sister into racing and freestyle to climb the ranks. They felt that busy kids don't get in trouble and it worked.
At places like Winter Park, the race team does use the course at times. Yes, it's too short, but the young kids were rocking it and they have to start somewhere.
I've been reading skiracing.com and following Tiger Shaw's talks this year. We've concentrated on the top and now we need to build the base.
In my view, they are looking for any way to grab youth into the sport since they have so many different opportunities open to them with parks, freestyle, and snowboarding. It's a shame that gates can't be set up for free. They can't say it's a liability issue considering the size of some of the jumps and half pipes out there.
USSA wants to generate income. They need more participation at the lower levels to support the higher levels. And they're looking at two routes: One that goes from USSA to FIS point chasing to the US Ski team. And another that encourages participation from USSA to college where a handful might get US Ski Team starts if their performance warrants it.
If Nastar feeds people into either route and gets people interested in watching races on TV, then it will help the program. I'm sure the local ski club will look at the top young racers. If you get your pin/medal attached to a flyer about trying the ski club, then you might get a future racer on the mountain.