For many in Central New England Saturday morning started with a gray dawn — the beginning of a second meltdown of a so-far-mostly-forgettable snowpack of a winter — but as one climbed and twisted their way into the hills of Pomfret, Vermont they found a surreal sight. Perfectly placed amidst deep snow, full snowbanks, and just enough parking spots – a ski race was being staged that had the atmosphere of a familial afternoon cookout. Bob Haydock’s trails have always greeted skiers of all ages — 228 this year to be exact — with rolling and challenging single track terrain. The timing of the event could not have been better for the 2020 edition, with ample snow to ski on throughout the day, yet unseasonably warm weather that had many racing in short sleeves or even shorts. A mere twelve hours later and the event would not have been possible.
Before we recap the racing action at the Bogburn – we want to introduce this weekends upcoming citizen racing options under the perhaps the most aptly titled event of the weekend – the “Race for Snow.” For the fourth year in a row, Madeline Kitch and her high school friends in Boston have led this ski race to draw attention to climate change – this year’s addition drew the attention of Bill McKibben. Listen to a thoughtful message from McKibben here.
There are two Zak and Club Cup events including Sunday’s – 350.org Race for Snow in Boston – and Monday’s 47th Annual Geschmossel Classic at Bretton Woods – both of these races need a positive report on Thursday to pull off the events (stay tuned). Don’t be discouraged – every effort will be made to host these races. There are also two alternate events on man made loops, the Silver Fox Trot hosted by the Rikert Nordic Center Saturday and Craftsbury Team Sprints on Sunday. Have no fear – you will have the opportunity to ski!
While the weather and snowpack hasn’t been predictable the depth and resilience of New England’s skiers is unmatched. The Bogburn brought together skiers from big clubs and small clubs alike — with a morning filled with Bill Koch races, from first time racers to spandex clad chargers. In fact the numbers for Bill Koch skiers have been at a record high for the last two years and that is a great sign for our community. The afternoon was filled with well over a hundred adults striding around the trails. With temperatures hovering around 5o degrees racers were testing sticky klister combinations, zeros or even skin skis – all yielding similar results with a singular glazed track around most of the course and sticky, easier to grip snow on the sides of the trail. Skiers had to be patient with their kick and smart about how they poled as there were small holes and punchy sections — for some of the late starters a few corners had broken fragments of pole as added obstacles.
Dartmouth skiers, Molly Gellert and Cameron Wolfe, set the pace of the day in the women’s and men’s races completing the 13km course in 50:38 and 45:11 respectively. Emily Stitt a former Middlebury Panther and Luke Costley a former Williams Eph set the pace for the Seniors (23-29 years of age) – this is the newest class we are recognizing in Zak Cup scoring for 2020. It’s great to see talented skiers continuing to train and compete or balance some competition with giving back and coaching with local clubs – the seniors are the masters of the future!
Speaking of masters, it was a star studded field with Adam Terko (Mansfield) M1 and Neal Graves (Stowe) M2 taking spots in the top-10 overall. There were men in every age category from M1-M8, but it was senior skier, Chris Burnham of NWVE, who now has three races and stands atop the Zak overall rankings. The women’s race had skiers from the M2 – M6 age groups with a powerful masters trio of Kathy Maddock (Dublin XC), Elissa Bradley (Ford Sayre) and Sara Graves (Stowe) taking the top-3 spots on the day. Sara Graves who is now one of two women with three starts takes over the overall Zak lead from senior skier Anna Bizyukova of UVM.
Although there was strong representation by Dartmouth, Ford Sayre and Mansfield Nordic – NWVE continues to surge to the front of the Club Cup scoring starting of 2020 just how they left of 2019. You can check out complete Zak and Club Cup rankings here.
So the only real question is where are you skiing this weekend?!