Last week, NENSA’s rollerski agility ramps were a playground for over 200 individual skiers. From their home in Warren, Vermont the ramps flew south to Dublin, NH then on to Stratton, VT before making their way back north to Hanover, NH. The ramps’ creator, Competitive Program Director Justin Beckwith, traveled with them in the back of a pickup truck – spreading the fun and challenging style of agility skiing with him as we went.
The first ramps were built by Justin in August of 2018, as part of an effort to create a new breed of agility course that flowed well and let skiers experience new and challenging obstacles. Prior to the ramps, many agility courses were starting to include more jumping and dropping off of obstacles, while exciting, it had the potential to damage equipment and create sore knees. With the smooth and fast nature of the ramps, skiers learn many fundamental skills, perhaps most importantly how to pressure a ski in the push phase.
On Thursday August 15 (one year and eight days after their creation) the ramps showed up in the newly repaved Sun Bowl parking lot at the Stratton Resort. Shortly after their arrival 60 BKL aged skiers from SMS BKL camp showed up on skis or in vans. Justin led the skiers through a progression to build comfort and awareness on the ramps before turning the skiers loose to play.
That same afternoon after the SMS BKL session, Justin traveled to the Dublin School to pick up a ramp that the Dublin XC junior camp skiers had been making use of all week – jumping, flowing and flying through the smooth rollers.
Back in Stratton on Friday four groups of skiers were rotated through the agility course (included the first run of both bicycle ramps put end to end, a #megaramp of almost 70 feet) during the SMS Junior Camp. The final stop of this rollerski agility mini tour was Hanover, NH where Ford Sayre rallied skiers from their BKL, junior, and masters programs. They were joined by members of Dartmouth’s nordic team, as well as Hanover High School team members and parents.
You are never too old or too young to try something new. Many of the skiers who played on the ramps last week were doing so for the very first time. We had skiers on the ramps ranging from 7 years old up through 60+ years old!
The next opportunity to ski the ramps as part of an agility course will be September 14-15 in Lake Placid, as part of the Adirondack Rollerski Mini Tour. After that the ramps will make their way to New Gloucester, ME for the Maine Event on October 27.