We keep using the word miracle to describe many of the events we are having despite a challenging start to winter for the East Coast. Perhaps what stood out the most about the 2023 Bogburn was a robust, indoor awards in the Rikert Outdoor Center’s Barn. Over one hundred BKL skiers and their families gathered in a way we haven’t seen in quite some time — to honor both participation and outstanding performances — with a rustic podium background humbly displaying Olympic bibs from past Middlebury skiers.
The Bogburn is a beloved event and the life’s work of Bob Haydock — however this year, and perhaps into the future, Rikert jumped at the offer to host as there was no considerable snow in Pomfret. Rikert’s new manager did some research and helped retain the character of a simple track passing through the woods. Despite the stark difference of racing on manmade snow — the course had beautiful undulations and several opportunities for two-way traffic. The balance of new and old school was struck perfectly.
As many know, the day is designed to accommodate skiers of all ages, starting with BKL skiers: 1-4, 5-6 and then 7-8. After the “big” kids went, it was Lollipop time! Despite no registration or expectations, quite a festive clump of children amassed at the start area like clockwork — and many of the parents shared proud smiles as they acknowledged the experience of raising the next generation on trails that they used to compete and train on themselves. Haydock then took his bullhorn into the barn to acknowledge every skier, including medals for the top three in each age group and a coveted Skida hat for the winners.
Like any good event the show kept rolling outside with juniors and masters out trying the track and their first true klister race of the year. At 12:30pm the action kicked up with over a hundred skiers tackling four laps of a demanding, yet playful two kilometer loop. Athletes were seeded as so the fastest skiers could clear the track before the majority of the masters field was on course. Savvy skiers erred on the side of kick versus glide, allowing for effortless climbing with good grip — it also provided a unique and sometimes humorous experience for much of the field as they navigated a tight 180 degree turn at the lap lane.
A huge thanks to the Haydock Family and the staff of Rikert for pulling together an outstanding event and having the vision to carry this New England gem into the future.