We continue to forge ahead into a winter of change. Many regions have created local solutions to reduced travel and number of competitive events able to be held. We remain strong and committed to keeping our community as safe as possible during a pandemic. We also realize that this comes with understandable frustration, especially for many of our junior athletes. Please read on for the latest updates of whats happening and where we are headed.
It’s also a great time for all to review our New England Cross Country promise and be fully familiar with the resources on our Covid Considerations page. The pandemic is playing out with tremendous force – perhaps stronger than many of us could fathom – and the only way to get back to normal is strict adherence to these guidelines.
The Rodrigues Cup
The Craftsbury Outdoor Center was able to host a Vermont Cup for 124 athletes last weekend. The first U.S. Ski & Snowboard sanctioned event in Vermont for the season was further testament to the protocols and participant adherence to NENSA and state guidelines. Bullitt Timing is proving to be an invaluable resource to our community – allowing for touchless timing and precise data management. Competitors were separated throughout the day in 25 (or less) person cohorts keeping distance between individual groups, and embodied the states motto of, “arrive-race-leave.” These protocols will be practices in any Eastern or Vermont Cups we are able to host this winter.
Ben Ogden of UVM and SMS T2 set the pace in the men’s race covering the 8.8km course in 22:10 despite the constant suction of the zero-ski conditions. Juniors, Finn Sweet (Craftsbury GRP) and Brian Bushey (GMVS) continue to push each other and the pace of US Junior skiing, taking second and third respectively.
Alayna Sonnesyn, SMS T2, was thrilled by the last minute opportunity to jump in a race. New guidelines produced just last week in Vermont now allow for adult competition in snow sports. She topped the field with graceful and powerful skiing with a time of 25:47. Alex Lawson and Margie Freed, both skiing for the Craftsbury GRP were second and third.
In the U16 Boys field, Fin Bailey of SMS took the victory with a time of 12:42 for the 4.4km course. SMS teammate, Wyatt Teaford was second just 19 seconds back and Leo Circosta from Craftsbury was third.
Virginia Cobb from Mansfield Nordic topped the U16 Girls field with a time of 15:32. Ten seconds back, in second was Miley Bletzer of SMS followed by Julia Thurston from Mansfield.
Eastern Cup and FIS Racing
NENSA and the Gunstock Nordic Association have made the difficult decision to cancel the Eastern Cup weekend slated for February 6th & 7th — the joint decision highlights the priority of keeping our communities safe. The remainder of the schedule is currently moving forward as planned. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work to provide the highest quality races. There have been many questions about “Bibs & Chips” — these will continue to be sent to larger clubs, or picked up at venues in a sealed bag at the first event an athlete is able to attend. Please note there are no spectators at any of these events and coaches, volunteers and officials all must complete registrations, pre and day-of health screens. Registration pages will open much closer to the events than normal and all will close at 5pm on the Wednesday before the event.
Craftsbury has calendared a FIS race, The 2021 Kendall Cup, on January 30th. The event will boast generous prize money made possible by Kathy and Marty Hall and also have master racing opportunities. That race will also be scored to the Zak and Club Cup Series which has season-long prize money of $5000, $3000 and $1000 as a part of the A Hall Mark of Excellence.
Citizen racing has been greatly reduced by the pandemic and associated state guidelines. However through Virtual Challenges and in-person events our skiers have already logged 63,794.85 kilometers – that’s 1.5 times around the earth, and it’s only January!
Upcoming events include a self-recorded version of the Freeman Frost White Mountain Challenge, beginning on the 23rd and running for nine days. The above mentioned Kendall Cup allows for a racing opportunity for Vermont based masters on January 30th — and the winter long Virtual Craftsbury Marathon is open to all. Gunstock has moved its Zak Cup event to February 7th – allowing an in-person race event for many New England athletes. The student led Race for Snow also provides a race experience for all and has a wonderful environmental mission.
Enjoy the Snow – Stay Safe. We hope to see you out there!