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NASTAR question re-posted. Please respond!


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I'm reposting a thread I initiated yesterday. The members of this forum were uncharacteristically reticent! NASTAR is asking for suggestions for next year and this is a great opportunity to share ideas with the organizers. Let me know your thoughts so I can pass them on. Original post follows:

I just got back from Park City and wanted to ask all of you to consider participating next year in the NASTAR Nationals.

1,070 racers competed this year and only 31 of us were snowboarders. Only one age group had more than three participants so 30 of the boarders earned at least a Bronze Medal. One downside is that we have to run the GS courses with skier-type gates. I’ve spoken with Bill Madsen (the competition director) and discussed the idea of a separate course with snowboard-specific gates. He said that it would be feasible if we could get at least fifty snowboard racers.

From a purely selfish standpoint I’d like to see that happen. For the second year in a row I was the only contestant to wear two bibs. I had to be a quick-change artist with my skis, poles, and ski boots at the finish line (cold and stiff boots!!!). Even skipping my second board run (I was the only one in the 55-59 age group) I was still late for my starting time on skis. I finished 10th of 20 in the Expert Ski category and obviously won my age group on the board.

The venue moves to Colorado next year and the three contenders are Keystone, Copper, and Steamboat.

At the Eastern Regional Mountain Dew Finals, 300 of the 1000 present are snowboard racers. I can’t fathom why the turnout is so low at the NASTAR Nationals. It’s always a great event with plenty of giveaways and the chance to rub elbows with USST heroes. On four different occasions I had a chance to chat with Daron Rahlves. He was one of the pacesetters along with AJ KItt, Casey Puckett, Kristina Koznick, and Doug Lewis. Bill Madsen said that he would try to get Chris Klug to attend if our numbers warrant it.

If you’re unfamiliar with NASTAR, go to www.nastar.com and find a nearby mountain that participates. Registration is free. BTW, the Sunday Race of Champions is always a blast.

How many of you will join me next year? And if not, why not?


Pat Moore


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I asked for feedback and I got it!

Thanks for the detailed and insightful response!

You are right about the ski poles - I've won a pair each of the last two years.

The Race of Champions was modifed this year to yield two results: 1. winner by handicap, and 2. fastest "raw" times.

The kid who won the handicap class (and the overall big trophy) ran unopposed in his class during the regular competition. I have no idea how much effort was put out but he clearly had a better run on Sunday. I think NASTAR has figured out that the lower handicappers have no chance on Sunday and have instituted the fastest raw times awarding medals there too. That would mean more to me.

I've run unopposed the last two years and theoretically could have "dogged it" on Friday and Saturday but personal pride won't allow it. Last year I had the lowest handicap of all the snowboarders going into Sunday.

I'll continue to participate especially since I also compete as a skier. The organizers at NASTAR are very receptive to ideas. For example, I had requested taller 4x4 posts for the starting gates this year and got it. I'll pass on all the comments I get and I'll keep everyone posted if the competition becomes more "board-friendly".

As to the problem of different results at different mountains, the system is admittedly imperfect but I don't know of any resolution. It impacts skiers as well. Pacesetters are sometimes "re-handicapped" mid season and daily results are sometimes retabulated if the results are statistically out of whack.

Keep sharing the ideas. I greatly appreciate it!


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Yeah people sandbagging thier quailifying runs in order to do better in the finals is really lame. That NEEDS to be changed, take an average of their yearly handicap. Also the dates always conflict with other event that people would rather hit (nor-am finals)

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I've passed your suggestions along to the organizers. If you have any further thoughts, please share them. If they bear fruit, I'll let you know.

When next season rolls around, give some thought to joining me in Colorado at the Nationals.



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Thanks for posting this Pat, I just got back last night.

I agree, more competitors would make the “handicap” system work much better. With more competitors you would have to earn your way to the podium / finals, and it would eliminate this “sand-bagging” aspect.

I believe that NASTAR is trying to improve snowboarder attendance:

1. I was happy to see recognition for best “raw-time” with awards this year.

2. While skiers need to place in the top 3 at their mountain to qualify for these events, snowboarders have had to place top ten in the country. For the past two years, NASTAR has eased this requirement to top 40 in the country.

Concerning the ski gates: I race this type of gate all season, why not at finals? I race in both a NASTAR Race League (ski gates) and at various Southern Vermont USASA events (snowboard gates) and enjoy both.

Prizes: My skier friends appreciate the poles! Maybe if we had a few more snowboarders show up, they might think of diversifying? In the mean time, I race for the fun of it, not for the prizes. Money? probably not in the cards, but the 1,000+ skiers who attend don't seem to mind.

I realize that attending this type of event is pretty expensive, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this event over the past few years. NASTAR Nationals is a great excuse to take a trip out West each year and ride at a major resort. I have had a blast at Park City and look forward to Colorado next year.

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I just read for the first time the whole thread here. Am I reading this right: there aren't any pull starts for snowboards, just the 4x4 post the timing wand is attached to! What a slap in the face!

Jimmy, who one the "raw time" award has been riding/training with us here in Park City, he thought it was funny for someone to have a handicap of over 100 going into the finals then magicly step up to a 40 handicap on finals day. That isn't right. The big cup should go to the fasterst man and woman out there then medals by handicaped time if Nastar wants to play that game.

Again not pull starts!!!!! Why waste your money on a second rate race that dosn't give a sh!t about you.

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Pat -

To cut to the chase....this won't work until radical changes take place.

1) No handicap system - Yea, I know....silly, right. The margin of snowboard times is so dramatically different than skiing. You simply can't play the numbers game in snowboarding that you can in skiing. Even if they did pony up the money for a "pro" snowboarder to handicapp, it still doesn't cure the issues at hand.

2) Gates. Simple enough.

3) Starting gate

4) Course set-up (more often than not, most ski courses start flat to allow for the run to run.

5) Different date and respect for other events.

6) Reduce fees of entry


8) Prize money with Open class

Net result...you basically need to change it into what FIS/USSA and/or USASA are already doing......

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Initially, I was enthusiastic to go and then I spoke to a boarder who had gone in the past. He said the boarders ran dead last in the ruts and were basically ignored as it is primarily a ski event that allows boarders to participate.

Anyway, when did you run (on your board) and what were the course conditions like at that point?

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We've got a large rec-league team that races in a NASTAR handicapped league. We all want to go and would rather go to NASTAR than USASA given that we love to race, but also like the non-race events and group of people that go to NASTAR. Unfortunately, Utah is just too far away for us to make it a worthwhile trip, and then there are the issues of skier gates, course setting, and non-snowboard specific prizes. We all can deal with the gates and course set-up because we always do, but teice a year the league runs snowboard gates for everyone(much grumbling from the skiers) and we always close our raw times in by almost a second to the skiers. This is a lot considering our courses are on a 250 ft. hill with an 8 gate course. We all plan on going next year especially if its in Copper, so that will add 4 people to the 30-35 class, 1 to the 55-59 class, and some in the female classes.

Also, we have a few who've been to both NASTAR and USASA and they all said that the competition i nthe open class at USASA is better, but overall NASTAR was a better time and more bang for the buck.

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Hi Timinor,

Scott could answer your question better than I. I believe the race order is based purely on age, not apparatus. In my particular case I had the unique problem of having to be "two people" racing the same course at the same time (board and skis). Since I was racing unopposed on the board I asked and was given the opportunity to race first (before the women). Each day I only made one run on the board (you're scored on the best run of two each day) and then "beat feet" to change gear to get back up the hill for the ski runs where I finished in the middle of the pack - 10th of 21 in the expert ski category.

The competition organizers are very accommodating and receptive to suggestions. They would like very much to have a stronger snowboard contingent. I'm passing along all the suggestions I've received.

$trider - glad to hear some of you may be coming - especially one in my age group! I'll revive this thread next winter and see how many folks we can get to commit to going to Colorado.

One further request - I need some coaching!!! I'm self-taught and my "instructor" has run out of experience. Does anyone have suggestions for gate training in New England?

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1. The guy who had a 109 h/c going into finals was unaposed in his age group. Therefore, his "sit-down's" riding down CB's (a black diamond run) on his freestyle board did not keep him from qualifying for the finals.

2. Finals were run on PayDay (a green circle run) and the kid ran a clean run. I've got no beef, he did great, but if there were more snowboarders there, he wouldn't have been racing on Sunday.

3. Snowboarders ran first this year for each age group. I was the 4th or 5th rider out of the gates (yes, they were just 4x4 posts, but they seemed to work fine). I ran my first run ahead of all the skiers. My second run was in the ruts, but that just seems to be part of the racing game.

4. Snowboarders were ranked against just snowboarders for the qualifying rounds (of similar age/gender). In the finals, they called it "open class," the top boarder of each age group was ranked against the top telemarkers and disabled skiers.

Regardless of the h/c thing, the event is fun. The addition of best time awards is a step in the right direction. Come to think of it, I'm sure like most of you, I've been dealing with this type of snowboarder resistance for the past 20+ years. With a little persistance, we can get these guys thinking right too.


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The only reason I do it at Sugarbush is that it's the only way to train in gates of any kind, period - and I race Tuesdays with the "SKI club" (yes - I'm the only snowboarder). But I do get to chase Doug and Kelley Lewis down the course, which seems to be making me go faster and faster.

I'll echo some of the previous commments and add my own, that NASTAR needs:

1. Snowboard gates - I don't know about your mountain, but if a skier/rider takes out a gate here, there is nobody to re-set it unless a waiting person goes down and does it...it would seem that triangle gates would solve that problem AND be friendly to snowboarders.

2. Promote the snowboard end of things WAY more!

3. Have snowboard pacesetters.

4. Use a realistic handicap system - a true handicap is a measure of your overall racing results, not just the one single best run you happened to have during the year...possibly when the timing system malfunctions. I saw a rider ranked ahead of me who had 45 second runs all the time and then one day pulled a 20 second run out of his a** ...yeah right! Also, if the handicap system was a cumulative indicator, timing your self against a pace set by Doug Lewis wouldn't be different that timing yourself against Joe Schmoe pacesetter at Little Big Hill resort. (Sorry Joe and LBH, if you really exist).

5. Fold-away snowboard start gates. Easy to design. That way the riders use 'em and the skiers just fold 'em out of the way. They could attach to the 4x4 posts easily.

6. Put a twelve-foot rail halfway down the course - just kidding!


All that said - USASA is still the way to go if you're serious about competition!


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