Skiers gathered at the Stratton Nordic Center on a sunny morning for an event full of adventure, obstacles, and fun! It was the first time the crew at Stratton put on the Terrain Challenge and they did not disappoint.
Dozens of Bill Koch aged skiers gathered for the early morning races. They were started by Sverre Caldwell, who seemed to be having as much fun as the racers. The first and second graders had a particularly good time with him as he challenged them with all sorts of false starts, eventually giving them the elusive “GO.”
The Bill Koch racers navigated one to four times around a 1km loop full of challenges, like slalom gates, saw horses to duck under, and hay bales to barrel roll over. Of particular spectating interest was the wall of hay bales 100m from the finish. Each skier had a different approach to getting over them, some stepping, some rolling, some crawling, and some trying to jump.
Once the Bill Koch races were done, the high school and adult racers had their chance at all the fun. The adult 6km course included all the features of the 1km, breaking away after 500m, then winding uphill until the course suddenly dived off the groomed trails downhill on single track lines. After a few seconds of old school exhilaration, skiers returned to the groomed trails, for another climb, followed by more single track and flowing groomed downhill action, interspersed with unexpected turns, bumps, and jumps. Matt Boobar who was in charge of course set up, said “it’s a lot like a cycle cross race, with smooth flowy and technical sections.” When asked if the course was anything ski Ski-Orienteering courses, Alex Jospe responded with a big smile.
It was not your typical cross country ski race. The whole event had a playful tone. There was a piece of candy awaiting all the racers at the finish – everyone got to feel like a lollipop racer. Parents and participants in other age groups hung around and cheered on every racer, some even got to cheer on their parents. Costumes and fun hair dos were also part of the day. Steve Bruner of the Stratton Nordic Center said “this event was awesome – we can’t wait to do it again next year!”