On April 2nd over 250 skiers came together for an encore performance at Cochran’s Nordic Cross. Skiers from age five to 71 took to the challenging-terrain-filled course at the Cochran’s Ski Area in Richmond, Vermont in front of a roaring and supportive crowd. Some of the features were so large they could be easily seen from the the interstate as competitors arrived. It had been four years since the event had been staged, due to the pandemic. Costumes, families, and the smell of bacon, pancakes and maple syrup filling the air make for a truly celebratory vibe we rarely see during the winter months.
Past winner, and the current top U23 in the world, Ben Ogden was the talk of the town — with kids and adults alike waiting to see his speed, daring descending and aerial skills. But the field was much more diverse than that — with members of the skiing community from every walk of the NENSA community and beyond. The day started with BKL’ers shooting out of the Fox Start (halfway down the slope) in pods of five, an exciting format that is also used for the adults. In the adult field we saw high school racers, club and collegiate ranks, many coaches, a Technical Delegate, alpine racers (some National Champions), Nordic Combiners, biathletes and one of our favorite announcers taking part!
Carter Clark Photos — Dave Priganc Photos
While the Cochran’s race was not a part of our Popular Race Series it clearly highlights an activated community of adult skiers — many who were stalwarts in Zak Cup and Club racing. 61 of the 211 finishers in the adult race where over the age of 30, another 71 where between the ages of 20 and 30 — the event clearly appeals to this demographic, which NENSA so dearly wants to keep engaged! Our hats are off to Pennie Rand and the Cochran Ski Area for all they do to make skiing accessible and FUN!
Popular Racing Sees Encouraging Growth
NENSA has made a concerted effort over the past two years to support Popular Racing, by encouraging widespread participation and offering increased support to venues and race organizers. As we wrap up the season we are pleased to report growth: over 20 events this winter we saw 2781 race starts compared to 2021/2022 with 17 races and 1877 total racers.
During 2023 Zak Cup events NENSA encouraged and supported age group recognition of Masters of all ages.
Last week we highlighted Craftsbury as they mounted a huge effort at New England Relay Championships to win the season long Club Championship. One look at the Ranking Page shows impressive depth to Eastern club structure, with over fifty clubs attending ten or more events throughout the season! NENSA and Bullitt Timing also highlighted clubs on individual weeks with Eastern Cup Team Standings (EC #1, EC #2, EC #3, EC #4) — these scores highlight different ages and genders for each weekend.
Zak Cup competition was healthy this season with nearly 200 members scoring points in the Overall Rankings (Men, Women) over thirteen races. In an effort to automate scoring and provide increased value to NENSA members, only current members were scored this season. We highlighted the top-3 skiers in each age group who partook in Zak Cup racing at the NE Club Relay Championships, with each skier receiving mugs for their accomplishments. (For those who weren’t present at our season end celebration NENSA will make plans to get you your mug to you via a club representative or directly via mail in the coming weeks.)
Zak Cup Men – Overall
Zak Cup Men – Age Group
Marathon Challengers Men
Zak Cup Women – Overall
Zak Cup Women – Age Group
Marathon Challengers Women
We send a huge thank you to all of our venues, organizers, volunteer and you the skiers for making this winter so special. NENSA is making plans for the summer, including rollerski races, camps and coaches education — stay tuned!
Marathon Racing and the Marathon Challenger Award perhaps saw the biggest growth with the return of a full schedule with seven events of multiple distances. A record umber, 27 men and twelve women completed three or more marathons, with nearly 700 total participants throughout the winter. Marathon Challengers will receive a LL Bean headband this season.
Event Planning and Bid Sheets for the 2023-2024 Season
Speaking of planning, every spring NENSA puts out for bids for the next year, which flow along with National schedules. Next week we will formally introduce this bid process — however many organizers like to get their information in early. Please click the links below for Popular and Eastern Cup bids.
2023-2024 Popular Race Bid Sheet