70-Year Old Man Dies after Hitting Pole Whilst Racing Friend on NASTAR Course at Deer Valley, UT

Steven Agar | | Industry NewsIndustry News
deer valley
Deer Valley, UT. Credit: Deer Valley

A 70-year-old man sadly died after hitting a pole during a ski race at Deer Valley Resort Friday, KSL reports.

The man was racing a friend on the NASTAR race course at the resort Friday about 12:30 pm when he hit a pole towards the end of the course, according to Emily Summers, Deer Valley Resort senior communications manager. The pole was part of the standard race setup, Summers said.

AirMed was called to the scene to transport the man to University Hospital. It was not immediately clear if he died at the hospital or en route.

The man was from Colorado and was in Utah for a skiing trip with friends, according to Park City Police Capt. Phil Kirk.

Although officials have yet to release the man’s name, a friend of the victim identified him as Ken Portz in a Facebook post on Saturday morning.

“We are very much in shock but already feel a profound sense of loss. Ken, you will be sorely missed!” Michele Perrin Gustafson said in the post.

NASTAR stands for NAtional STAndard Race and is the largest public grassroots ski racing program in the world. Founded in 1968, NASTAR gives recreational racers an opportunity to compete and compare their scores to friends and family regardless of when and where they race using the NASTAR handicap system.

man dies, racing, nastar, deer valley, utah
NASTAR public race course. Credit: mountsouthington

NASTAR was developed by SKI Magazine in 1968 and now boasts more than 100,000 races at over 100 resorts around the country.  Racers are scored with a handicap system that provides participants with a tangible number, or handicap, that represents their ability against U.S. Ski Team athletes and pacesetters.

Today, NASTAR is operated by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association.


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