I qualified again this year. Silver medal category. Male 50-54. The first time I qualified I qualified in the gold category but have not been able to qualify in anything better than silver since. I totally screwed up my handicap this year. We went out to CO and I knocked off two platinum medals (one at Steamboat and one at Copper) plus some golds and another silver. I wasn't too far off the pacesetter's time at Copper. Not bad on fat twin-tips. I qualified in the silver category but now I'm moved up to gold in my standings. I know I'd be labeled a "sandbagger" if I went. My 12 yr old son qualified in the silver category also. He really wants to go but I'm not sure we can swing two CO ski trips in one year. If we go I'd have to get ahold of some real race skis.......and wear the suit......and wax the skis.....and sharpen the edges. I doubt I would break out since the field is so big but you never know.
NASTAR Nationals - Page 2
And I have earned the right to comment a little here as I put down a couple gold runs this season for the Bears team, but too late to qualify. Might I add I was also on fat twins and wearing a puffy jacket on a day with a stiff uphill breeze in my face? songfta destroyed me that day though
I hope everyone that wants to gets a chance to go someday. It looks like loads of fun regardless of the results.
Believe it or not, I packed my suit last year and took it to Steamboat. I was going to wear it in the Race of Champions on Sunday (assuming I won) but a minor ankle fracture killed that idea.
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Despite all the raving about what a great time it is, my one experience at nationals was quite different. But I view from a very different perspective- I ski almost everyday for work, so standing around and not being able to ski kind of sucked.
A- It does cost a fair bit when you consider all the costs, and then pay for lift tickets on top of the event fee.
B- It's for 4 runs over 2 days- that's a lot of standing around waiting. In my experience, there weren't even any warm up / training courses available.
C- The reward for performance are lacking... I won my category and was 2nd overall in the entire country, and all I got was a small wooden plaque and a pair of sunglasses. Heck, I never even saw my name in print! (hahah)
So though I have qualified for Nationals many times over the years, I decided then that the cost / experience did not warrant a return. I would caution anyone who does go, do not expect to be doing much skiing, as you'll be standing waiting...
But if you go, GO FAST!!!
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A- It does cost a fair bit when you consider all the costs, and then pay for lift tickets on top of the event fee. If you're traveling with a family of four it can be very pricey but for a single individual it's pretty reasonable. This year my round trip non-stop flight from Connecticut on Southwest (no baggage fees) is $178. Entry fee is $199. Split cost on a week in a 1000 sq ft condo with hot tub is $382. Lift tickets are $41 a day. Throw in whatever you spend for meals and its cheaper than most ski vacations I've taken.
B- It's for 4 runs over 2 days- that's a lot of standing around waiting. In my experience, there weren't even any warm up / training courses available. Those two runs each day don't take long to run. You have plenty of free time to free ski. I enjoyed a lot of terrain at Park City and Steamboat. See the start of this video. I've taken race clinics and spent time in gates and I always make a few runs on the daily NASTAR course.
C- The reward for performance are lacking... I won my category and was 2nd overall in the entire country, and all I got was a small wooden plaque and a pair of sunglasses. Heck, I never even saw my name in print! (hahah) The loot I've gotten over the years is an embarrassment of riches. Starting in 2004 - every entrant that year got a Gerry ski jacket. In subsequent years the goodie bag has contained everything from hats to vests and backpacks. For making the podium I've won Goode Ski Poles. Winning last year got me a beautiful Accutron watch. The year I won both skiing and boarding I got two Descente GS suits worth more than the entire cost of my trip. When the economy is tight we can expect the giveaways to be less but there were still a lot of pairs of skis that went to happy skiers at last year's event.
Throw in the thrill of rubbing elbows with the likes of Phil Mahre, A J Kitt, Doug Lewis, Kaylin Richardson, Steve Nyman, Jimmy Cochran. Give some thought to trying another Nationals.
Alternatively for those living in the midwest or the northeast, the newly established NASTAR Opens are an inexpensive way to get a flavor of the Nationals experience. I took a six hour clinic with AJ at the Eastern Open and picked up some valuable tips.
Edited by patmoore - 3/5/10 at 5:52am
Feeling a little nervous about this. Will see what the hill looks like tomorrow - my age group is racing on Cranmer. See quite a few fellow Minnesotan's here and a fair number of those are all from Buck Hill. Nice to see our little place so well represented!
Hey, question for those that have been before - if they say the race starts at 9:30am and I'm in the mid-50's for race order, about what time would you think I'll be in the starting gate? 10:00? Later?
Edited by Tag - 3/24/10 at 8:16pm
Well, another Nationals is over and done. For my first time, I'd say it was a very interesting experience. For me, it was a bit disappointing as I didn't ski nearly as well as I would have liked. My first run felt OK - could have been much better. And it turned out to be my best run of the weekend. Interesting course set up on Cranmer. Tricky to play around the corner and the side hill. Actually it looked like a number of the courses had some tricky parts to them. Heard that from my fellow racers too. We had the usual glitches with timers but for the most part the races went smoothly on our course, other than taking a long time to get through all 65 racers in my group. Lots of waiting. Sounds like things went a little faster last year at Steamboat. On the positive side, we did have fresh snow for some powder skiing this morning.
Overall, I'm not sure that I'd want to come back to another National's at Winter Park. It's not one of my favorite areas to ski and I think the base area is not exactly conducive to a gathering like the National's. However, the event seemed well organized and my fellow racers were great.
How did everyone else do? For those of you that have been to prior National's, what were your impressions of this year's event?
P.S. Happy that the two areas where I do all of my racing were well represented with Copper Mountain getting the top ranking for medals and Buck Hill coming in 5th.