Skiing is a sport and at its core is not competitive, but of course we all know that is silly.
Most of us in the Upper Midwest are 100% recreational skiers. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (which governs high school sports) does not sanction skiing but I know some high schools do offer competitive downhill skiing.
My high school did not offer any such opportunity. Still there is a competitive outlet for skiers here in the Upper Midwest and in fact,throughout the entire nation. That is NASTAR sponsored by Ski Magazine. I ski the gates a couple of times each year.
I do so not so much to try to prove I am a better skier than so & so but to gauge my skiing period. I like the focus required to ski the gates where your attention is no farther downhill than two gates down and it is cool to hear the guy on the timer announce how well (or not so well) I did.
I remember the first time I registered for NASTAR racing, though I can not recall how long I had been skiing. Riding up the chair after registering my brother warned me not to be too aggressive lest I lose it and zoom into the nearby woods (the NASTAR course at Ski Brule is on the edge of their Whitewater run). That first run down the gates I did take it tentatively but was surprised at how easy it was to ski those gates. The next run I medaled.
Very quickly, a certified skier runs the course after it is setup to set the course’s pace. Then depending on your time, age, and sex you earn one of three medals or you do not.
I can usually earn a bronze medal and have earned silvers before. I have yet to earn a gold medal and may have lost one due to a jerk who skied through the light beam while I was in mid-run. I had a real good run going and thought I did real good but had to ski over and did not ski so well that time.
If you are registered on NASTAR and ski in the Upper Midwest consider joining The Wisconsin Skiers club team and let us know here how your NASTAR skiing is going this year.