PARK CITY, UT- Two of the most well known brands in skiing, the U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR, are teaming up for a season-ending exposition of ski racing. “The Championships presented by Nature Valley,” a joint venture between the U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR, will feature 10 days of recreational and elite competition. The debut event was awarded to Colorado’s Winter Park Resort.
NASTAR is a longstanding recreational racing program at over 120 resorts nationwide, managed by the global leader Bonnier Corporation, one of America’s largest media companies and publisher of Ski and Skiing magazines. The Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships are produced by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Bonnier and the USSA are longtime partners, but it is the first venture to build a national showcase with the two traditional season-ending events.
The Championships will combine the traditional Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships together with the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships. The combined event is expected to attract over 2,000 competitors from recreational racers to Olympic champions from March 22-April 1. It will be the first time the events have been produced jointly, allowing recreational racers and the world’s best elite athletes to compete in a coordinated event.
“Both NASTAR and the U.S. Alpine Championships have great reach, but The Championships provides stronger growth and offers a consumer marketing opportunity with the potential to impact the 16 million sport participants in America,” said USSA Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. “This is the type of season-ending marketing pillar that can help to build real scale for our sport and a meaningful engagement opportunity for our partners.”
The season finale will feature the top U.S. Ski Team athletes like Olympic champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT). Ligety, who won his third Audi FIS Alpine World Cup giant slalom title last season, was recently named by NASTAR as an ambassador and spokesman.
The combined 10 days of action will be broadcast nationally on NBC, Versus (NBC Sports Network), Universal Sports and kick off with the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships on opening weekend. A new series of mutual participation events will bridge through to the Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships, which will continue during the week and into the second weekend.
Nature Valley has been an Official Sponsor of USSA since 1998 as well as the title sponsor of NASTAR since 2006.
“As a supporter of both recreational and competitive ski racing, we have long advocated for an event like this,” said Nature Valley Marketing Manager Scott Baldwin. “We are excited to work with two of our long-time partners, USSA and NASTAR, to deliver a true season-ending celebration of skiing, ski racing and all winter sports.”
“NASTAR takes great pride as an organization in providing inspiration for nearly 100,000 recreational ski races and their families,” said Johnny Alamo, Executive Director, Partnerships and Strategic Alliances for NASTAR. “The Championships will help us deepen our relationship with the U.S. Ski Team in making NASTAR an integral part of the next generation of ski racers.”
Started in 1968, NASTAR has remained an iconic fixture at resorts nationwide for over 40 years. Over 100,000 skiers and snowboarders participate annually. Participants qualify for the NASTAR Nationals through local results and qualifying events. The new joint event is expected to grow interest even higher. Top NASTAR finishers will also vie for an opportunity to train with the U.S. Ski Team at one of its South American on-snow camps each summer.
Winter Park Resort was selected by NASTAR and the USSA based on its past experience with both events and popularity with racers. It also offers the opportunity to both spread race courses around the mountain and to showcase the elite level U.S. Alpine Championships for spectators.
“Winter Park Resort has established itself as a world-class snow sports competition venue and we are honored to host The Championships,” said Gary DeFrange, President/Chief Operating Officer at Winter Park Resort. “Hosting events like this, along with this new level of partnership with two remarkable brands, allow us to showcase the diverse capabilities of Winter Park Resort on the national stage.”
The announcement was made at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s annual Partner Summit in Park City, with over 150 Team partners on hand for a planning workshop for the coming season.
The schedule for the 10-day event will be released shortly.