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Ski racing grrl Emma Starner to compete in NASTAR Nationals

Emma Starner, a 7 year old Grand Rapidian will be competing in NASTAR ski racing in Aspen/Snowmass this week.
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Follow Emma Starner's winning ways

Follow the progress of 7-year-old ski racer Emma Starner by following her mom Lisa Rose Starner on Twitter at @LisaRoseStarner.

Emma Starner, ski racer

Emma Starner, ski racer /Lisa Rose Starner

NASTAR racing badge

NASTAR racing badge /courtesy of NASTAR

A silver medal for Emma

A silver medal for Emma /Lisa Rose Starner

When she leaves the gate to bomb down a ski hill, Emma Starner growls. This tiny blonde haired, blue eyed 7-year-old girl ski racer has a fierce attitude and a developing ski racing talent. She’s taking her skills to Colorado this week to see how she stacks up. Starner, a second grader at Collins elementary school recently qualified to compete in the National Standard Race (NASTAR) National Championship ski races in Aspen/Snowmass starting March 22.

That grrrr sound she makes at the gate?

“Yep, it helps me go faster,” says Starner.

This is her first year of racing.

“But, I’ve been skiing for three years,” she says.

“Racing looked like fun. I just wanted to do it. My mom got a teacher for me so I could practice, first,” says Starner. That practice race lesson went well. “I didn’t hit anything or crash,” she says.

After a winter of weekend races at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Starner qualified for the national championships. The collective Crystal Mountain team of skiers (combined all ages and genders) is ranked 32nd of 210 resort teams.

“In a day I could race like five times,” she says. All races are not the same length, but are on the same hill. “Sometimes they make it a shorter course, sometimes longer.” 

She shows a gold medal she won.

“I won it on the long track. It was the best day of my life,” says Starner. When asked how good she thinks she is, she’s confident.

“According to this gold medal think I’m pretty good,” she says.

She usually competes against five to six kids in each race. Girl ski racers are rare and according to her mom, Lisa Rose Starner, there aren’t a lot of young role models for Emma Starner.  

“I know it's still not perfect, but hopefully, by recognizing and investing in my daughter's own talents and dreams I can help remove some of those gender barriers that may have been in place (real and imagined) for me as a kid,” says Lisa Rose Starner.

At the national championships she’ll be competing against kids in her age group from across the US. “I’ll be wearing my pajama pants and a tee shirt, under my jacket. I don’t want one of those racer suits,” she says.

When she’s racing she thinks good thoughts, she says. She claims never to get scared but doesn’t like the feel of the ruts made by snow grooming machines.

“I’ve never fallen,” she says. When she does though, she has a plan: “I’ll get straight back up.”  She’s counting on winning a medal in Aspen/Snowmass.

“If it is a long course, a silver or a bronze,” says Emma Starner.

“Even though she is just seven, I see a woman who is fearless. I admire her for her bravery and courage. And I want her to kick some ass,” says Lisa Rose Starner.



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