By Jake Bright
The American Ski Race Alliance (ASRA) held it’s National Championships at New York’s Belleayre Mountain March 10 – 13. The events included a training day, competition in slalom (SL) and two days of giant slalom (GS) racing culminating in the popular GS Final. Traveling from as far as Maine and Virginia, over 100 racers of all abilities between the ages of 9 – 86 participated. ASRA’s Championship GS is notable as one of the longest on the amateur circuit, giving the experience of World Cup competition in the need for inspection, technique, and tactics. Run on Belleayre’s Dot Nebel trail, with several sections of rolling pitch to straights, racers clock in at a minute or more.
ASRA started in the 80′s in the PA/NJ area with the aim of bringing together local club skiers for racing, recreation, and fun. The program has since grown to include competition throughout the Northeast, with age group awards and an overall season points system. ASRA races are open to everyone and participants range from those just getting into racing to top Alpine Masters skiers. “We work to give experts a chance to climb to new levels and beginning racers the opportunity to mingle with and learn from ‘top dawgs,’” said ASRA Founder John Foy.
Dasha Zamolodchikov and Andrea Occhi took ASRA’s men’s and women’s seasonal points titles. Dasha also took the SL title for the women, with Joe Sulpizio winning the men’s SL. Elizabeth Mezetti and Andy Barnett won the prestigious GS final. “I’m really psyched about winning the ASRA Finals. It’s great for all levels, because we are broken into ability categories. When I started, I was in a lower level. Always competing against people my level allowed me to improve incrementally to get to where I am today, while always having fun along the way,” said Barnett.
ASRA’s next season kicks off in late 2011 with race camps and the first competition beginning in December.
The Finish of Dot Nebel.
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Jake is a young professional, freelance writer, and ski racer in New York City.