NASTAR draws ski racers of all ages

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Officials of Mountain Sports Media said Monday that they plan to bring more than 1,000 recreational ski racers to Steamboat Springs in March for the NASTAR National championships.

The championships also will be held at the Steamboat Ski Area in 2007.

"There's little doubt that Steamboat will prove to be a tremendous host," Bill Madsen said. He is director of resort operations for NASTAR. "The resort and the town itself have a great ski racing heritage."

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said she's struck by the wide range of ages found in NASTAR racing.

"Last year they had skiers from 3 to 86," Thomsen said. "What other sport can say that?"

Four-time Olympic ski racer A.J. Kitt will be in Steamboat during the championships to ski with the citizen racers.

NASTAR establishes a time penalty system that puts skiers of all ages and experience on relatively equal footing and allows them to compare their performances to those of some of the very best ski racers in the nation. Skiers qualify for the championships based on season-long rankings in their respective age groups.

During the 2004-05 ski season, more than 94,000 skiers and snowboarders logged 515,000 starts at 119 ski areas.

In March 2005, the NASTAR National Championships attracted 1,071 competitors from all over the United States and Canada to Park City Mountain Resort.

Lyndsay Young, representing Steamboat, placed eighth in the women's competition.

NASTAR (National Standard Race) is a program of SKI Magazine. Mountain Sports, a Time Warner company, operates SKI, Skiing Magazine, and Warren Miller Entertainment, among other ski industry-related enterprises.

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