Originally Posted by tief schnee
Diane Roffe Stienrotter
Nice job TS.
You were close, iriponsnow. AJ Kitt grew up skiing just down the road at Swain.
Good thoughts everybody. I agree with the comments about wasted time. Unless someone already has the race bug deeply embedded in their psyche, the idea of wasting an hour standing around on a beautiful day at the mountain, waiting for their chance at a 50 second survival struggle down an icy, rutted race course can seem rather non-appealing.
This is why NASTAR serves an important role. It provides recreational skiers with a means of getting a taste of racing in a very quick, hassle free, and unintimidating way. There are no run orders, a racer just pays his money, goes to the top and takes their run. And the courses are on moderate pitches with minor offset, so course deterioration is less of a factor.
This removes many of the obstacles and intimidation factors that might keep the first timer away, encouraging them to take the plunge and give racing a try. Often that first taste of gates and clocks ignites a new enthusiasm for skiing, and a desire to race again and strive to improve. That's what NASTAR is all about; introducing a new experience in skiing and watching the passion for it grow.
I've coached adult recreational racers quite a bit, those who began racing later in life, and I can tell you that it's very rewarding. The enthusiasm they display, and the desire to improve is so fresh and intense that it's very inspiring for a coach. With coaching, improvement comes quickly, and I wish you could see the beaming faces of pride and satisfaction these guys and gals get when they discover they've just laid down a personal best handicap slashing run.
These rec skiers get into this racing stuff so passionately. I have letters of appreciation at home from racers I've coached who've made major personal strides and qualified for the NASTAR nationals for the first time. In the letters they express to me what a significant accomplishment they see it as, that it's a highlight event of their life on skis, and how much they appreciate my part in helping them achieve this monumental personal goal.
But what I see as just as important as this personal satisfaction derived from racing is the major improvement it makes rec racers overall skiing. Racing presents new challenges to a recreational skier, and having a means to measure performance creates motivation to practice and improve.
Suddenly, skiers who were content to just free ski with little focus on technical improvement have a radical mind set shift. Now they're inspired to seek out coaching, and the level of instruction they receive is typically top rate. Their skiing improves rapidly, and they find themselves skiing cleaner edges, in better balance, and with more confidence on terrain that before was intimidating. That's the hidden jewel of racing and training. It transforms run of the mill skiers into high level technicians that stand out in the crowd. Personal thresholds are raised, and skiing becomes much more effortless, rewarding and fun.
This is why guys like Gary and I so pumped to promote racing to the masses. We know the transformations and rewards it provides, and we thrive on seeing them take place.