Originally Posted by learn2turn
I stand by what I said; it would be nice if Nastar were dominated by recreational skiers and the ex-college racers and the people who want to spend $$$ on equipment beyond a well-tuned pair of stock skis raced in some other league.
I understand your view, learn2turn, but here's my experience:
(1) I'm not an ex-college, ex-high school, or ex-anything racer. I took up Nastar racing as a grown up, and have taken up club racing since. My aspiration is, when I get semi-retired, to train enough to move on to Masters racing (those guys are fast);
(2) time is a more valuable resource than money (other than the pretty expensive lift ticket/season pass) if you want to go fast. People who ski more days (and train more days) get faster--to analogize to tennis, you're better off working on your backhand than buying a new racquet;
(3) unlike auto racing or sailboat racing, ski racing isn't insanely expensive. Vast wealth is not a requirement or a differentiator. I got my Atomic SX:11s on eBay for less than $300, and Dr.'s Wicked Wax fluoro overlay powder is a tiny fraction of the price of Cera F. You can pay less than 3 days of lift tickets for a new GS racing suit from BeyondX, or buy them at end-of-year closeouts or used on eBay for even less.
(4) GS speed suits are nice (and have padding in most of the right places for hitting gates.) But they make less difference than skiiing cleaner turns with better inclination and more forward position. The fastest guy in our racing club doesn't own a racing suit--he just makes better turns than the rest of us. But for those of us who want to go as fast as possible in competitive races (club, league, town series, Nastar National Championships) we ski in speed suits (and wax and scrape our skis) to go as fast as we can. (The old rule of thumb is that ski suit shaves a second, wax a tenth of a second, the right wax for the conditions, with speed overlay, a few hundredths. If you want to shave more than a second, you've got to go take a lesson.)
(5) Nastar covers a very broad band of skiers, from a less-than-10-ski-days-a-year guy who wants to race his brother (where I started) to reasonably fanatical recreational racers who does balance training while watching videos of the World Cup winning runs (where I am now.) But at the National Championships, it's more competitive, so you get skiers on the more competitive end--hence, the speed suits. But a 25-ski-day-a-year guy with no junior, high school, or college racing experience can still win a medal at the national championships. (As I did.)
But, like somebody said, the important thing is to have fun. I'd guess the key differentiator about the speed suit/high fluoro etc. isn't money, it's the level of fanaticism that makes your boat float. I like conditioning and balance training, I like getting faster, I like analyzing World Cup technique to see what I can adopt in my racing. Other people look at that and say "Feh--that makes skiing look like work." I respect that, but in turn, that more work-like approach _is_ what makes my boat float (except, of course, on a powder day.) There's plenty of room on the mountain for both approaches.
(And, for whygimf, you can check out course photos of the various age categories at the link below, showing a rather broad range of line choice and technique at gate clear)http://www.rossmillerphoto.com/searchphoto.php