November snow has touring centers giddy with excitement for the 2019-2020 season. Indeed many cross country skiers are already sliding on their skinny skis throughout New England and ski areas have snowmaking operations underway. In response to last winters amazing season there are twenty-two races on the Zak Cup calendar, eight marathons and the increasingly popular New England Club Relay Championship. NENSA’s mission is to implement educational, recreational, and competitive programs at all levels to sustain a vital and active cross-country skiing community in New England — these popular races are the lifeblood of that community!
In the past NENSA has promoted these competitions with a focus on masters racers and Zak Cup competition — this year we aim to broaden our appeal to all ages and abilities of racers. Friendly competition between our masters population is alive and well — but there is so much more that is attractive about these events — from BKL age groups to recreational (or untimed) skis, to local sponsor support including tasty food and gear demos. There is no better time to visit a touring center than when they are hosting their local event, a time when weeks or months of effort have been spent to make the skier experience the best it can be!
NENSA’s programming revolves around supporting club structure — and getting together local groups to attend events that bring together the greater skiing community. All of our Zak Cup events are also scored to Club Cup rankings, giving all participants added incentive to join in the fun. Whether you are new to skiing or a lifetime competitor you help support your club and the events that celebrate our sport! This season will be the first time senior skiers (ages 23-29) will be included in Zak Cup rankings — with the aim of bringing more friendly competition to this age group.
Many of our events already have live registration pages and you can find those by clicking on the event names on the popular calendar — review the listings early and sign up for events you know you want to attend — your participation will draw in more participants and make these events thrive! Print out an event poster for your refrigerator or office wall. There are events in all states within New England (and New York) so you don’t need to travel far to find excitement — but you are encouraged to pick out new events and visit different venues. The races themselves vary in discipline and distance — including sprint, skiathlon, marathon, hill climb and downhill and everything in between. If you’ve never experienced the excitement of a mass start maybe you want to seek out one of those events — or join in a recreation category (many events offer untimed or shortened distances).
Racing action kicks off in Craftsbury in one month with a sprint on Saturday December 14th and the traditional Opener on Sunday the 15th. Jackson XC is hosting the Jackson Jaunt on December 29th giving you three opportunities before the new year. Racing continues in earnest in January with eight races listed in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts – including the One Day Club Championships in Jackson, NH now know as the Freeman Frost White Mountain Half Marathon. February brags seven events including the Craftsbury Marathon and AXCS Masters National Championships and Stowe Derby. March has five popular races and wraps up with Zak and Season Awards at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center on March 22nd.
We look forward to seeing you out there this winter — please don’t hesitate reaching out to NENSA or the hosting venues — Let it Snow!