The 2021 rollerski competition season ended with back to back weekends — November 7th NENSA hosted our first Greylock Hill Climb and on the 13th we hosted the third NENSA Invitational in Stowe. Both events saw 100 registrations with competitors from all reaches of the Eastern Region. With a little weather luck (hosting rollerski races in November can be dicey) and a lot of preparation, the events went off without a hitch — the competition and camaraderie were palpable and the and there is serious stoke heading into the winter season. It’s NENSA’s goal to build on this enthusiasm through our Popular Race Series this winter with added promotion of events and increased staff presence.
The Mt. Greylock Hill Climb was a collaborative effort with the Lenox High School and Berkshire Nordic Ski Club. The venue is stunning, climbing up an undulating mountain road for eight miles, with stellar views along the way and a finish at the highest point in Massachusetts. There were participants and spectators that remembered fondly the days when Bill Koch would race up the mountain — they were all in disbelief because they couldn’t remember being on top of the mountain with bright sunshine and no wind — especially in November. Skiers could choose a short or long course and participants ranged in age from 12 to 87. Of note we had 20 masters skiers in the field, with Chris Stock and Gabriella Frittelli taking away “Masters Champion” checks and $150 in cash from Pastimes, the Outdoor App.
Open Women’s Podium:
1 – Katherine Ogden, SMS T2/USST
2 – Julia Kern, SMS T2/USST
3 – Alayna Sonnesyn, SMS T2
In the end, the women’s race featured a duel between SMST2 teammates Julia Kern and Katherine Ogden, with Julia taking the early lead, while Katherine surged in the later half to eek out the win by 4.1 seconds. Four SMST2 teammates (including Lina Sutro), put on a display of athleticism for much of the course — skiing in such unison they resembled a speeding locomotive. Alayna Sonnesyn faded slightly in the closing kilometers, yet held on to third place.
Open Men’s Podium:
1 – Ian Torchia, SMS T2
2 – Bill Harmeyer, SMS T2
3 – Jacob Jampel, Williams College
In the men’s race a blistering pace was set by SMST2 skier Ian Torchia to the Jones Nose Gate, creating a gap that would be enough to secure the victory on the day. His SMST2 teammate Bill Harmeyer, used a steadier pacing approach to nail down second place. A strong early performance by Jacob Jampel to the Jones Nose Gate was enough to hold off his Williams teammates for third place.
Junior Girl’s Podium:
1 – Evelyn Walton, EMXC
2 – Sofia Scirica, EMXC
3 – Molly Blakslee, Williams College
The junior women’s race saw steady pacing from EMXC’s Evelyn Walton to first place. Behind Walton, her teammates Sofia Scirica and Clara Lake were only separated by a few seconds at the Jones Nose Gate. Molly Blakslee, from Williams College took the third step of the podium.
Junior Boy’s Podium:
1 – Tabor Greenberg, Green Mountain Valley School
2 – Jack Lange, Stratton Mountain School
3 – Quinn Wilson, Williams College
In the high school boy’s race Tabor Greenberg of GMVS got off to an early lead 15 seconds ahead of Stratton’s Jack Lange. Lange surged in the later half, matching Greenberg’s pace but couldn’t close the gap, finishing second behind Greenberg. Another late surging skier, Quinn Wilson of Williams College slotted into third.
After a three year hiatus, NENSA returned to Stowe, Vermont and the Trapp Family Lodge to host the NENSA Invitational Rollerski Race. The event was designed in 2017 to give NENSA Elite and Development Team members an opportunity to race head to head before the snow season — it was also paired with a Winter Kickoff party with the National Nordic Foundation. Over the years the event has had its share of inclement weather, and also some additions to the scope of its field. The third running this past weekend had it’s share of mixed precipitation — but it was by far the best weather timing — including a few of the competitors sneaking out for their first snow ski of the season on Sunday… The 2021 edition included juniors and masters from throughout the region, but also Middlebury, Harvard, St. Mikes and University of Vermont skiers.
Open Women’s Podium:
1 – Julia Kern
2 – Caitlin Patterson
3 – Alexandra Lawson
In the women’s race, final starter Julia Kern of SMST2, left the gate with the intent of setting the fastest pace. By 7.5km and the turn onto Luce Hill Road, she had caught Craftsbury GRP’s Caitlin Patterson who had started 30 seconds in front of her. Patterson showed her strength by matching Kern stride for stride up the 2.5km climb to the finish, which was strong enough performance to secure second on the day behind Kern in first. Meanwhile GRP skier Alexandra Lawson put in a steady performance over the first 7.5km, then set the fastest split up the 2.5km climb to secure 3rd place, only 4.6seconds behind Patterson.
Open Men’s Podium:
1 – Adam Martin
2 – Ben Odgen
3 – Ian Torchia
At the front of the Men’s race there was back and forth between UVM’s Ben Odgen and GRP’s Adam Martin. Ogden set the early lead, but by 4km Martin had closed the gap and pulled ahead by 10 seconds at 7km. Not long after, Martin had a ski malfunction and instead of calling it a day, he ran the final climb with his poles. Amazingly he still managed to throw down the fourth fastest split up the climb and held on to first by 4.2 seconds over Ogden in second. SMST2’s Ian Torchia, starting a little slower, had the fastest closing split of the day, gaining 9 seconds back on Odgen, finishing just 16 seconds behind Martin in third.
Junior Women’s Podium:
1 – Kate Oldham
2 – Annie McColgan
3 – Haley Brewster
In the junior women’s race there was a dramatic change of order in the final kilometers. UVM’s Haley Brewster set a strong early pace, leaving her teammate Annie McColgan and Middlebury’s Kat Oldham trailing. In the final climb, Oldham turned on the after burners, surging to the top of the podium. Meanwhile McColgan also surged, narrowly beating out Brewster by 0.4 seconds for second place. Brewster hung on for third.
Junior Men’s Podium:
1 – Aidan Burt
2 – Jack Lange
3 – Carl Kellogg
UVM’s Aidan Burt had a solid performance, particularly on the flatter portions of the course, to hold on to first in the Junior Men’s race. Stratton’s Jack Lange was 13 seconds behind in second, with a very strong showing on the final climb. Middlebury’s Carl Kellogg rounded out third, 12 seconds behind Lange.