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When Mikaela Shiffin blazed across the finish line of the Giant Slalom .13 seconds ahead of longtime rival Lara Gut-Behrami to nab her 83rd victory in Kronplatz, Italy yesterday, the 27-year-old racing phenom became the winningest female in World Cup history, smashing Lindsey Vonn’s record. Now two wins away from racing legend Ingemar Stemark’s 86 World Cup wins after yet another victory in Kronplatz today (Jan, 25), the Colorado native who trained on the slopes of Vail is stoking the competitive fires of young skiers across the country.
To celebrate this historic event—and help inspire the next generation of ski racers—Ikon Pass parent company, Alterra Mountain Co., is opening up the NASTAR courses at its resorts so all skiers can experience what it feels like to bash gates and sail across the finish line like a U.S. Ski Teamer.
Throughout the rest of the season, the race courses at Utah’s Solitude Mountain Resort and Deer Valley, Calif.’s Palisades Tahoe, and Sugarbush Resort, Vt., will be free and open to all skiers with a current pass or day ticket.
The newly crowned Queen of Skiing is all in on the partnership, recalling her salad days of racing against her family and friends. “Some of my earliest memories on skis were at the top of a NASTAR course with my parents and my brother,” Shiffrin said. “For me, and for many of my teammates, this early exposure to ski racing helped ignite a lifelong passion for this sport.”
NASTAR, which stands for National Standard Race, offers recreational racers a chance to compete at over 100 NASTAR courses across the U.S. using a standardized handicap system, so no matter where you race or who you compete against, you get accurate results on where you stand. (NASTAR is owned by SKI’s parent company, Outside Inc.) Anyone who wants to push out of the start house like Shiffrin or Hahnenkamm third-place winner Travis Ganong need only check in at the top of the course.
“Mikaela’s not just a champion, she’s also a role model and inspiration to us all and we’ve been fortunate to have her as an Ambassador of Ikon Pass since its inception,” said Alterra Mountain Co. President & CEO Jared Smith. “Making these courses available to more of our guests is the perfect way for us to share our amazement for what she’s accomplished while exposing even more people, young and old, to a truly unique on-mountain activity.”
For Shiffrin, who has several big competitions ahead of her, including the 2023 World Championships in Courchevel in February and the World Cup Finals in Soldeu in March, it’s about much more than setting new records. She called her partnership with Alterra an attempt to overcome some of the barriers to ski racing, as well as “an incredible way for me to help give back and expose even more people to the thrill of competing on the slopes.”
Readers who want to get in on the action can test their Mikaela knowledge in a trivia quiz; get more than 83 percent of the questions correct and you’ll be entered to win one of three gear- and frills-laden prize packages as part of Alterra’s “Celebrating an Icon” contest. The swag on offer includes a set of two 2023-’24 Ikon Passes, three nights’ lodging at an Alterra destination, oodles of high-end gear, and a signed poster from Shiffrin herself. The content is live. For all relevant info and content rules, click here.