Weston, MA- The weather in New England has been extreme and unpredictable this winter, however the snowmakers at the Leo J. Martin Ski Track made snow every chance they could to ensure snow for this year’s NENSA New England Bill Koch League Festival hosted by the Eastern Mass Bill Koch League Club. This past Friday, the temperatures where warm, and rain had started to fall, but the man made snow was sure to stick around long enough for the NEBKL Festival weekend.
On Saturday morning, skiers arrived and set up their tents in the “tent city” where music played, and everyone could get their face painted, glittered, and fake tattooed with the festival logo at the Nordic Adventure tent. During the day, the Nordic Adventure activities included orienteering, face painting, an obstacle course, tail tag, and tandem skiing. As the day went on, temperatures rose and the sun started to shine. The L.L. Bean Bootmobile arrived with fun L.L. Bean swag, and chances to get a picture with the famous boot! Everyone visited the Swix, Atomic and Fisher tents, the Green Mountain Valley School, Friends of Leo J. Martin and SKIDA who was there selling festival hats, buffs and headbands.
Man made snow had been blown overnight and had been pushed over the track for the days freestyle races. The relay races started with the grades 1-2 and went up through to the grades 7-8 before a break for awards and the Snowdance parade.
Bill Koch was on the club house deck to hand out awards to all the relay teams. Skiers grinned as they received their awards with their relay partners, and after the awards, everyone ran to get their SNOWDANCE theme costumes for the parade. The parade marched around the clubhouse, with representation from clubs in Disco outfits, snowflake costumes, reggae regalia, and other creative costumes.
After the parade Bill Koch stayed on the deck after the parade to greet skiers and autograph their bibs, hats and pictures.
On Saturday afternoon, there were freestyle sprint races for grades 3-8. This sprint course went off in waves of 6, giving skiers the experience of skiing in a heat, but only having to race the course one time. This was a very spectator friendly and fun race to watch!
That evening, participants gathered at the host hotel, the Embassy Suites Hotel in Waltham, MA for a pasta buffet dinner with two seatings, a fun photo booth, lots of socializing, watching the Olympics, swimming in the pool and riding up and down in the elevators!
Six inches of snow greeted skiers on Sunday morning for the individual classic races. The SNOWDANCES had worked, and it was fun to celebrate our love for snow together as a community! Grades 1-4 had their races during the morning, and after the sprint awards from the races the following day, the graduating 8th graders skied down into the stadium to receive a wooden memento as graduates and where Bill Koch handed out certificates to each graduate. Then they lined the finish of the lollipop course for the lollipop race. Lollipop-ers excitedly waited for their turn to ski the course, and on “GO” it was a scurry to the line, skiing down the tunnel of 8th graders who handed them lollipops as they went!
The sun shone brightly as the classic races for 5-8th graders rounded out the day on Sunday, with the award ceremony for the top 20 skiers in each gender. During the day on Sunday, skiers made ice-cream, played bean bag biathlon and other games, and tried out the obstacle course. There were lots of smiling, glittery faces, having fun on skis with their New England ski community!
This festival could not have happened without the Eastern Mass Bill Koch League as the host club with their many volunteers and organizers, and the event site the Leo J. Martin Ski Track. Thank you to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the oldest regional park system in the country-including the land on which the 2018 festival was held! Thank you to the Friends of Leo J. Martin Skiing, a non-profit organization that ensures that Leo J. Martin remains a vibrant home to Cross-Country skiing and other forms of winter recreation. Thank you to the Charles River Watershed Association for being race headquarters for the weekend, and to the Cambridge Sports Union which supports Nordic athlete development in Eastern Massachusetts for all of their volunteer support during the weekend.
We could not have had the weekend without NENSA’s Associate Sponors: L.L. Bean, Swix, and Nokian Tyres, and the Festival platinum sponsors Whole Foods Market, Thoughtforms, Bikeway Source, Ciclismo Classico, and McNeill Baur. Thank you to the Festival gold sponsors Caldwell Sport, Wachusett Mountain, and Windblown. The silver sponsors Jackson’s Honest, Clif bar, Green Mountain Valley School, Kroka Expeditions and SKIDA. The bronze sponsors Stratton Mountain School, Green Mountain Creamery, and Formaggio Kitchen.
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