NASTAR stands for the NATional STAndard Race and Pacesetting is the bond that holds NASTAR together. Each NASTAR resort or club must have certified pacesetters set the par time, or the national standard for each race. Once the par time is set, every racer earns a handicap based on their performance. The system allows NASTAR racers to compete on different mountains and compare their skills.
Ryan Cochran-Siegle (RCS) is NASTAR’s national pacesetter and the zero handicap. Because RCS is busy racing on the World Cup circuit, we have a number of U.S. Ski Team alums that represent Ryan at the Regional Pacesetting Trials. NASTAR’s regional pacesetters earn their handicaps racing against Ryan and each resort and club pacesetter earns certified pacesetting handicaps at the regional pacesetting trials. Resort and club pacesetters use their handicaps to set the par time for NASTAR races at their resorts.
The NASTAR handicap simply represents the difference between Ryan’s time and any NASTAR racer’s time expressed as a percentage (e.g., 15 handicap = 15% behind RCS’s time).
Here is a look at the stable of NASTAR pacesetters that will be setting the pace at races where your local pacesetters will earn their pacesetting handicaps.
NASTAR’S National Pacesetter and zero handicap is another member of the famous Skiing Cochrans. Ryan Cochran-Siegle’s mother is 1972 Olympic slalom gold medalist Barbara Ann Cochran, which also means he’s cousins with a handful of other former U.S. Ski Teamers including Jimmy Cochran. But this Junior World Champion didn’t make the Team by family attrition; he did it with fast skiing at every level. Good news: his elevator is just getting off the ground floor. In 2016, Cochran-Siegle made his World Cup giant slalom debut and four races later, scored his first giant slalom points with a 30th place at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. The 2019-20 season has seen RCS become a World Cup point scoring machine. He has scored points in Downhill, Super-G, GS and Parallel and hold a top 20 position in the Overall World Cup Standings.
A talented artist as well as a ski racer, Laurenne Ross is one of the most dynamic athletes on and off the snow with incredible talent on violin, piano, guitar, vocals and as a visual artist. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Ross cut her teeth at a small local hill but headed to the Canadian Rockies on weekends, where she raced her Dad (a former alpine racer) to the lodge. A creative to the core who is a seasoned vet when it comes to creating both visual beauties in the classroom and beauty in the form of arcs on the snow, the only question now is just how much more beauty Ross can create as she finds her consistent home back on the podium.
Olympian Tommy Ford is one of the fastest movers in ski racing. The U.S. Ski Team took notice after he locked four gold medals at the 2006 U.S. Junior Championships. Ford went on to score World Cup points in his rookie season and then grab a spot on the 2010 Olympic team for giant slalom. In 2018, he kicked it off with a bang, landing his best-ever World Cup top 10 and it was onward and upward from there. During the 2019-19 season he has put together a string of impressive World Cup GS results which ranked tenth in the World. He started the 2019-20 season with a bang winning the Birds of Prey World Cup in Colorado and headed to Europe with the red bib for leading the GS standings.
As a Lake Tahoe native, Marco learned to ski on some of the most legendary terrain in the world. With 16 years on the U.S. Ski Team under his belt, Marco has competed in five World Championships and is a four-time Olympian. Marco has traveled with NASTAR to various Pacesetting Trials, hosted Regional Championships events and he has become a recognizable pacesetter at the NASTAR National Championships.
A Minnesota native, Claire Brown grew up racing under the lights at Buck Hill before joining the University of Denver Pioneers eventually going on to take home 24 career FIS wins. At the University of Denver, she earned NCAA All-American honors and helped her team win two National Championships. After graduating with a degree in finance and marketing, she relocated to Park City and now enters her eighth season as Publisher at Ski Racing Media.
Three-time Olympian and World Cup alpine ski racer, Andrew Weibrecht, grew up in Lake Placid, NY racing on the nearby Whiteface Mountain. Nicknamed “the Warhorse” for the way he attacks the mountain, Weibrecht’s speed, control and astounding edge angles landed him on the podium in Vancouver and Sochi. His medals are on display at the family-owned hotel in his hometown. His love of ski racing continues as he coaches the Dartmouth ski team and attends various NASTAR events throughout the season. In the summer, Weibrecht enjoys fishing, golfing, mountain and road biking.
Aspen local Wiley Maple grew up racing with the Aspen Valley Ski Club. He and his Aspen High School teammates earned a High School State Championship in Colorado. As a speed skiing specialist, Wiley went on to win two U.S. Alpine Championships in Downhill. He sustained numerous injuries during his career but he always came back determined to return stronger as faster. His determination earned him a spot on the Olympics team where in competed in PyeongChang. Wiley is a passionate skier and enjoys coaching kids during the winter on skis and on mountain bikes in the summer months.
There are more than 100 resorts and clubs that host NASTAR races across the country, and each has a group of pacesetters that earn certified pacesetting handicaps at the Regional Pacesetting Trials. Pacesetters race the course each day to set the Par Time, or the time RCS would have raced the course had he been there that day. By simply dividing a pacesetter’s time into their handicap we get the Par Time.
When you race NASTAR you are racing against RCS and his Par Time. The handicap you earn is the percentage your time is behind RCS’s time (e.g. 25 handicap = 25 percent behind RCS’s time).
The NASTAR handicap system gives ski and snowboard racers a simplified system to gauge their ability and to monitor their progress throughout the season. NASTAR racers can compare their race results to other competitors, and they earn a ranking at the host resort after one race. When three races are completed on three different days participants can compare themselves to other racers in their state of residence and nationally regardless of when and where they race.
The NASTAR National Championships are set for March 24-28 in Snowmass, Colo. Participation is open to the public. More information can be found on their website.