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Is Vail killing NASTAR? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
Note that participants in a ski school lesson run Epic Mix Racing at no additional cost.
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

 

I wonder what percentage of those people in the pre-EpicMix Race era were from the Colorado Vail Resorts? If Nastar Nationals are in Colorado and there were a lot of Colorado Qualifiers, that might be part of a fraction of the decline in membership? It's less expensive to drive than fly and I think some of those Nationals were at Winter Park, which is a cheaper trip.  I'm not blaming Vail, just looking at the different variables.

 

To make the Lindsey Vonn EpicMix Race Series, you must race 10 days and qualify. That's an expensive proposition. $6/race of $50/10 pack.


My kiddo did the Lindsey Vonn thing yesterday at Vail, and we have done the NASTAR Nations in past years.

 

Lindsey Vonn thing, mostly free, gas money, parking and paying for a few races. (Breck ran out of gold medals 3 weeks ago, but cost is still the same. Breck will mail them to ya. We will see.) Same design medals since inception

 

Review on Lindsey Vonn event 2015 and Epicmix racing compared to NASTAR.

Arrived at 0825 stood in line to check in until 0845 received a bib and a VIP pass with a schedule on the back.

Went up to the Epic mix race course skidded down it and then did 2 runs on Avanti.

Showed up at 1030 waited 45 minutes to race on the green course

Had a sandwich 2 more runs on Avanti

Raced the blue course

2 more runs on Avanti and then took the gondola down, front side was a lot of dirt.

Got out of gear and showed up at Mountian Plaza for the awards at 1330

Waited until 1415 for Lindsey Vonn to show up, heard a 4 minute speech about how great Epic mix is since it started in 2010

Listened to a ESPN style interview with Lindsey Vonn for 5 minutes.

I could not see all of this because there was no stage area, no platform, just on the same level as the crowd. 238 racers with family.

Got a pitch to buy a Lindsey Vonn pass?????? for next year kinda was tuning it out by then but something about a foundation I can give too.

Of course no race results have been posted any where. ( and no results are posted as of this time on EpicMix)

Waited until my kiddos class was called for medals. 3 place showed up on epic mix as Lindsey points. Number 2 and number 1 do not show up as even taking one Lindsey Vonn race all season.

So there must be some privacy things or because they were from Vail Ski Club they were invited. Who knows.

Got a water bottle and some park rat looking bandana thing with Epic Mix on it.

 

Was pissed I spent $25 to park, went home.

 

The fastest race times were recorded at Vail.

Top 3 at Vail   03/27/15   Par time  (Lindsey Time) 21.21    racer time   -43.15  Beat Lindsey by over a minute

                       03/26/15   Par time  (Lindsey Time) 25.74    racer time   -26.45

                       03/20/15   Par time  (Lindsey time)  21.59    racer time    -19.05   5-6 female

The top 46 people on epic mix racing beat Lindsey time  (par time)

 

NASTAR has no reason to fear this show unless VR buys all the resorts and then rec racing is completely done and over with.

I figure from the looks of most people there joke and why did I come here??????

post #33 of 50

  Not sure what Vail is doing or why you would think that is killing Nastar.

 

  I think that there is a lot more to do at bigger resort than race.  When I grew up if I had access to a terrain park personally not sure how much I would have even wanted to race.  If I had access to the powder that is in so many huge resorts why would I ever want to race?  Think about it these places have huge acres of untouched pristine runs with unlimited variety.  What would make a person want to try something that would require different gear, getting into ruts, and ice to compete for a very small medal if they win anything.  The only reason I race now is that I am stuck in the mid west with only 300 vertical feet runs.  It happens to be the only entertaining thing about skiing here.

  Where I grew up there were 3 major runs and 1000 vertical feet.  It was all ice from the horrid snow making of the day.  A course was not that much different than normal conditions.  They also did huge events once a year to get everyone involved, egg toss, backwards skiing, many different teams, family race combined times.  It was a whole different experience than what I see now.  To me it seems families are not as involved as families (just what I see).  Also it was a huge family event for award ceremonies at the end of it all.  I see this sort of team building more in league racing as shift in skiing on whole.  League racing has become what Nastar was, huge award ceremonies,  group sign up for combined times all sorts of things.  So maybe Nastar is being killed not by Vail, but by the progression of league racing and other events.  Also I don't see how resorts could make it a huge family event with the costs involved.

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Not sure what Vail is doing or why you would think that is killing Nastar. -UtahSaint

First post:
Quote:
But also wondering if Vail's decision to drop NASTAR and take their racing in house has contributed to a number of skiers and a few other resorts, such as Copper, deciding to also drop out of the NASTAR fold. - Tag
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post


First post:

 

Vail's decision to drop or include Nastar has nothing to do with all the other resorts.  So any decision they have will have no effect on most other ski areas.

 

  Also do you know if those times will go back into Nastar?  Lots of ski areas have private run ski programs that then feed into Nastar.  So it could have little to no affect on the numbers in Nastar.  My post was more about things that could be effecting Nastar.


Edited by utahsaint - 4/9/15 at 11:59am
post #36 of 50

Vail follows the Disney Model where they try to keep everything in house. Hence borrowing pretty much everything from NASTAR's model except the quality. I've attended every NASTAR Nationals except one since 2004 competing as both a skier and snowboarder. The numbers were down this year because the folks who train at Vail properties had to travel to other mountains to get time in NASTAR gates.  I spent a week at Heavenly in February and had planned on running the EpicMIx course at least once (even at a ridiculous $6/run) but the course was closed.  I inspected it and was shocked that they squeeze two courses into a lane that should really accommodate one.  With no offset, you're just wiggling your hips to get around the "gates".  I've made my last trip to any Vail owned property.  Paying $11.10 for a plain hot dog put a crimp in my appetite.....

 

The experience of attending the Nationals is something all recreational racers should do at least once.  There are ways to mitigate the costs.  The last few years I've rented a condo and split the cost with several other racers.  I've gotten to meet some of the legends of the sport and become friends with some genuinely nice Olympians like AJ Kitt and Heidi Voelker.  I've met Ted Ligety and Phil Mahre on a few occasions.  These guys are always willing to sign an autograph or pose for a picture.  My oldest grandson was even presented his medal by Picabo Street.  It was a huge thrill to be congratulated by Chris Klug, the only organ transplant recipient ever to medal in the Olympics.  

 

 

 

Bill Madsen has been spearheading NASTAR operations for many years and I can tell you he's the right man for the job.  I've raced Masters, USASA (snowboarding), Mountain Dew, Beer League, and Senior Olympics.  They're all fun programs but the one that is at the top of my list year after year is NASTAR.


Edited by patmoore - 4/10/15 at 7:02am
post #37 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by utahsaint View Post
 

 

Vail's decision to drop or include Nastar has nothing to do with all the other resorts.  So any decision they have will have no effect on most other ski areas.

 

  Also do you know if those times will go back into Nastar?  Lots of ski areas have private run ski programs that then feed into Nastar.  So it could have little to no affect on the numbers in Nastar.  My post was more about things that could be effecting Nastar.

Yes, there are other groups that report their numbers back to NASTAR which is why there were racers from Copper at National's this year when Copper itself didn't sign up to host NASTAR.  They were from a local Summit County Business league.  However, using Copper as a one-off example, in past years, there has been a much larger contingent of racers from Copper participating, including myself, usually in the top 5 of resorts, certainly in the top 10.  This year Copper was 25th.  Lots of other explanations as to the drop, but sheer numbers do make a difference.

 

I don't think Vail is solely responsible for the drop in participation in Nationals this year.  I'm just curious as to the factors that lead to a 30% drop for Nationals from the last year at Winter Park to this year at Snowmass.  I've been to two Nationals, both at Winter Park and would go again, time, expenses and qualifications permitting.  My point with Vail is simply that their creation of their own citizen race league sets an example for other resorts/conglomerates to follow.  There are lots of possible reasons for the drop.  Guess I'm curious if my fellow racing bears think this is a long-term trend or more aberration.


Edited by Tag - 4/10/15 at 12:29pm
post #38 of 50
Maybe Nastar should try selling $10 hot dogs? That would be cheaper than Vail.

Vail: 1 hot dog + 2 race runs= $23.10
Surely Nastar could beat that. Lunch voucher plus all day runs?
post #39 of 50

Any idea what Nastar's commission is for a resort to represent them? 

post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tag View Post
 

Yes, there are other groups that report their numbers back to NASTAR which is why there were racers from Copper at National's this year when Copper itself didn't sign up to host NASTAR.  They were from a local Summit County Business league.  However, using Copper as a one-off example, in past years, there has been a much larger contingent of racers from Copper participating, including myself, usually in the top 5 of resorts, certainly in the top 10.  This year Copper was 25th.  Lots of other explanations as to the drop, but sheer numbers do make a difference.

 

I don't think Vail is solely responsible for the drop in participation in Nationals this year.  I'm just curious as to the factors that lead to a 30% drop from the last year at Winter Park to this year at Nationals.  I've been to two Nationals, both at Winter Park and would go again, time, expenses and qualifications permitting.  My point with Vail is simply that their creation of their own citizen race league sets an example for other resorts/conglomerates to follow.  There are lots of possible reasons for the drop.  Guess I'm curious if my fellow racing bears think this is a long-term trend or more aberration.

 

 

  The ski area I work at does not use Nastar but reports back to them.  They find it cost prohibited to do Nastar on top of the other programs they run.  I personally see Nastar as having some advantages over what they have because anyone can join and its cheep for Nastar.  What they do instead is league racing which is more for very serious skiers.  I am joining that this next year because I like to race very seriously.  With that stated if my son was to try to join the courses are way too technical for him.  Also the cost is $15 for two runs so quite a bit more than the $10 Nastar unlimited running.  I will probably do some Nastar even while I am league racing for the practice. 

 

  I hope they find a way to get more participation back into Nastar because of the ability to run for hours on end cheaply, and the reporting back to a central location.  I like to see how others are doing and watch numbers for several people I know.  I am into the competition of the sport and racing is a community thing with Nastar.  How would you ever replace an entire system with something new?  Nastar has everything centralized I don't see that being replaced easily.  I also don't understand the argument of courses not being challenging enough, really?  Unless your average handicap is 0 - 4 then I don't believe it.  My handicap is around 14 - 18 and I find them quite challenging.  Its not difficult to ski them but to drop those 3 seconds its is going to take some serious work on my part.  I don't know any other race series other than Epic which brings big names into the events either.  It was amazing to watch AJ Kitt this year at Midwest Nationals.  Still it is very cost prohibited for families to participate in Nationals ($200 just to register?).

post #41 of 50

Just as an FYI, EpicMix racing does donate 1% of it's proceeds to local ski clubs.

 

As far as costs, I saw that you can get a "season pass" for Nastar racing at some clubs for $129 (I think that was Winter Park).

 

For EpicMix, you can get a 10-pack for $50.

post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

Just as an FYI, EpicMix racing does donate 1% of it's proceeds to local ski clubs.

 

As far as costs, I saw that you can get a "season pass" for Nastar racing at some clubs for $129 (I think that was Winter Park).

 

For EpicMix, you can get a 10-pack for $50.

 

Gosh that sounds expensive to me.  The local place here charges $59 for the year of Nastar and that gives you unlimited runs on every race day.

post #43 of 50


Chiming in from the Freeski side of things. Vail is definitely running ski competition of all sorts off the mountain in a subtle way. Maybe the bean counters are putting a lower "per head" $$ amount on competetive types, than the "Gumbies & Cods", & wants to make room for more "Blue Runs" & bars. They certainly have a lot more "No Alcohol" Signs & more Bars as well, at their mountains these days. Their also making their parks smaller as well, shying away from building big hits, X courses & providing Big Mountain Venues. Black & Double Black terrain is more often closed for less legit reasons also. So what do you think is causing it? Global Warming or Bean counting?

post #44 of 50


It's all true. Their providing and taking away at the same time. They provide an affordable pass good at a lot of good mountains while acquiring more good mountains and then, restricting access at those mountains that was formerly wide open. Analogy: The Oil Companies provide a product that allows us to have many fine products (rubber for snow tires, gas to get to the ski resorts, plastics and composites for great skis) while over-charging for all this great stuff, so that many of us can no longer afford to ski anymore, and also contributing in a big way to global warming in the process, making the snow go away!

 

How about this one. What if...? Does snowmaking contribute to global warming more that it can keep up? Don't think too hard on this one. Ski Instructors & Coaches brains were not designed to think this hard. Fine wine, beer, powder, hot chick & dudes, & back lining at the right moment, are already maxing out our brains already.  :) Oh ya. Is it Vail's fault?

post #45 of 50


Ya, but would they have a better dog for "Black Pass" holders? Could you "upgrade" your hot dog just by scanning your pass? Could you possibly "upgrade" your "Gold" to a "Platinum" for a small donation to the USST? Is mustard extra?

 

Seriously though, NASTAR was a big deal when I was a kid, & now it seems like the bigger the mountain, the smaller deal it is. If the USST wants to take it over to interest more young people in racing it could only be a good thing, unless they raised the price too much. Maybe if they brought in a special sponsor to pay the costs of making it better. Say Hebrew National or Heinz?


Edited by TeleBruce - 5/12/15 at 11:42pm
post #46 of 50
They could also strong arm some resorts into bringing back Nastar. Hey Copper Mountain, do you like the prestige of hosting the U.S. Speed Center? Well we have a little favor to ask?

I don't know if that would work. I'm not sure why but regular skiers seem to be losing interest in racing at all levels. When I was a kid you would take a few runs on Nastar and then spend the rest of the day skiing bowls, trees, what have you. Now it seems that kids are either racers or they're not. The racers are covered head to toe in armor and spend all day in the gates. The kids that aren't in a race program don't seem to ever think about racing. I wonder if increased specialization of equipment is behind it.
post #47 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post

 Now it seems that kids are either racers or they're not. The racers are covered head to toe in armor and spend all day in the gates. The kids that aren't in a race program don't seem to ever think about racing. I wonder if increased specialization of equipment is behind it.

Any program that has kids spending all day in gates is not doing anyone a favor, especially the kids. USSA is now making a very big point to the clubs/coaches that are doing that to stop doing it!!! The best junior racers that make it to the USST can ski everything well, and they didn't get that way by spending 24/7 in gates...

 

As far as some kids not having an interest in racing, well ski racing is not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to skiing, nor does it have to be. However, there seems to be a societal issue going on with today's kids where many of them do absolutely nothing physically if it involves hard work and long term commitment. I hear this from coaches of other sports, and I have experienced it myself when coaching other sports in the off season. Those kids will often have the same attitude academically, doing nothing more than they have too to get through a class. It's a big problem.

 

Increased ski specialization really is not needed until a kid is well up the U level ladder. Of course the kids who are really into racing will start specializing into dedicated SL and GS skis at a younger age, but I know plenty of U12s who get by with a multi-event ski just fine. They may not be the top dogs, but they still are having fun training and racing with their friends. As a coach, you are always temped to get all the kids on the top equipment for their age/ability, but you have to temper that with what the kid really wants out of ski racing.

post #48 of 50

I doubt Vail's killing NASTAR more like skiing is killing NASTAR.  

 

It's presumably always been a niche thing, a nice thing for locals at hills to do for micro bragging rights and a fun thing for kids and the odd tourist.  I can't conceive of a situation where I'd pay real money to travel specifically for a hill's NASTAR course.  This thread probably correlates fairly heavily with the decline in Masters Racing thread with the most passionate fans being East Coasters and old guard racers.

post #49 of 50

Back in the day a lot of folks were sliding around on Stratos, VR17s, Red Stars, Siderals, et al. Very few of the people who owned them actually ever ran any gates with them, but I think just having them gave some of those non-racers the idea that they could race NASTAR. They could race without the rigor of tryouts, frequent training and practice sessions and all the rest. World Cup racers were everyone's role models.

 

Now racing oriented skis are no longer the mainstay of recreational skiers. Everybody is on some sort of twin tip, it seems, looking for some hidden powder stash or occasionally skipping through a terrain park. Now the favored role models are freeskiers or park and pipe types. The culture has changed. It probably started with the free-doggers of the 70's but it didn't really accelerate until the park and pipe people became the big heroes. 

 

That's sorta how it looks from my window, anyway.

post #50 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrison Claystone View Post
 

Back in the day a lot of folks were sliding around on Stratos, VR17s, Red Stars, Siderals, et al. Very few of the people who owned them actually ever ran any gates with them, but I think just having them gave some of those non-racers the idea that they could race NASTAR. They could race without the rigor of tryouts, frequent training and practice sessions and all the rest. World Cup racers were everyone's role models.

 

Now racing oriented skis are no longer the mainstay of recreational skiers. Everybody is on some sort of twin tip, it seems, looking for some hidden powder stash or occasionally skipping through a terrain park. Now the favored role models are freeskiers or park and pipe types. The culture has changed. It probably started with the free-doggers of the 70's but it didn't really accelerate until the park and pipe people became the big heroes. 

 

That's sorta how it looks from my window, anyway.

I think the point you make about the preferred equipment hits the nail on the head about the fading out of Nastar (if, indeed it is fading out-- just seems to be from my observations but I don't know how their numbers compare to earlier periods).

 

The other point about the freeskiers and park and pipe people taking center stage is interesting.This kind of goes back to what I was trying to say earlier about kids these days being either into racing or not. When I was a kid my heroes were Franz Klammer and "Airborne" Eddie Ferguson. In high school, I had posters of Bill Johnson and the Mahre brothers, but also Glen Plake and Scot Schmidt. It wasn't one or the other with me or any of my friends. We had several people at my little home area that were on both the race team and the freestyle team. We were interested in both. Maybe I'm wrong, but I somehow get the impression that the Candide Thovex crowd wouldn't be able to pick out Mikaela Shiffrin from a crowd of 2.

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