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How "standard" is NASTAR between different locations?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Last week I tried NASTAR for the first time in several years.

On Wednesday, I was at Keystone. My first run was too slow for a medal, but then I did five more runs, each of which qualified for a bronze medal. I eventually got within 1.5 seconds of silver.

On Thursday, I was at Vail. I did six or seven runs and the best I could do was 3 seconds too slow for a bronze medal.

I raced in the morning, soon after the course opened at both places. Both courses seemed to be in good shape, and similar in snow texture.

These results suggest to me that the handicapping and pacesetting procedure which is supposed to standardize the measurement of performance at different locations is not very good. I think this is surprising, considering how many years NASTAR has been in operation.

Opinions? Comments? Thanks! (FWIW, I'm 64 and skiing on Volkl 5 Stars.)

post #2 of 9
That's not uncommon. Before going to CO on vacation the best I could muster was a bunch of Silver's. Couldn't quite cut it to get the gold. We went to CO and I was able to knock off a Platinum at Steamboat on day one, a Gold on day two and Silver was the best I could do on day three. That's taking about 6-8 runs through the course. The courses are not always set the same. Sometimes they're straighter (Platinum course on day one) and sometimes turnier (firmer and tighter course on Silver day three). The faster courses suit my style and lack of technical skill....and fat twin tip park skis. When we went to Copper the course was even straighter and faster and I got another Platinum. I skied at Crotched in NH this past weekend and got some Gold runs.

Sometimes the pace setter has a good day and his skis are fast, other days...not so much. There's only so much standardization that you can do. Did you feel comfortable in both courses with the speed you were carrying? My youngest son got his first Bronze at Copper. He asked me before that how much faster he would need to go to get a medal. I told him not to make extra turns between gates.

The key for me is a good, strong start. And practice.......
post #3 of 9
FWIW - Keystone has a past rep for "soft" handicaps.

I do believe that National needs to spend less time hammering the pacesetters at trials through terrain that is not similar to their home courses, and more time training the Nastar directors and pacesetters in setting a "standard" course (pitch, offset, distance between gates, etc.) as much as possible on their hill.
post #4 of 9
The pitch of the course is pretty much whatever is there. You don't have much leeway there. It is interesting how different the three courses were at Steamboat. From pretty open to fairly tight. That definitely skews the results. When it's all said and done, I like some variety. It doesn't do my handicap any good but if all courses were "standard", it might get pretty boring.
post #5 of 9
NASTAR has some quality control issues.

Don't hesitate to contact Bill Madsen and let him know about it.

NASTAR needs a shakeup so that management remembers what the mission statement says.
I haven't been able to compare my handicaps over the last three years on the same hill, with the same pacesetter.
The pacesetter trials are so messed up that NASTAR HQ has been making arbitrary adjustments to our local pacesetters during the season so the results aren't goofy.
post #6 of 9
Nastar may not be perfect, but it is the best system we have for recreational racing. Nastar runs at something like 100 different resorts, each with some variation of course length, slope and gate sets, not to mention snow conditions on different days. As for the pacesetters, I am sure they try to be consistent, but may not be able to reproduce their exact HC every day. I would bet that almost every pacesetter had perfectly tuned skis at the trials, but are they really expected to maintain this on a daily basis. The right wax has a huge impact on most Nastar courses. There is just no practical way this is ever going to be truly standardized, still it is a pretty good system.
post #7 of 9
I think people need to keep things in perspective.  We're talking NASTAR here.  It's not legit racing, just a friendly little competition for people that don't do real racing or racers that happen to be free skiing when a race is held.  Honestly, being a consistent platinum Nastar skier doesn't even mean you're a good skier.  I wouldn't brag about Nastar results to anyone.  If you want to be competitive and have a formally regulated competition, there's FIS, USSA, Masters, etc.  It's not great, but what do you expect at that level?
post #8 of 9
There is a huge difference between course sets. I've only skiied at 2 places, but one is flat, and a not a difficult set, yet wihtout the right wax is very slow. Whereas the other is fast, difficult to make the gates and not tucking a whole lot. While the other is a tuck feast. Its totally different.
post #9 of 9
From what I gather, the real benefit would be comparing your time to your previous time on the same course, so I don't see what the big deal about standardization is.   Then again, I couldn't care less if I got a medal or not.  I can't see myself lining up to wait my turn when I could be skiing, so maybe my opinion doesn't count anyway.
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