The U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR recently named Winter Park Resort as the site for The Championships presented by Nature Valley, a season-ending ski racing bonanza from March 22 through 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.
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.
The season finale will feature the top U.S. Ski Team athletes like Olympic champion Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah. 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 event will be broadcast nationally on NBC, Versus (NBC Sports Network) and Universal Sports.
The combined 10 days of action will 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.
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.
NASTAR is a longstanding recreational racing program at over 120 resorts nationwide, managed by the Bonnier Corporation, one of America’s largest media companies and publisher of Ski and Skiing magazines.
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.
The Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships are produced by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). 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.
“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.”
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.”