Locals shine at NASTAR | SteamboatToday.com

Locals shine at NASTAR

Steamboat residents win in 16 divisions

— More than a thousand skiers from around the country flocked to the Steamboat Ski Area for last weekend’s Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships.

But when the racing was over, many of the newly crowned national champions were those who claim this mountain valley as home.

“It’s just a lot of fun, everyone should do it,” Steamboat’s Carolyn Chotvacs said. “It’s more laid back than a USSA race, but it’s still very competitive.”

Chotvacs, one of 16 skiers from Steamboat Springs who won their division last weekend, raced to the top of the gold division for skiers between the ages of 15 to 16. It was the second straight year that Chotvacs, a member of the Steamboat Springs High School ski team, has won her class.

This year, she had to overcome rain, slush and holes that formed in the course en route to winning her class. But she survived them all to successfully defend the title she won in 2006.

“The conditions were pretty tough,” Chotvacs said. “It was much harder than last year, but it was still a lot of fun. Sure I’ll do it again – as long as it’s somewhere close to home.”

This year’s NASTAR championships drew 1,400 racers to Steamboat Springs for three days of racing. The events opened on Friday and Saturday with racers going against the clock to set the fastest time in their division. The racers were given two runs each day, and their times ranked among their own group. On Sunday, the top racer in each class returned to the Steamboat Ski Area for one more run in the Race of Champions. This was a handicapped event where the racer had a chance to compare their efforts to those in other classes.

When all the points were tallied the skiers representing the Steamboat Ski Area won the overall team title with an average point total of 9.2. Copper Mountain was second with an average of 8.8 and Schweitzer Mountain Resort was third at 8.7.

Steamboat skiers winning their own division included Paley (female 13 to 14, platinum), Jill Lambek (female 45 to 49, gold), Patti Zehner (female 60 to 64, silver), Annecy Hillmuth (female 9 to 10, telemark), Moe Sweet (female 13 to 14, snowboard), Jamie Letson (male 45 to 49, gold), Connor Bernard (male 13 to 14, silver), Ben Paley (male 15 to 16, gold), Kris Hagenbuch (45 to 49, platinum), Tyler Theis (male 11 to 12, platinum), Danny Elkins (male 17 to 20, platinum), Roy McKinstry (male 45 to 49, telemark), Ray Heid (male 65 to 69, telemark), Tom DeGroff (male 55 to 59, telemark)

In all, more than 70 racers represented the Steamboat Ski Area at the event.

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