NASTAR National Pacesetting

Its official, the 2012-13 winter season has started with a bang! First, the Celebrity Skifest events, which were followed by the big three-day snowstorm that dropped enough snow to ski the Daly Chutes in Empire.

Most recently, I participated in the NASTAR pacesetting trials at Snowmass.  I go to the national pacesetting trials in order to get a handicap for Deer Valley’s NASTAR racing course. By doing this I can give handicaps to the race crew and I set the pace time every Saturday so it’s as if you’re racing against AJ Kitt who is the NASTAR National Pacesetter.

The NASTAR national pacesetting trials consist of three days of ski races, seeing old athlete friends and ski racing fans.  Of course there is a lot of skiing involved while we are at Snowmass, but there is also time to catch up and recap old time stories.

Bobkie

Bobkie at NASTAR

This picture is me with AJ Kitt, Bobkie (Aka Bob Roll, the Tour de France color commentator and long-time professional bike racer!), my friend Ivan and his son Nicholas. If you think I look as if I never skied before but that’s because I’m having too much fun and not thinking about skiing, my form or even my crooked goggles!

NASTAR Pacestting crew

NASTAR Pacestting crew

But of course, the best part of the pacesetting trials are the ski races and trying to set your best time. Each year, I am reminded that NASTAR is a huge part of skiing culture. It was great to see Ivan’s 10-year-old son skiing so well and enjoying watching everyone else. I can only image he was hoping that someday maybe he’ll be the fastest.

If you’ve never experienced NASTAR, come to race Deer Valley’s race arena at Silver Lake or to any NASTAR course at participating ski areas.  A full list and more info can be found at NASTAR.com.

You’ll get hooked and want to come to the finals with us in the spring! Race fast and most importantly have fun. Ski racing and the NASTAR program has blessed me with the best friendships and memories!

See you on the slopes!

Heidi Voelker’s 2010/2011 Season in Review

As we are approaching closing day this Sunday, April 10 I thought I should write about some of the highlights from this season. Always at this time of year I say, “I can’t believe how fast the season has flown by! It goes by faster and faster even after 14 years!”  Maybe it has to do with age? As my mom said, “as you get older each year seems to fly by faster, so you better keep up!”  Ah this is where my “pacesetting” comes from. Kudos Mom!

Well I’ll start in the beginning of the season but not necessarily going to stay in order of favorite highlights. I’m finishing my 14thseason at Deer Valley and since I can remember opening weekend we always have the Celebrity SkiFest. Most recently a made-for-TV race that benefits the WaterKeeper Alliance. This brings together TV personalities and former racers (i.e. the Phil & Steve Mahre, Tommy Moe, AJ Kitt and luckily  myself) for a weekend of ski racing and entertainment.  It’s a fun-filled weekend that raises money for a great cause and I get to visit with old (I use this term loosely) teammates. The “boys” can still ski and sometimes I can ski too. It’s always fun to reminisce and talk about the good old days on tour.  Still when I ski with all of them I’m in awe that I get to share the days with them but most importantly have them as friends. I must confess by being able to spend time with the great skiers listed above I still learn and try to bring it into my skiing.

We then moved into the Christmas season and my family starts to arrive for the holidays. Being the sibling that lives in the mountains I’m expected to have snow whenever they come to visit. Well Mother Nature certainly did answer their requests this year! Skiing with my family in the snow storms of Christmas and after was great. The snow was so deep at times for my youngest, I would tell him I had to stay behind him to make sure I didn’t loose him.

But one of my biggest memories this year will be getting first tracks down Daily Bowl after one of our February snow storms. I have had plenty of fresh powder shots but nothing will beat this. Maybe Heli skiing? I was with clients who were ready to seek out the best lines. We were riding up Empire Express chairlift looking over to Daily Bowl, no tracks? We were not first chair. I poked my head into the ski patrol house and asked if Daily Bowl was open? They said yes and I asked, “Why aren’t there any tracks?” They said nobody has cut the traverse. I guess we’ll do it. I must say the true meaning of  “no friends on a powder day” came out. As we enter the traverse to start plowing through the snow about half through there were three guys making the path. We stayed behind them until the opening then we all raced to the top of the cornice my group still with me. As we all peered over the edge to observe this untracked snow it was so pristine nobody was making the move even the skiers that cut the track. (By the way if you’re reading this… “Thank you”) I surveyed the situation and realized I was the only girl. I took full advantage of the situation and jumped into the bowl saying the “playground is open.”  To be the only one in such a big bowl was as good as it gets. It was so quiet. I came to the second pitch where I usually stop and regroup but nope, not on that day! There was so much snow it didn’t matter where you pointed them. As everyone else finished their epic run in the bowl, I announced at the bottom “That was so good I could be done for the season!”  (Or not…)

I also enjoyed bringing most my groups into X-files. If you don’t know where this is I can’t tell you. You’ll have to come ski with me or search back to a blog post by JF Lanvers earlier this season.  The best part of X-files is when there is a storm there’s still great skiing a few days after. As you see throughout the Deer Valley blog people talk about X-files. It’s intimidating to get to because you’re on top of all the Daly Chutes. But the best part is your nowhere near the cornice, but as close as you’ll get without actually skiing them. You traverse all the way over to our boundary and enter a beautiful gladded area. This area is intermediate. Why I like bringing my clients there? Because it makes them feel like they have accomplished a huge goal. They have! The approach and visual makes your heart beat a bit faster.

Another highlight this season was to watch my boy’s race. I didn’t get to watch them all season. I’m not complaining, just the way things worked out. I did plan to watch their last races. As they had some great year end races, people ask will they be ski racers. I just hope I can provide them with good tools to be gracious competitors and just want to ski with me especially when they come home from college.

The best highlight of the season was this was my busiest season yet!  This is a little like making a speech in front of a crowd. You’ll forget someone or something. So I’m taking this moment to say “Thank You to everyone, Deer Valley, my clients, my sponsors, every corporate group, press group, Powder Girls & Boys and Nastar that have come to ski Deer Valley”. We’ll see you next year and maybe more!

Cheers!