FUN. ON. SKIS. This year marked the third Stratton Terrain Challenge and by all accounts it was the best yet! The event is the brainchild of Steve Bruner of the Stratton Nordic Center, Stratton Mountain School coaches, the Putney Ski Club and the West River BKL. While run as a freestyle race it hearkens to the roots of traditional skiing — gliding through the woods on two planks. And of course there is the new school vibe of jumps, gates — and as many in the open race found out — an artillery of snowballs!
This year’s Stratton Terrain Challenge was so special many kids and adults didn’t want to leave. Adding to the special atmosphere was the awareness that Jessie Diggins and Ben Ogden were contesting the World Cup Sprint in Goms, Switzerland at the same time. Honorary starter, Sverre Caldwell, reminded the kids how special that was — as many of the local skiers happen to know the two superstars who train in the summers right on those very trails.
The snow conditions were perfect for a event that is by design imperfect — a fast surface with crusty traces allowed for dynamic skiing and the speed to enjoy many features. Throughout the morning families would skitter from one intersection to the next cheering on friends and rooting for their love ones.
These type of events are much more than races — hay bales, fire pits, lively music, raffle prizes — all things that energize our community! We are so fortunate for our forward thinking partners across the region. If you missed the 2024 Terrain Challenge — a little plug for the Mansfield Nordic Skiathlon @ Sleepy Hollow tomorrow — we can’t wait to see what finishing features Eli Enman and company have in store!
If you want to feel like a kid again — make a point not to miss the 2025 Stratton Terrain Challenge. We also owe additional thanks to Steve Bruner for nurturing this gem of a trail network in Southern VT.