A knack for speed | VailDaily.com

A knack for speed

NWS Henry Hayden DT 1-26

BEAVER CREEK – Look for Henry Heaydon in the Winter Olympics – maybe around 2026.The 4-year-old from Sydney, Australia, won platinum and gold medals at the Nastar racing course in Beaver Creek last Monday. In his first race ever, he ended up doing better than his parents or grandparents have done.”He’s the first in our family of three generations to get gold, let alone platinum,” said Craig Heaydon, Henry’s dad.

Henry and his family are some of the many visitors who race for fun and bragging rights at Beaver Creek’s Nastar race course, underneath the Centennial Express Lift. Beaver Creek was actually the busiest Nastar center in the country last year, logging 12,673 racer days.Nastar, which stands for National Standard Race, was started by SKI magazine in 1968. Since then, more than 5 million skiers and snowboarders have raced in the program.At Beaver Creek, racing costs $8 for two runs or $10 for unlimited runs. Skiers can also time themselves on the lower, shorter course for $2 per run. The courses are open to all ages every day from early December to April. Racers can check their times and ranks at Nastar.com.Vail Mountain also has a Nastar course.

“People can get really into it,” said Katie Keane, who works at the Nastar course at Beaver Creek. “It’s fun, easy to do and you can go online and see how you rank against people across the country.”Keane, a former competitive racer, is also a pacesetter for the race course. A pacesetter races the course every morning to determine approximately how fast it is running for the day. The national pacesetter is U.S. Ski Team member Daron Rahlves – if you’re a 15 handicap, that means you’re 15 percent slower than Rahlves.A platinum medal means you’re in the top 5 percent of racers. Gold means you’re in the top 20 percent. You can also get a silver or bronze.Henry raced again Thursday and got a silver to add to his collection.

“We’re hoping once he’s in school he’ll be part of the ski team,” Craig Heaydon said.Henry has been skiing since he was 2-1/2. He is set to start kindergarten next week in Australia – he’s is now on summer vacation. His family has been coming to Beaver Creek for 13 years and spent a month here this year.Henry has a simple reason for why he likes to race.”Because I get to go fast,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or estoner@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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