The strength of the cross country ski community was exemplified through action last weekend with hundreds of young skiers participating in locally organized Mini-Fests whether with their club, a few clubs, their whole district, or their entire state! Many young skiers found the smaller event size and more relaxed atmosphere a comfortable environment in which to try racing for the first time. While not every Mini-Fest had a race opportunity, all the Mini-Fests had fun and engaging non-competitive activities. A big shoutout to the clubs and leaders that brought their enthusiasm and put in the work to make this all happen! Read on to learn a little about each unique event (in alphabetical order) and to view the BKL graduation slideshow.
Central VT Mini-Fest (Woodstock): Ford Sayre, Woodstock Nordic Runners, and Mt. Top BKL teams came together on Saturday, March 6th to celebrate the end of a very different nordic season. Even with predicted cold temps, the sun came out to warm the 64 participants as they raced, played games and went off jumps in the Terrain Park. The day concluded with an 8th grade graduation ceremony. The graduates skied through a vintage ski arch which symbolized their passage to the next level of their ski careers! We are grateful for the generosity of the Woodstock Inn Nordic Center, all the parents, coaches and volunteers for their help and of course for our youth skiers for keeping nordic skiing alive and thriving this season. Reporting from Gretchen Czaja.
Dublin BKL Mini-Fest (Dublin): The Dublin Fest featured a scavenger hunt and paintball biathlon, and wrapped up with hot cocoa and a raffle!
Eastern MA Mini-Fest (Leo J Martin Ski Track): The Eastern MA BKL club put together a really fun mini-festival for their kids this past weekend. Sunny blue skies and perfect corduroy greeted the two mornings of fun & games, including chariot pulls, a scavenger hunt, bean-bag biathlon, a downhill slalom run and a dance party complete with DJ! On Sunday, they did a really nice graduation for their graduating 7th and 8th graders – having them ski down the hill, flanked by the rest of the club, all their coaches, and greeted with giant lollipops by the athletes of CSU juniors, welcoming them into their club, and the next level of skiing. Reporting from Amie Smith.
Ford Sayre Mini-Fest: Friday night was the torch light ski, which is always a hit! Saturday we woke up to beautiful blue skies and a groomed out course!! Racers strapped on their skate skis and donned their sparkle for a couple of fast KMs. Afterwards groups participated in the NH scavenger hunt with NENSA NH native images, it was a HUGE hit!! Then there was noodle tag and an obstacle course!! Reporting from Kate Newick.
Great Glen BKL Mini-Fest: This fun club event featured a lollipop race, mixed medley relay, obstacle course, and ski to the Cabin for hot chocolate!
Holderness and Concord BKL Mini-Fest (Waterville Valley): This Mini-Fest had 88 skiers registered which was also a festival record. They used “Bob’s Lookout” on the Osceola Campground for their stadium and Waterville Valley was awesome in grooming around all of the picnic tables so that families could spread out during the day. They also hauled up a ton of firewood for S’mores and lunch use. There were the four individual start races with a fun double figure 8 agility run around all of the picnic tables at the beginning.
Maine Mini-Fest (Quarry Road Trails): The Maine BK Festival had the most participants from Maine at a Festival ever with 122 kids enjoying the outdoors, 71 on Day 1 and 51 on Day 2. The weather was fantastic, full sun, no wind and in the mid thirties. The races went smoothly and the Nordic Adventures were FUN. We look forward to all the states coming to Quarry Road Trails in 2022! Reporting from Caroline Mathes.
Northeast VT Mini-Fest (Craftsbury): Eighty kids participated from Stowe, Onion River, and Craftsbury BKL which is a record for a festival! This event featured a race, jump, scavenger hunt, and costume contest. Costumes ranged from Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Baby Yoda. The kids’ music selections throughout the day included Black Sabbath, three versions of the Stars Wars theme song, and Justin Timberlake.
Northwest VT Mini-Fest (Sleepy Hollow): Sleepy Hollow Nordic Center hosted an awesome Mini-Fest with 115 participants from Frost Mountain Nordic, Mansfield Nordic, Mad River BKL, and Sleepy Hollow BKL. The socially distanced event spread out the fun through the entire morning with new faces and skiers continually showing up. In good Vermont fashion, the race courses were challenging with a big hill that led into rollers, a jump, and a sharp corner into the finishing stretch where volunteers were waiting to hand out handmade wooden medals (woodals) to all. Besides the races there was also a Mini-Marathon, that included UnTapped waffles at the high point, and an “unnatural” trail where skiers could search for anything from stuffed animals to bright colored leaves to pints of Ben and Jerry’s. And it wouldn’t be a festival without costumes and flair so there were butterfly wings, tutus, capes, and more making appearances throughout the day. A big thank you to Sleepy Hollow and all the wonderful volunteers for making this event such a success! Reporting from Ida Sargent who is currently interning with NENSA and helping with the Mini-Fests. Thank you Ida!
NYSEF Mini-Fest (Mt. Van Hoevenberg): This event was open to all New York BKLers and welcomed 78 participants. Event activities included a race and orienteering, and all lollipoppers received a chocolate bear.