The 2019 rollerski season saw growth and increased involvement from clubs throughout the Northeast and beyond. Although the conclusion of the Series was a disappointment — with the cancellation of two of the final three races — it is clear that NENSA’s developing programming is helping fuel excitement and out of season competition regionally and nationally. We owe a huge shout out to our key sponsors — High Peaks Cyclery, the 2019 Series sponsor, and prize sponsor EnjoyWinter.com, including Swenor the official rollerski for the 2018 and 2019 season — their support makes these programs possible!
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The App Gap Challenge kicked off the Series with a festival-like atmosphere. In just three years the event has tripled in size, this year there were 174 competitors who challenged the steep climb up the east side of Appalachian Gap. The event drew skiers of all ages and abilities — from an untimed “touring” division to U.S. Ski Team athletes. After the event there was a BBQ with live music and awards for the event and year-end NENSA awards. It was a beautiful day with friendly competition, community gathering and fun!
The second event of the Series took skiers to Lake Placid, New York where competitors had the choice of competing in three separate events of the Adirondack Rollerski Mini Tour. This full weekend of events again brought together skiers with diverse abilities from a wide geographic area — and due to the aforementioned cancellation of two events — ultimately determined our overall Series winners.
Many skiers chose to compete in all three events with a 3km prologue, a 1.5km Cross Country Cross (XCX) on Saturday and the famed Climb to the Castle on Sunday. Start orders for Sunday were determined by placement in the Doubleday – making for some gamesmanship in the hill climb. High Peaks Cyclery opened the doors to their guide house Saturday night allowing for early bib pick up and a fun social scene complete with beer and s’mores!
In what ended up being the last race of the Series – skiers from Maine and several clubs from throughout New England – The Maine Event went swimmingly for the second year in a row with a wet but inspired crowd. Competitors were greeted with two-times the features of the 2018 event and a course designed with a refined mindset – trying to create more flow and speed than previous versions that focused more on agility.
Before the rollerski competition, a running race and a Learn to Rollerski clinic were added to the festivities in an effort to make rollerski competitions more attractive to a broader audience. LL Bean was on sight with SkiErg competitions and the famed, Bill Green’s Maine did a spot on the NBC News! Bates, Bowdoin and Colby Colleges made up the majority of the field for the event and the Colby Mules were able to secure enough points to win the Marty Hall College Cup in it’s second year. Complete results from that contest, which included skiers from twelve institutions, can be found here.
Overall numbers for the 2019 are not representative of the popularity this evolving program is garnering and despite the cancellation of two of the bigger events nearly 300 unique skiers participated in the Series (169 juniors, 74 open and 43 masters). As we head into the future NENSA is looking for new partners to host events — and we are excited for the rollerski tracks being built at Mt. Van Hoevenberg and Craftsbury. With the inception of XCX we are also able to perform fantastic events in non-traditional ski settings — if you live in a town or city that might be a potential venue please reach out directly to NENSA. Rollerski events in New England have spurred other divisions to create events and we look forward to further collaboration with these organizations.
Although rollerski competitions are primarily a training tool for many of our clubs they are after all competitions and there were standout performances by athletes in all age groups. Our Series criteria was amended to rank skiers by their best placement in two of six performances due to the shortened schedule. You can find full rankings here. Our open competitors were vying for $2000 of prize money donated by Kathy and Marty Hall ($500-1st, $300-2nd, $200-3rd).
1 – Zoe Williams – ENRG/Nakkertok
2 – Nina Armstrong – NYSEF
3 – Lucy Hochschartner – St. Lawrence
1 – Luke Brown – USBA
2 – Kyle Bratrud – SMS T2
3 – Zane Fields – USBA
1 – Ava Thurston – Mansfield Nordic
2 – Shilo Rousseau – Barrie Cross Country
3 – Rose Clayton – Mansfield Nordic
1 – Jack Lange – Ford Sayre
2 – Erikson Moore – Fondeurs Laurentides
3 – Ben Milley – Nakkertok
1 – Kathy Maddock – Dublin XC
2 – Emily Cartwright
3 – Sheila Kealey – Ottawa
1 – Tyler Magnan – NWVE
2 – Michael Gaughan – Mansfield Nordic
3 – Joseph Iwan – Poland