(Last Updated On: October 8, 2014)

What’s better than having a job that allows you to ski every day?  Perhaps it’s having a job hosting ski races every day!  If this sounds like a dream come true, then meet Dean Lippert, one of the NASTAR Pacesetters at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Dean Lippert, NASTAR Pacesetter

Dean moved to Breckenridge twelve years ago, after retiring as a firefighter in Arlington Heights, IL, near Chicago.  Dean recalls his first ski trip to Colorado as a college freshman, and from then on he was hooked.  He and his buddies visited Breckenridge each year for an annual ski trip.

So how’d he get the cool gig as a NASTAR Pacesetter and what is NASTAR?   Dean started skiing when he was 16 years old, following his brother around a small mountain in the Midwest.  When he moved to Breckenridge, he was working off the mountain with Gary Morseman, another NASTAR pacesetter.  NASTAR is the acronym for the NAtional STAndard Race and is the largest public grassroots ski race program in the world. After hearing what a great job Gary had, Dean decided to give it a try himself.    The first couple of years, he joined the competition department at Breckenridge Ski Resort, and helped with local races for Team Breckenridge.   Dean attended training clinics where he learned about course setting, gate distances and all the other things that go into setting up quality races.  About 5 years ago, he moved into pacesetting for NASTAR, which he describes as “just plain fun”.

Dean and the staff at Breckenridge Ski Resort set up and take down the race course each day.

And it does sound fun!  According to Dean, a typical day for him starts in the morning with maintenance and set-up of the race course.    Much of this is done with a focus on safety, such as installing netting along the side of the race course.  There is constant maintenance of wiring and timing mechanisms, and then………the FUN begins!  As Dean describes it, the best part of his job is how much fun he has.  There is a large clientele of regular racers, who Deans knows by name, and Dean enjoys giving tips to those trying to improve their skills.  Breckenridge has a wide range of skiers who participate in NASTAR, ranging from youngsters to those that are, well, let’s just say they are still young at heart.

And thanks to Dean, Gary, and all the other staff that work at Breck, NASTAR just announced this week that Breckenridge was named the Top NASTAR Course this season.  Breckenridge earned the top honors by having the most participation nationwide and it’s no wonder, with how friendly all the staff is up there.

When Dean is not setting races, his favorite runs on the mountain are Cimarron, a “neat cruiser with great rolls and pitches” on Peak 10, or Way Out, located off Chair 6, “in fresh powder with its wide open glades”.  His favorite local hangouts are Blue River Bistro and Breckenridge Brewery, both of which he enjoys visiting with friends.  And how does Dean know what is going on in town?  That’s easy, he says with a laugh….he asks his wife, Laurie.  Laurie works at the Breckenridge Recreation Center and according to Dean, she’s always in tune with what is going on in town!

Jenise Jensen