Apr 18, 2012 • By

Nature Valley hits the slopes

I was at the U.S. Alpine Championships last month in Winter Park, Colo., representing Nature Valley. What a great event!

Before the racing began, I had the opportunity to ski some runs with Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman, both on the U.S. Ski Team. Skiing with them was an incredible experience; they were both kind enough to stop several times on each trail to let me catch up. They are so confident and smooth on their skis – watching them on TV is nothing compared to actually experiencing the speed at which they fly down the mountain. I was in awe!

The Championships were presented by Nature Valley – a joint venture between the U.S. Ski Team and NASTAR – two of the most well-known brands in skiing.

They featured 10 days of recreational and elite competition in a season-culminating extravaganza of ski racing. The events attracted more than 2,000 competitors from recreational racers to Olympic champions from March 22 to April 1. It was the first time the events were produced jointly, allowing recreational racers and the world’s best elite athletes to compete in a coordinated event.

The event kicked off with the Nature Valley NASTAR Championships, where some of the best recreational skiers from across the country came together to race.

Competitors aged 1-91 (!) lived the Nature Valley brand promise of “Enjoy Nature” while out in Winter Park – from racing the course to exploring the trails, to making Nature Valley S’mores with their family.

Nature Valley team members were on hand to talk about the brand, distribute granola bar samples and get the crowds excited about the events. Here, Scott Baldwin, associate marketing director, welcomes NASTAR competitors to the Championships.

Picabo Street, 1998 Olympic gold medalist, was even on hand to meet the competitors and cheer on her niece (who is a NASTAR racer!). Here is Picabo with her newest fan, Nature Valley Associate Marketing Manager Travis Wells.

The Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championships also featured top U.S. Ski Team athletes like Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn. Athletes competed in all four skiing events: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G. The best and fastest racers from all over the country descended on Winter Park to compete – it was an incredible weekend.

Here is a picture of the brand team with Lindsey Vonn, after her race.

On a final note, it was great to hear such talented, up-and-coming racers talk about their love for the Nature Valley brand both on and off the slopes.

One of the most memorable moments of the trip for me was when two racers’ dads approached the Nature Valley tent to thank the brand for all of the support over the years.

In their words, “Nature Valley supports us, so we support Nature Valley. We are so thankful for everything you do for the sport of skiing – we bring your bars with us everywhere we go. We love Nature Valley!”

Now that’s a brand champion!

Editor’s note: NASTAR is the acronym for the NAtional STAndard Race and is the largest public grassroots ski race program in the world. More than 95,000 Nature Valley NASTAR participants compete throughout the season to win platinum, gold, silver and bronze medals in their age and gender groups. In addition, participants are ranked in their ability group and the top ranked racers qualify to compete in the Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships.