NENSA is thrilled to announce Pennie Rand as the 2019 recipient of the Chummy Broomhall Award. This award honors Chummy, who was the Chisholm Ski Club leader for nearly 70 years, a two-time Olympian, and a builder of the race courses for Squaw Valley, Lake Placid and Black Mountain. He embodied the spirit of being a volunteer as he was a man who gave his time to generations. NENSA proudly presents this annual award to honor the unsung heroes of ski racing.
This year NENSA would like to honor Pennie Rand, of Richmond VT, for her limitless enthusiasm for our sport of cross country skiing, and her support to our NENSA programing and athletes, of every age.
Pennie infuses enthusiasm with everything she does – from founding and organizing five editions of the exciting Cochran’s Nordic Ski Cross, to making wild flower crowns for the winners of the annual App Gap Challenge rollerski race (and serving on the timing crew), to attending countless NENSA, EISA, and community events — LL Bean Adirondack pack on her back, camera in hand, and cheering as loudly as she can for each and every competitor!
Eli Enman of Sleepy Hollow has this to say about Pennie: “When I think of Pennie and the Nordic Ski Cross, I just think of all her energy, and love of skiing come bubbling through. She’s a great organizer, and she is awesome at pulling people in to volunteer to put on the most fun race possible. It’s also worth noting that the ski cross race is a sort of cross discipline event, with both Nordic and Alpine parts. This is reflected in her joy of all things skiing – with Pennie it’s all about getting outside on any type of equipment to enjoy winter. In short, she makes skiing fun and it’s impossible not to get caught up in her enthusiasm for the sport.”
Pennie is a native Vermonter from Middlebury and was the Vermont Skimeister Champion in both 1980 and 1981. She is a certified Nordic instructor and has led ski tours to Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Iceland. She is an alum of the University of New Hampshire where she was on the Nordic Team. Fitting of her well-roundedness, her daughters, Karin and Annavitte have competed both as Alpine and Nordic skiers — and it’s fair to say their “best day” is skiing together as a family with dad, Matt, in the woods where there is a combination of covering some serious ground and catching powdery schusses along the way!
In the 1990s, Rand was executive director of the Catamount Trail Association. She is a freelance photographer and an Alpine ski coach and starter for Cochran’s Ski Club. In 2014 she served as director of operations at the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe VT. Currently Pennie assists Molly Peters coaching the St. Michaels’s College ski team.
Pennie stared the Cochran’s Ski Cross seven years ago as an end of season event — the once local race, has now grown to become a regional phenomenon that draws a diverse field with top collegiate and club racers (including National and International Champions), juniors, masters and local legends of both XC and Alpine skiing. This past April, registration was closed after 200 athletes signed up!
While the Cochran’s event is a celebration of the season and the skiing community there is no doubt that skiing skills and racer mentality are being learned by all the competitors. Many chose to wear costumes to disguise their intents – but it’s fair to say all the racers give it their all in search of bragging rights or just to push their personal boundaries! And the woman behind this fun phenomenon is Pennie, who is right there in the thick of the action, making sure the event is top notch — starting the race all while while cheering for everyone (and laughing in her signature belly laugh)!
Adam Terko of Mansfield Nordic on Nordic Cross 2019, “The hype was real! And the participation and engagement for this type of sport is a big box you can check on the list of ‘why New England is the strongest region in the country.’ It’s not just our awesome access to trails, clubs, competition, and resources. It’s local events like this where community members like Pennie have a vision and are willing to put it all together to make something like this happen…and the ski community that comes out to shred when it happens!”
Our hats are off to Pennie Rand for helping push the level of skiing forward, and NENSA thanks her for all she has done for our sport!
Editors note: Pennie and Matt are currently in Iceland courting their mountain spirit – as it should be.
2019 Cochran’s Nordic Cross Video
Blog from Mansfield Nordic: Why Nordic Cross Matters