Thanks Captain. I figured NASTAR would be bigger in the East. Out West, Freestyle and Pow tended to dominate in recent times before drought conditions began to creep back in about 4 years ago. With low-snow conditions, large jumps and halfpipes become logistically and financially difficult prospects. As such, racing is making a comeback. NASTAR isn't all that big, however. Club and regional racing dominates the Far West. (Tahoe league, Far West, etc.) NASTAR still exists, especially at smaller resorts. At larger resorts like Heavenly, it's not taken as seriously as it should be by Race Depts, seriously damaging NASTAR's reputation. Not many people maintain interest, even beginners, when courses lack difficulty, length, or are obviously hastily set up by self-important race depts. Heavenly is especially guilty in recent years of providing mediocre efforts to provide both quality freeride and racing venues to the recreational as well as top amateur regional events. It seems that they only care about National Events like the USSA National Freestyle Championships, which are heavily subsidized by National sponsors. ($$$). It's sad but true, and I challenge any Heavenly Reps. to prove differently.
Although I thoroughly enjoy "Vail Bashing", I know many middle level managers and supervisors working for them who value integrity, and try to do their best to provide quality competition venues for all user-groups, not simply the one's with the highest "bean count". It seems the problem comes from above, where events are approved, & then canceled by company execs, leaving promoters scrambling for alternate venues at the last minute. The Resort General Manager at a particular Vail Resort seems to be the most influential player in determining if a race or event on the schedule can be relied on. I can't say this lack of integrity is company wide, since Vail itself, and North Star have come through with five stars concerning making sure they uphold their promises to make sure that events they've pledged support for actually happen. Heavenly and Kirkwood, not so much. In fact, I give each of them an F+ for effort on the events they've pledged to hold. Breckenridge is not much better, unless it's a Nationally televised event. Copper, Aspen, Squaw Valley, North Star, Sugar Bowl, Park City, are all far more reliable. Vail is both the best and worst thing that ever happened to Tahoe. Were it not for Vail, Kirkwood would now be a Backcountry Ski Area again, something I personally wouldn't mind at all. That's a very selfish thought, however. Not completely sure who's making these bad calls at the top. Anyone care to shed some more light on these cads?