“The Big Guy is looking down on us today,” said 87-year-old Ray Broomhall on Sunday afternoon, as a rare glimpse of sunlight graced the slopes of Black Mountain on the third day of racing. “Sunbathing weather,” exclaimed Craig Zurhorst, the local announcer extraordinaire over the mic.
It was truly an inspiration to pull off three nationally sanctioned events on natural snow when even the most robust Eastern trail systems were just feeling comfortable. The Chisholm Ski Club has a fabled history as one might start to see at Race Headquarters, or better yet, if you have the opportunity to visit Muriel’s Kitchen. While there were so many victories last weekend, perhaps the most evident is the joy and pride of this Maine community — that, in partnership with local clubs is thriving, with a bright future ahead. NENSA is so honored to support events that directly reflect our mission to, “sustain an active cross country ski community for all ages and levels throughout the East.”
Despite the most troubled start to winter many of the skiers have ever experienced, Saturday dawned with the most competitive Eastern Cup we will see this winter. Partnered with the Bates Carnival, who skied under wet skies on Friday, nearly 500 competitors toed the line. The field was composed of collegiate skiers, club/high school juniors, and a few intrepid masters. Olympic skiers: Ben Ogden and Caitlin Patterson added a rare touch of class to the show, Ogden currently ranked 9th in the world — Patterson, a two-time Olympian and eleven-time National Champion, who perfectly raced her first Carnival at Black in 2008. These are two cool Cats!
Like a storybook, Roger and Mouse worked for weeks on their snow plan. Despite even self-doubt at times, they produced a surface and dynamic courses that hearken to the roots of cross country skiing. To race on spicy, if-not-perfectly-homologated-trails, is a rarity that no one should take for granted. It speaks to #skilikeanamerican and the vision of agility and learning how to ski over terrain.
Saturday helped out Sunday, with slightly colder temperatures, and the knowledge the surface was firm enough to run a heavy machine on the snow — allowing for a sprinting spectacle with a unique uphill finish we might not see for some time.
As the quality of athlete and the level of competition in the US is evident in the international headlines — so was the enjoyment of sport that was on display in Rumford, Maine on this temperate weekend in January.
Stay tuned for more media content and athlete appreciation.