THE CHAMPIONSHIPS WINTER PARK 2012
FROM THE SLOPES OF ASPEN TO THE
HEART OF AMERICA, TOWN RACING
LEAGUES BRING TOGETHER RACERS
FROM 4 TO 85 YEARS OLD By Susan Theis
Ever heard of the Mother Buckers? How about the Samurai Squad?
Or perhaps you know Team YBC — as in, “you’ve been chicked.”
These are just some of the teams that are part of Minnesota’s Ski
Challenge. With 1,900 athletes and 15 races a week at three different
ski areas — Buck Hill, Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area, and Wild
Mountain — the program is one of the largest ski leagues associated
with NASTAR in the country. While the average Ski Challenge racer is
41, the youngest is 4 and the oldest is 85 years old.
The Ski Challenge was created in 1985 to give adults a competitive
outlet, similar to a softball or bowling league. However, what sets the
league apart from its counterparts in other sports is the opportunity to
qualify to compete against professionals and world-class athletes in their
sport. That happens at the NASTAR National Championships, which will
be held this year at the end of the month at Winter Park.
Each Ski Challenge league includes 10 to 16 teams with up to 10 racers
each. A championship race at Minnesota’s Giants Ridge, where teams
get the opportunity to compete against other teams of similar ability,
closes the season. Individual scores are sent into NASTAR for each
participant to gain a national ranking.
“It gives people a chance to get out and work on their skiing in the
Midwest,” explains Ski Challenge owner Barb Everson. “I’ve had many
people tell me if they didn’t participate in the Ski Challenge they probably
wouldn’t ski. And it gets them to commit, they have to go because their
team is counting on them.”
SKI CHALLENGE; RANDAL ZOELLER
The Ski Challenge’s oldest racer,
Mike Stone: still got it at 85!
Kristin Grebe, Barb Everson, Kelsey Cater, Alice Madden,
Judy Woellner, and Kerri Gueher gather at Buck Hill.