Click HERE to read and enjoy! December racing updates | NENSA’s 2020 Club of the Year Award | Year End Giving | Women’s Day postponed to 2/21/21 | BKL Youth BINGO in full swing | December Club Virtual KM Challenge reaches 10,000 km’s to date
Club of the Year: This award is given annually to honor a NENSA club that is making great strides in supporting the NENSA mission to sustain a vital and active nordic skiing community in New England.
Our NENSA 2020 Club of the Year is Holderness Nordic!
When NENSA hosts an Eastern Cup at Holderness School we know it will be both an outstanding and an inclusive event. The Holderness Nordic race organizers encourage high school racers to join, who typically may have never skied in an Eastern Cup before, as well as also having a robust Masters participation. Holderness Eastern Cups always include BKL races, and in the past few years, they have made a wonderful CXC (cross country cross) course with fun jumps, bumps, gates and tunnels to ski through, even incorporating one of those jumps into our Eastern Cup loop as an option for the older skiers! The Holderness School and the Holderness Nordic Club are intertwined – the coaches, trails, the whole infrastructure – and this full community support shines brightly at every event they do!
The Cheri Walsh Memorial Eastern Cup race, always held in February, and historically, our final race of the season, has also been the spot where NENSA typically names our Junior National Team. Holderness Head of School Phil Peck and Holderness Nordic Club Leader Peter Hendel always make sure that there is a fun raffle, filled with lots of great prizes, for ALL participants racing that day, as a fun and inclusive way to keep the celebration going before naming the New England JN Team.
“Holderness always embraced the concept of making a ski race a Festival — recent terrain park additions to BKL and top-junior racing naturally complements the vibe of their events — and helps guide XC Skiing into the future.” Justin Beckwith, NENSA Competitive Program Director
But their commitment to the Cheri Walsh Memorial Eastern Cup race is not the only reason that Holderness Nordic Ski Club rose to the top of our NENSA Club Award nominees this year. Holderness Nordic has it all – the staff, the support of the entire school community, and fun “old school” trails. But they are also looking to the future with a new John Morton homologated 2.5k loop and sprint course, snowmaking, and lights all coming to fruition this coming year, thanks to the generosity of an alum. The goal is to still keep the trails playful and fun to ski on!
Holderness Nordic embraces their love of cross country skiing in everything they do. This New Hampshire club of about 30 BKL & middle school athletes and 20 high school athletes has a lot of history surrounding it, and the folks running it. The coaching staff, led by former U.S. Nordic Team Coach Pat Casey, is also remarkable. Current coaches include Olympian Kristina Joder Casey and NENSA trustee Peter Hendel. Head of School Phil Peck, who was also a World Cup skier and Olympic coach, makes time to ski with the team when he can as well.
Fall Training 2020
Thirty-seven years ago Phil Peck came to Holderness from coaching with the US Team. He wanted to coach young athletes and also teach. The only school in the country he wanted to work at was Holderness because of the balance of academic and snow sports excellence. Phil was blessed to coach with wonderful coaches like Dennis Donahue, Steve Gaskill, and Peter Hendel. One challenging snow year during the late 80’s Holderness hosted 3 Eastern Cup Races, the Nordic Combined Championships, and two college carnivals.
While Phil moved out of coaching at Holderness to become head of school 20 years ago, Peter Hendel has never left the program and has been the “quarterback” of 30 Cheri Walsh Memorial Eastern Cup races. Before Peter started teaching and coaching at Holderness, he led the club’s Bill Koch program. Now, in “retirement” Peter is the culture keeper of Holderness Nordic. He works with their remarkable Bill Koch Club coordinator (and Holderness graduate) Molly Whitcomb and Frosty Whitworth to support the BKL program and robust middle school program. Peter also assists the terrific Director of the Holderness Nordic Program, Pat Casey, AND he is the assistant groomer. Peter is the behind the scenes force who has given tirelessly of himself to the Holderness school and Nordic Club Program for almost 40 years.
Kristina Casey describes Peter as, “A dream – gentle, kind, gets everything done – he has such a passion for the sport”
Phil sums it up well saying, “Peter Hedel is a rock star. He loves coaching and is super excited about the middle school coaching he is now doing. Peter does not want any attention – he wants to serve.”
Coach Peter Hendel going over some logistics with his team
For the last eleven years, Peter has supported the Holderness School Nordic Head Coach Pat Casey. The Nordic program at Holderness School has a long tradition of producing world-class athletes, and Pat has been an incredible asset to that program. He and his wife, Kristina, have been especially impactful in their outreach to the local community. Working with Molly Whitcomb, they are providing training options for Holderness Nordic Club members, especially middle school and high school, year round. Pat has also played a pivotal role (working with John Morton) in helping Holderness envision how they can transform their playful “old school” trails into a world class facility that still has that Holderness feel. These new trails, and the snowmaking will all be in place for the opening of the 2021-22 ski season.
Coach Pat Casey (center) with Holderness School coaches Disney and Duran
Phil Peck comments, “What I love about Pat is that he is so capable – as a coach and leader. He is unpretentious. As the saying goes – confidence is grounded in humility – Pat exudes that! He has a huge work ethic, never draws attention to himself – it’s all about the kids and making the program better.”
Kristina Casey talks fondly about her husband Pat and Peter Hendel’s working relationship, “They work so well together – they admire each other SO much – it’s business, but it’s not. They are both psyched to being doing what they are doing”
Phil on Peter & Pat as a team: “They energize each other! Peter is continually growing and learning new things – they feed off of each other in a really positive way”
Congratulations to Holderness Nordic, your entire coaching staff and community for being the NENSA 2020 Club of the Year! Holderness Nordic truly is a community and a family affair. Here’s to your incredible past and to your future! Thank you from all of us who have benefited so greatly from your club and your events over the years. We can not thank you enough, and we can’t wait to get out and ski on those new trails a year from now!
We have moved Women’s XC Ski Day from Sunday January 24th 2021 to Sunday February 21st 2021. Our priority is keeping everyone as safe and healthy as possible, and we believe we will have a better chance of hosting the whole event in each state, and that our events will be safer, if we postpone by a month. We are also keenly aware that such an event is not possible right now in Vermont and we are waiting to see how those regulations change. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding as we navigate this uncertain winter!
We still have space available for Vermonter’s in the Woodstock event, and if you’re based in Massachusetts, Maine, or New Hampshire, you can add yourself to the event-specific waitlist under registration.
We also want to let registrants and future registrants know that, thanks to UnTapped, we will be offering pre-packaged Maple Chai Waffle snacks at Women’s Day this year! And don’t forget about the fuzzy LL Bean flannel shirt also included in registration…
We’re less than a week to the first day of winter, and despite challenges, there are options for skiing — not to mention a nice little Nor’easter is about to clip much of New England! Please be safe out there folks – stay local – and help us maintain the health of not just our skiers, but all the communities we visit. If you feel off – DON’T GO.
Quarry Road Opener
The amazing crew at Quarry Road Trails and Ski Club pulled off another successful Opener – with races for all age groups spread responsibly throughout the day. There were 99 registered racers – who navigated health screens and did a great job abiding by mask mandates (a 2020 reality). The Opener also kicked off our Zak Cup competition, providing the first on-snow-in-person event for the the 2021 season. Check out flyingpointroad for stellar photos of the event.
Zak and Club Cup
Zak and Club scoring look a little different this year with accommodations to provide competitive experiences for all, with a focus on getting clubs active throughout the season. Zak Cup rankings have been updated for the first time this season and we have some clubs really getting after it in the December Club KM Challenge. We’re recording overall kilometers skied throughout all the events that will score for the overall Club Champions – incentivized by the A Hall Mark of Excellence award money. We’re about to break 10,000 kilometers halfway through December. There are a smaller number of events this season due to COVID complications – so get planning and figure out how you will make your mark. Popular Race Calendar.
Stay tuned for updates on the Jackson Jaunt – which now has both a 5km and 10km option with added demand for races from junior competitors. Registration for the Virtual Bogburn will open on December 21.
Eastern Cup Opener at Quarry Road Trails
Quarry Road is all in for this weekend’s Eastern Cup Opener. Now branded as a “Maine Cup,” this event is only open to Maine residents to abide by State Guidelines. All competitors who have registered for Bibs and Chips and will be attending this race will receive their Bibs and Chips at the event. Due to the reduced numbers of competitors 30 spots have been opened for junior skiers who do not hold U.S. Ski & Snowboard licenses – these competitors will race after the NRL skiers, receive temporary bibs and chips, and be listed on the NENSA Junior Ranking List. Again safety is paramount – please take extra care to read all pre-event emails – and respond to your Health Screen promptly.
December Club KM Challenge:
There are currently eleven clubs participating in the DCKC — logging nearly 8000km to date, or roughly 500km per day. As a reminder you can reach out to the Competitive Program Director directly to share club activity or update your data on the #DCKC form here. There are likely many kilometers that haven’t been recorded or submitted – there’s no cost to NENSA clubs – and $9000 of reward for the top three clubs over the course of the season. Get out and enjoy the upcoming snow and join in the fun!
All photos @flyingpoint
NENSA introduces Kathy Maddock, Dublin XC and Justin Fereshetian, Quarry Road Trails as your 2019-2020 Coaches of the Year. These two role models were integral in the development of their clubs — which are now strongholds of the East. Maddock joined forces with the Dublin School Nordic Center, which opened in 2014, to create robust programming that spans BKL, Juniors and masters skiers. Fereshetian was named the Program Director and Head Nordic Coach for the City of Waterville at Quarry Road Trails last year where he heads year round programming.
Kathy Maddock is a veteran of the New England ski community, as an athlete and a coach, and in recent years she has helped grow Dublin XC and the Dublin School to become, “one of the strongest youth programs in New England.” Kathy not only supports her home club, but has been a key coach at U.S. Ski & Snowboard Regional Elite Group (REG) camps for many years running.
Kathy’s racing career began in Massachusetts where she was the first High School Girls Nordic Ski Champion. She continued skiing at Dartmouth College, and went on to race for the US Ski Team — competing in multiple World Cup competitions.
“Skiing fast, whether it’s flying down a hill, accelerating out of a corner, or double-poling to a finish-line is one of the best feelings there is. I coach so that I can help others find–and fall in love with–that feeling.” KM
Kathy’s coached juniors at Souhegan High School, Stratton Mountain School, and with previous programs in Dublin. She’s been a part of Junior National Coaching squads and led New Hampshire Team’s at U16 and Eastern High School Championships. Not only is she a U.S. Ski & Snowboard L100/L200 certified coach, she’s helped instruct many New Hampshire coaches to gain their certifications.
“If I had to describe Kathy Maddock’s coaching style I would say she makes skiers faster with laughter! Her athletes simply love going to practice and Kathy knows how to create a team culture where everyone enjoys skiing with one another. While racing and training are important to Kathy I think I am most impressed with her ability to show young people the joy that skiing can bring to their lives. Her leadership, enthusiasm, and passion for the sport of cross country skiing can be felt throughout the New Hampshire skiing community. Congratulations to Kathy on this well-deserved honor!” Brad Bates, Head of School, Dublin School
“Over the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be mentored by Kathy both as an athlete and as a coach. Throughout this time, she has continuously met me where I am, but has quietly demanded excellence — first athletically, and now in coaching. Her coaching style, built on knowing each athlete as an individual and building rapport from there, is what I have tried to emulate in my first few years coaching. Kathy’s efforts to unite the southern NH and Massachusetts ski communities demonstrates the incredible impact that collaboration can have in providing high level coaching to our athletes.” Cate Brams, U20/U18 Girls Coach, Eastern Mass Nordic (the “new” CSU)
Justin Fereshetian took the reins as the Program Director and Head Nordic Coach for the City of Waterville at Quarry Road Trails in 2019. He hit the ground running with big dreams for the the historic Quarry Road site along the Messalonskee Stream — first developed in the 1930’s. The trails, bolstered by the support of the City of Waterville and an amazing group of volunteers developed a new vision of outdoor recreation in 2007.
“I am really excited about the coaching piece of the job. It’s a passion of mine,” Fereshetian said. “I am also looking forward to the programming because there’s a lot of really cool things happening here at this venue, and it’s awesome to have a part in what is going on to help it progress to the next level.” JF
Fereshetian’s initiation to coaching and leadership began at the Outdoor Sport Institute in Caribou, where he served as the Nordic Development Director / Head Coach and Initiative Coordinator. During this time Justin served as a Wax Tech for Team New England at Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, NY. This summer he created a workout for Virtual REG Camp and led a coaching group in the program that reached over 100 New England athletes. During his young career he has helped train 17 athletes who have qualified for the New England Junior National Team including the first Quarry Road Trails athlete this winter.
At Quarry Road Justin wears many hats, including trail maintenance, staffing, snowmaking and event management. Last winter the boundless enthusiasm of Justin and his crew allowed for the shift of the Eastern Cup Opener from Sugarloaf to Quarry Road on the drop of a hat. They had done their work and made snow in every possible temperature window for the past month — and despite unforgiving weather were able to create a track of the highest quality. They also built in some terrain, in the form of two large rollers directly in front of the timing house — creating a visible “new school” feel to cross country skiing. It created too many smiles to count.
Fereshetian attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle, receiving a degree in physical education. He was a standout runner and cross country skier who competed at Junior and Senior Nationals, the EISA circuit and NCAA’s. Like Maddock he is an active coach, who trains alongside his athletes and has the ability to jump into competitions when the moment arrises.
“The remarkable thing about Justin is his versatility, he is just as comfortable teaching elite skiers as beginners, he is extremely patient and listens carefully to each person because he is vested in their progress and success. He is a firm advocate for his athletes making sure that they are being treated fairly and their safety and well-being are the prime considerations.” Ole Amundsen, parent and Quarry Road Trails
“I’m so happy to hear that Justin has been chosen for this award! He puts in a lot of hours outside of his regular workday that exceeds expectations! He supported me throughout the season for the Eastern Cup races last year by doing an amazing job waxing my skis … Sometimes he would just know that I was nervous without me saying anything and would give me some really great advice on how to have the best race possible, which helped me feel more prepared for the race. I been working with him since this spring and thanks to his training plan and amazing feedback, I can see and feel myself getting stronger and faster. He also makes practices fun by incorporating sprint simulations into our workouts or doing agility courses that make me go out of my comfort zone.” Emma Charles, Quarry Road Ski Club
We congratulate both of these terrific human beings and coaches — can’t wait to see them out on the trails, having fun and no doubt instilling the love of skiing into countless new skiers. We are so fortunate to have such a strong skiing culture in New England. Kathy and Justin are shining examples of who we strive to be.
As anticipated, our racing calendar is, and needs to remain fluid – increased COVID case numbers and health care stress throughout New England reinforces NENSA’s paramount focus to protect the health of our membership and the communities we reside in.
While there will be undeniable disappointment with some decisions, we can all take solace in the creative programming available for the next month and a half — find motivation in cooling temps, a start of a snow-base, and the addition of regional on-snow racing! Cross country skiers are leaders – we must all be vigilant and do our part over the coming weeks “to abide” above our regional guidelines. We’ve laid down some brilliant plans and protocols, including the New England Cross Country Promise – now is the time to stay focussed on adherence to exemplary behavior – which includes a reduction in our personal travels. To steal a phrase from Killington Mountain, “Help us get Open, and stay Open.” We’re all in this together.
Eastern Cup & States Cups:
NENSA is committed to holding all of our events to the highest health standards, and Maine is currently under guidance to host events without cross-state participation. Quarry Road Trails and Sugarloaf will move forward with their scheduled races, December 20th (QR) and January 23-24th (Sugarloaf) — for residents of Maine only. These races will be rebranded as “Maine Cups” and scored to the Junior Ranking List. All registered out-of-state racers will be refunded entry fees in full. Due to this limit on attendance, both Quarry Road and Sugarloaf might be able to offer more opportunity for open registrants and masters. Registration for Sugarloaf will open in January.
In Vermont we will likely see limited shift in regulation until after the New Year. NENSA is working with Craftsbury and Prospect Mountain (our listed January events) and will update the status of these races as guidance comes from the state — potential postponement dates are likely to be announced.
Our February events are still scheduled as planned and we will continue to monitor regional regulations and update the community.
Eastern Mass Nordic is in the beginning stages of developing “State Cup” racing in Massachusetts.
NENSA is committed to providing race experiences for our developing skiers and we will focus on “State Cup” events and scoring those races to the Junior Ranking List. We are optimistic the end of the winter will allow for more opportunities and races similar to a typical Eastern Cup. We thank you all for your continued resilience and point you towards local opportunities including Popular Racing.
Popular Racing – Zak Cup / Club Cup / A Hall Mark of Excellence:
The Popular Race calendar and Zak / Club Cup scoring pages for 2020-2021 have been updated. While these events have typically been focussed on the masters population they now have added value to all levels of skiers in the pandemic climate — these scheduled races give “race start” opportunities and help promote the guidance of staying close to home. Some events will be offered that are only Virtual, some will be duel (in-person / Virtual), and some might be forced to become Virtual.
The December Club KM Challenge is off to a strong start – with Mansfield Nordic already logging 2000km since the beginning of the month. It’s not too late join in the fun and there is financial incentive this year to show the strength of your club with the – A Hall Mark of Excellence Award – offering $9000 of incentives for the three top Club Cup teams.
This weekend brings us the first Zak Cup race at the Quarry Road Trails – albeit limited to Maine residents.
Jackson XC is excited and planning to host the Jackson Jaunt on December 27th — this could be an excellent opportunity for juniors who were planning to attend the Quarry Road Eastern Cup. As with all races – please register early – it is so important to the organizers to be able to plan and provide for safe events!
Bob Haydock has created an elaborate and well-vetted Virtual version of the iconic Bogburn Classic. This race gives all of our masters and club participants an opportunity to compete and engage with their peers throughout the region and beyond. Stay tuned – registration is slated to open on the 21st.
The Popular Race schedule has robust offerings into late January, February and March — you know we will keep you posted! In the meantime — enjoy the building snowpack in your backyard, your local touring centers, and as you head out for organized events — be safe and have fun!!
NENSA is thrilled and honored to be a 2020/21 Share Winter Foundation Grantee. The Share Winter Foundation is a grantmaking organization working to improve the lives, health, and fitness of youth through winter sports, and their generous support funds our Nordic Rocks and other youth programming.
The Nordic Rocks program provides elementary school students, regardless of their background, with the opportunity to experience cross country skiing during the school day, with their teachers and classmates, and to learn the health and lifestyle benefits associated with exercise and outdoor fun. NENSA assists each Nordic Rocks school with a ski curriculum and resources, teaching support, and equipment acquisition. This winter, thanks to Madshus, we are testing some new prototype equipment with a hopeful eye towards up-leveling the quality and accessibility of program ski equipment in the future. The goal of Nordic Rocks is not only to introduce more young people to skiing by mitigating potential barriers to entry, but to also provide a pathway for students to continue skiing at local ski centers and within local youth ski leagues. We want to support our Nordic Rocks program participants in becoming lifelong skiers!
NENSA is truly grateful for Share Winter’s support so we can continue offering opportunities for young people to appreciate the many joy of cross country skiing. While we are no longer adding schools for the 2020/21 season, please reach out to [email protected] if you know of a school interested in the program for 2021/22. You can also consider donating to the Share Winter Foundation to help ensure programs like Nordic Rocks can continue serving young people for years to come.
We are all eagerly awaiting the beginning of the race season and doing snow dances. Unfortunately, due to current Vermont Guidance the opening Vermont Cup has been removed from the calendar. Quarry Road has gotten a jump start on their snowmaking and is optimistic to host their Opener on December 6th (popular race only / no chips) and the Eastern Cup Opener on December 20th. Registration for the Eastern Cup Opener will go live tomorrow. Registration for later Eastern and Vermont Cups will be moved closer to race dates so we have the most up to date information before opening.
We ask that all competitors who intend to race at the Quarry Road Eastern Cup Opener register to purchase their bib and rent their chip by tomorrow’s 5pm deadline. You can do that here. Please also take the time to thoughtfully make your season long race intents in the custom questions — this is very helpful for planning and creating safe event schedules. We will email a list of bibs and chips that will be sent in bulk to larger clubs shortly after registration closes (to all that registered) — the remainder will be picked up at the race site on the date of the competition. Bib and chip assignments will be listed at: https://www.bullitttiming.com/events/NENSA-bib-chip
We will also reopen bib purchase and chip rental for a second session — from December 2nd through December 31st — for Vermonters and those who might have missed the current window. There is no penalty for waiting until the second registration if you do not intend to race at Quarry Road.
Thank you all for your patience and resilience in these unprecedented times — NENSA will continue to make every effort to make safe competitions available throughout the season and we can’t wait to see you out on the tracks.
While we don’t know what the beginning of this season is going to look like NENSA is working hard to try and keep our population enthused, excited to ski, and provide some incentives for your clubs to work together as a team! We’ll be unrolling our Popular race schedule next week – which will include Virtual Events so people can participate in BKL, Club and Zak Cup racing regardless of where they live. Our Club Cup rankings have taken on new meaning this season with the gracious support of Marty and Kathy Hall – with a carrot of $5000 going to the top ranked club at the end of the year, $3000 to the second place club and $1000 to the 3rd place club/school. This ranking will be based on rollerski races we hosted, Eastern and Vermont Cup races, and the Popular Race calendar (which will include Virtual events).
To kick us off and get teams together we created the December Club KM Challenge – it’s designed to be simple and driven by the leaders and coaches of our awesome NENSA clubs.
December Club KM Challenge #DCKC
Join NENSA clubs of all walks for an inclusive kilometer logging challenge.
Club points will be awarded to 2021 Club Cup rankings – A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.
The team with the most kilometers skied (or rollerskied) will net 300 points, 2nd – 200, 3rd – 100, 95, 90, 85…
The goals of the Challenge are to:
– Bring some certainty to the beginning of the season.
– Unite teams and clubs that might be physically separated during this period.
– Log some of your first kilometers of the year.
– Get clubs psyched to ski and boost club participation.
How it will work:
– NENSA coaches or club leaders register their team / club on SkiReg
– Challenge runs from December 1 to midnight December 31
– Clubs are encouraged to report kilometers weekly: add photos / videos and share notable moments – impressive skis, beautiful scenery.
– No cost for NENSA clubs.
What do you get:
– Winning club will get #25in20 branded Skida headbands (until our supply runs out)
– Clubs score points toward the yearlong A Hall Mark of Excellence Award of $5000 1st place, $3000 2nd place and $1000 for the 3rd place club/school.
– Get stoked and fit for the 2021 Season
– Add your club’s kilometers to our season long goal of logging 250,000 K as a community!!
49 Pineland Drive, New Gloucester, Maine 04260 | (207)688-6503 | Fax: (207) 688-6505
We know many folks are facing challenges with how to run their BKL programs this year during the pandemic. Some clubs are already running practice, some are just starting up, and some have been recently shut down. If you haven’t seen it already, you can check out our BKL COVID-19 Best Practices Guide. To build on the information in this guide, NENSA is hosting a virtual BKL Leader Forum on Tuesday December 1st at 5:30pm so leaders can ask questions, share ideas, and learn from each other. We don’t have to tackle these challenges alone! This forum can also serve as a platform for leaders to connect with one another to plan future events whether in person or virtually. This year will require some creativity and out-of-the-box thinking and we believe our BKL community’s got what it takes.
If you are a BKL leader/coach and want to attend the forum, please email [email protected] for the Zoom link.