Posted at: 12/18/2012 7:32 PM
Updated at: 12/19/2012 10:52 PM
Thousands of alpine skiiers compete in NASTAR racing, but the best in the Midwest were at Spirit Mountain last weekend for the midwest championships.
"This is an opportunity for people in this part of the world to race against A.J. Kidd, our traveling pace setter, and also to qualify for the national championships," said Bill Madsen, NASTAR director of operations.
NASTAR allows skiiers and snowboarders to use a handicap system to race a downhill course. The fastest from each age group on Saturday got to compete in Sunday's race of champions.
Duluth native Courtney Wilk was at the front of the women's pack, and she's only 12 years old.
"I got first place in the raw timing. I had the best overall time, but for handicap I got third place," Wilk said. "I went over a steep part and I was worried because I almost missed that gate. I didn't think my run was going to be all that good, but apparently I guess it was."
Toby Reeck of Ellsworth, Wisconsin is a veteran competitive skiier.
"I've ski raced pretty much my whole life I guess," Reeck said." "When you don't go pro, you go to NASTAR."
But even he was surprised when he took first place.
"To be honest, I didn't think I did all that well," Reeck said. "When I saw that I had the overall time for the adults, I mean there are a lot of really good people that are older than me."
The conditions were rainy on Saturday with a windy chill on Sunday. But for NASTAR racers, it comes with the territory.
"Ski racers are used to being out in the elements. They're not afraid to tackle a little rain or anything else that's thrown at them," Madsen said.