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Event Archive 2012 - 2013

2012 - 2013

Event Archive 2012 - 2013: News

Sugarloaf Marathon

March 16, 2013



NWVE continued to ride the wave of a record season today at the final installment of the NENSA Zak, Club, and Marathon Series. Those that did not sign up for this race will probably kick themselves. Not only were the conditions amazing; the course got two thumbs up from every skier and the event was run very well! The organizers at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, and Colby College deserve high praise for hosting such an outstanding event.

We previewed the conditions the night before the race. They could be summed up as "stupid fast.”  The groomers were out making the conditions amazing and overnight Mother Nature added a little layer of fluff to freshen things up and add just enough resistance to the snow to make things safe for racers. It did not slow things down much, but did contribute feedback so that skiers had a feel for the snow and good footing.

The course was fun to ski with its varied terrain and skiable corners. There were some short steep hills that kept packs together, and long graduals to tire you out. There were also some nice downhills that allowed you to catch your breath or eat a Gu. The trail was a little narrow to go two wide, but the way it wound through the woods was exhilarating. It was fun all around and fast!

Racers started in two waves. The 50k race started at 9:00am and the 25k a half hour later. It was thought that the mass starts would be messy and the first few turns would have some carnage, but that was not the case. Skiers were polite as the order of things established itself quickly.

An elite group quickly established itself. Our own Paul Allison and Eric Tremble were among some of the elite collegiate men such as UVM's Scott Patterson and Vermont native Peter Hegman, who finished their season last week! Eric settled in with a chase group while Paul hung in a little longer. Eventually Paul got separated from the group and skied much of the race alone in no-mans-land. Eric Darling drove the pace in the next group skiing conservatively for the first lap until VTXC'S Robyn Anderson caught up along with Brayton Osgood and they split the group with Eric going with the front half. Damian Bolduc and Mike Kavanaugh were not far behind in a group with the top collegiate women including Anya Caldwell Bean, Hallie Grossman, Isabel Caldwell and Kristina Trygstad-Saari, as well as Andy Milne (CSU) and Peter Harris (Craftsbury). The core of this group stayed together for over 3 laps and was quite a force as the lead rotated. Scott Magnan settled into a comfortable place letting the vortex of CSU's big man Victor Golovkin pull him along. Pavel Dvorak was back in action racing against Mt. Washington's Doug Armstrong and then working his way up through marathon veterans Mark Danyla and Robert Faltus. Keeping them in sight for 3 laps was Perry Bland.

One of the more unusual things that happened in this race was the effect the 30 minute start interval had on the 50k. The top twenty or so had made it through the stadium before the 25k started and were unaffected by that field.  Then it drove a wedge between the remainder of the field. It did not change the order of things, but a large time gap opened up between those that were clear of the wave and those that had to work through it. The 25ker's were very respectful, and no complaints came from the 50k folks. In fact the infusion of variety was welcome.

The NWVE women all opted for the 25k race.  Just prior to starting Eric Darling was able wave and give a cheer to the field as he passed over the end of the stadium.  The race started and NWVE had good position. The field quickly broke up and was absorbed by the much larger 50k field that was a lap into the race. Liz Hollenbach and Sarah Pribram went to the front and worked with a UVM woman for the first lap. They gapped her at the feed station in the stadium and skied the second lap together. They finished 3rd and 4th overall with Liz taking the honors this week. Jessica Bolduc had a good race going as well. Having a little history in Carrabassett Valley the familiar course churned distant good memories and she liked the low resistance snow conditions. Cipperly Good was glad she made the race and pondered if she should have done the 50 with all the energy she had left after 25! It was great to be able to give and receive encouragement from every one during the race. It added a boost across the board!

At the end of the 50k it was evident that some skiers had tougher days than others. The final climb was a steep stepper that crossed a bridge over the end of the stadium. Some people sailed over it while others just survived. Paul skied out the race holding his position. Eric Tremble was on the move the final lap over taking some not used to the long distance as they ran out of gas. Eric Darling moved up as well using his superior technique and a love of the twisty stuff to propel him to another great finish. Damian had a PR finish using patience to conserve energy and finally bridging to but unsuccessfully passing Frank Feist (CSU) and Chris Bean (Onion River). Mike cramped up a bit in the final k's but held it together to have a little sprint at the finish. Scott used the Shake n' Bake move from Talladega Nights to sling-shot past Victor on the lead-in to the final hill gaining a comfortable distance by the end. Pavel continuously worked his way up through the field all the way to the finish. The temps warmed just enough to slow Perry's wax the final lap, but true to Perry form he was happy to have skied another great race.

The Sugarloaf Marathon was a great way to punctuate the season this year. The smart thing to do is finish on a high, but since we are all race gluttons we will be back next weekend at Craftsbury. Who knows? Maybe the conditions will be just as perfect as the day we had at Sugarloaf!


Mt. Washington Cup

March 10, 2013

Today NWVE tested the NENSA Citizens Points Series abacus threshold by crossing the thousand point barrier.  This is the first time a team has achieved this and we still have one race to go!  Racing does not get much more exciting than it was today.  NWVE was out in force at one of its favorite races of the season. 

Conditions were nearly perfect for a fast skate race.  The trails had been groomed overnight and had set up nicely with a very fast corduroy surface.  Air temps climbed into the high thirties to low forties.  Some were comfortable in short-sleeves, the track stayed mostly frozen except for where the sun really beat down on it.  Skies were clear and a light breeze could be detected.  More than a hundred competed in what has become the Nordic right to spring.

NWVE started over twenty racers who were spread out over the entire field.  Scott Magnan brought along a nice contingent of BFA Athletes with ambitious goals in mind.  Skiers were jovial in their scramble to the start.  Spirits remained high on the line as Perry pointed out that one of the peaks in front of us was indeed Mt. Washington to Liz.  If you ever wondered what goes on before a major race such as today’s; a great debate was brewing over whether Craftsbury’s Peter Harris was feeling fast enough to take the line.  While several of us discussed this including Eric Darling, Mike Kavanaugh, Scott Magnan, Mt. Washington’s Ron Newbury, Stowe’s Robyn Anderson, Mansfield’s Jim and Joanne and myself, Peter finally settled the matter by admitting to “resting BOTH his feet a full 24 hours prior to the race.”  That said, it was determined that he should take the line and I would start in the second row.  It is great to see that so many can still come to a consensus on such important matters at the mass start of a race.  Soon the race started and Peter was off to complete a mission. 

I set the theme of the race early by biffing 200m in and doing a face plant.  Embarrassment quickly turned to concern as the thought of getting trampled overcame me, quite apparent according to eye witness Mike Kavanaugh who saw the expression on my face.  Mansfield's Steve Messier was not so fortunate as he was run over at the start.  Most others would fall at some point in the race.  The conditions were very fast but the groomer had left a few choppy spots at key points on some technical corners.  This, in addition to people catching their tips made for a lot of excitement.  Many people had great races despite widely publicized wipe-outs.  Peter Harris went on to put an exclamation point on the great season he has been having.  Eric Tremble and Eric Darling finished 4th and 5th, both having significant crashes on course.  Tremble losing control on a fast corner, Darling bloodying a bare forearm where the snow turned from fast to slow when crossing from shade to a sunny patch.  Leigh Mallory, back from the Master’s Worlds was taken out on one of the corners but rebounded to have participate in the most contentious five-way sprint finish of the day.  A couple of skiers who had very impressive races were Mike Kavanaugh and Rick Kelley.  Mike came back battered but not beaten after a grueling marathon yesterday.  Rick won the M6 Division.  Perry had a good race specializing in variable uneven ski conditions.  Liz was on Leigh’s tails in the sprint, Sarah Pribram was right behind.  Cody Putnum served Coach Scott Magnan, finally achieving a long time goal.  He excitedly recounted the feat in the locker room after the race. André Bolduc took care of business with some of his biathlon competition. Coach Mike Mashtare was back in action after not racing in 15+ years.   Jessica Bolduc rebounded against her master’s competition putting the distance on them in the final flat 2km of V2 to the finish. Jessica had an experience similar to Mark White’s with John Brodhead yesterday, only today it was Jessica and Bob Gray.  It was described as a ”polite” race, though Bob was instructing Jess to “let them run on the down-hills.” I do not care who you are.  If Bob tells you to do something, you better do it.  Cipperly had a good race, and was happy with her place in the field.  Joanie Kavanaugh picked up some more hardware for her efforts in the second day of doing the double!  Hattie Pipes dramatically improved on her result last year, joined by impressive results from Leslie Roberts, Elizabeth and Holly Yandow coming off one of BFA’s top team showings in states a little more than a week ago!  Elizabeth had one of the more devastating crashes losing a binding and having to ski-hop it in!  We were all cheered in by many fans and supporters. After the race, we all went out to cheer on the BKL event.

Camille Bolduc competed, excited her skis were working much better this year than in last year’s slush slog.  She used great technique to distance herself from the rest of the girls and keep up with the boys.  Unfortunately the forerunner led the entire field way off course.  Camille remained positive and went with the flow.  She was happy with her performance and being the first girl.

After the race NWVE cleaned up at the awards ceremony.  The traditional group photo was taken and we went to the Station for a well deserved celebratory meal.  Our numbers have grown so large that there was fear we would overwhelm the kitchen at the fine establishment!  But all were satisfied as we made our journeys back to Vermont and Searsport.  The long range forecast for Kingfield looks very promising for next weekend.  Let’s do it again!


Bretton Woods Marathon 2013

March 9, 2013


NWVE had excellent representation today at the New England Ski Museum's Bretton Woods Marathon. The skiers were treated to the amenities of the resort and some fine ski conditions and weather. A massive influx of skiers arrived 90 minutes early, anxious to see what wax to use. This was moot as early testing really had nothing to do with race conditions, but most went ahead anyway.

Temps upon arrival were even colder than predicted. Thirteen degrees warming up to fifteen degrees with thirty minutes until the gun. The sun was out and we were comfortable waxing with bare hands so we knew a big spike in temps would come at any moment. The course utilized the perimeter of the core trails at Bretton Woods. There was a little of everything making it the most challenging of all the marathons in the series so far. Rapidly rising temps made for changing snow conditions, but they could basically be divided into three categories during the race. There were shade sections, sun the first lap, and sun the second lap. Skiers used several different strategies. Straight hard wax, straight klister, a combination of the two, wax-less, many switched skis altogether halfway through, and I pulled something out of my wax bag from my klister boycott day's, Rex Power Grip Purple.

After a dismal Eastern Cup performance, where Perry and I thought we had he silver bullet wax during warm-up, this product went dormant in the rotation for several years. I have used it a couple of times this year and have improved my application technique and today it worked really well for over 75% of the race. It was faster than any klister and had better kick for more of the race than hard wax. It was as good a fit for the in between conditions we had today.

Temps remained cooler than predicted up to the start and skiers were off to live with the wax decisions they made. All could say they were disappointed somewhere on the course, some more than others. Mike Kavanaugh was disappointed as his pole snapped on his first double pole of the race. He picked up a rental pole five inches too short from a woman and made do until Sabra Davison reluctantly gave him one of her new Swix poles at the 4km feed station. Stephen Wright had a great start and was skiing in a group with CSU's Andy Milne, David Herr, and Mt. Washington Nordic's Charlie Gunn. I also had a good start but had a boot come unbuckled and sacrificed a few seconds to correct the issue on one of the early downhills. Pavel Dvorak was on course without incident as was Dorrie Martell. Joanie Kavanaugh, Lida Dvorak had clean starts but got caught up in bottlenecks as the trail narrowed and on a few of the early steeps. Mike who was last out of the stadium got to experience them all as well. Mike was not alone in the broken pole department. Gina Campoli of Craftsbury shattered one early on, but opted to go back to her car to get a new one. Stephen’s skis were relatively slow as he waxed for the long run while the rest in his group had different plans. I got things going on the long climbs between 5 and 10km and reeled in skiers whose klister was a little draggy. Unbeknownst, Mansfield's Mark White was in a secret battle with Craftsbury's John Brodhead. John's finesse makes these an interesting experience, but never underestimate his competitiveness. As you yo-yo with him he is fully intent on crushing you, but this day, Mark would prevail. Dorrie raced very well with the long climbs and the very covered klister playing to her strengths. She finished the 21km event in 7th place and first in her category! Joanie thought her straight VR45 was perfect for one lap and took second behind Dorrie in the FM4 division. Lida kept things fun sticking with the touring division. Things changed a lot for those doing two laps. While it was legal, I do have to Slight skIerS SwItching thEir skiS. Some switches were beneficial, most were not. I passed Andy Milne while he went to wax-less and never saw him again. Wax-less was a disadvantage in the shade, and skiers paid for that, but if they were not too tired, once the hit the final 6 km in the sun they were untouchable. Joe Holland of Putney used some hairies and took full advantage to get by Stephen in the last part of the race. I was able to match pace with VTXC's Robyn Anderson until about the same point. Pavel looked great finishing and was pleased with his race. Mike drew the attention of the announcer with his look as well. Though his face expressed the not so great day that started with arriving a little late.

After the race, skiers enjoyed a pasta dinner in the Mt. Washington Hotel. It was good for the most part but diners noticed the host could take a cue from the Wednesday Night World’s Meatball Night. The awards ceremony was fun and NWVE picked up some age group prizes where Dorrie and Damian picked up a pair of firsts, Joanie took second and Stephen Wright finished third. Things look like they will shape up nicely for the race tomorrow. Do not forget to change your clocks!


Rangeley Lakes Loppet 2013

March 2, 2013

Six ambitious NWVE racers traveled through the Pearly Gates of Errol, NH to where Heaven meets Earth for snow machiner’s, Rangeley, Maine.  We knew it would be a good year as the roads traveled had yet to really heave and by all accounts it was fairly smooth sailing.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some rough stretches, but hardly as many as usual.  Skiers were also universally astonished with how much snow was in Rangeley.  Snow banks were easily seven feet high.  The base was over three feet, and the snow never stopped falling.  Rob Bradlee commented on how it was nice to ski on clean, pure snow.

Race day the course was the same 25km loop used the last few years.  Temperatures remained in the mid twenties. A light snow fell throughout the race. Despite several inches of fresh snow, the course was groomed perfectly and the base was firm.  It was fast, smooth skiing.  Swix Marathon was the wax of the day for those fortunate enough to have it, the rest were competitive on red.

Race preparations were made with excitement for the snow.  It seemed that people were ready with time to spare.  Perhaps consequences of the unusual 9:45 start time.  People were ready to go at 9:30.  The extra 15 minutes gave people time to look around and see who was there, and who was not. Jonathan Chaffee expressed disappointment that Perry Bland was not there, but was further disheartened that his teammates were not willing to make the drive to the race.  Andy Milne was concerned for Scotty Magnan.  Robert Faltus was hoping to run into Jessica Bolduc to commiserate on some Master’s Committee issues.  By in large people were excited for the conditions and sorry that their friends were missing out.

Things were a little unusual once the race got started.  A huge train of skiers the length that I have never seen before chugged along.  We bottlenecked on climbs and sharp corners, but it never broke apart.  To see an unbroken chain of at least 50 skiers 12km into a race and to be attached to the leaders in the same pack at this point of the race is something I have never been a part of before. The snow and course was very forgiving and people stayed together a long time.  At this point things started to separate a little, small packs began working together, people went off the front and I went off the back. 

Up to this point I had been skiing with VTXC’s Robyn Anderson and 2012 Mountain Bike Olympian Lea Davison.  Lea had incredible turnover as she V2’d the long gradual climbs, something later noticed by a lot of other skiers she would overtake later in the race.  The CSU men had a great working group throughout the race.  Frank Fiest, Andrew Milne, Jon Sakalowski, and Rob Bradlee connected and worked along with Eric Darling and the VTXC women. They would go on to bridge up to and drop small packs in front of them and steadily worked their way up through the field as skiers not used to the long distance tired out.  The deceiving thing about this course is that you are always striding.  There are not really any steep or technical sections to challenge the racers, but the long grind will punish the impatient racer. 

You would see this here and there as a racer would have a spurt, and then suffer as there was no place to recover from it.  The patient skiers would slowly but surely overtake them and drop them off the back and the impatient athlete was left to wonder what was next.  Mike Kavanaugh was a victim of this as he raced in chase mode.  He was a stronger skier than those around him the first lap, but expended a lot of energy working his way through.  This had consequences in the second lap and Mike found himself so “zonked” that he had to pull up and step aside a couple of times to recollect himself and push onward.  The not so slow and steady crowd patiently cruised along.  He thinks that the 33km distance would better suit him, and it is fair to say that fighting a cold the last two weeks probably hindered his overall performance.

In contrast Paul Allison had a great race and a great result.  Paul raced to third overall.  He concentrated on keeping an even effort and it paid off.  Paul steadily chipped away at the skiers in front of him.  He was pleased with how he felt, not cramping or having any mental fatigue.  He credits his performance to some BBQ Chicken Pizza at the St. J. House of Pizza, and a nights rest on the cot at the Country Club Inn.

Eric Darling was also very happy with his result.  This being his first “non-bonker” in a 50km.  He worked his way through the field with the VTXC women. When they passed the CSU crew, one of the overtaken shouted “hey Rob are your skis getting draggy?”   Rob responded that they were not.  Just seeing the way Lea was motoring through in contrast with Robyn and Eric’s long graceful technique made you think you were slow.

Knowing I needed to make a decision on either keeping a pace I knew I could not sustain or finishing the race,  after about 14km I let up and lost sight of the main pack.  I did not realize the gap we had put on the rest of the field and skied solo until the 42km mark.  At this point the elite collegiate women caught me and gave me a much needed boost.  I had hoped that I would catch people that had fallen off the pace of the leaders, but they never really came back to me.  The last 8km was fun racing with a group who worked very well together.  As we made our way around the final turns I could see the familiar colors of CSU and Bethel Outing just up ahead.  As we came into the final km I knew they were just out of reach and decided not to interfere with the women’s race and skied it in maintaining my position. 

Michael Hakim and Joanie Kavanaugh raced the 25km option.  A lot of 25kers said they wished that they had signed up for the 50km seeing how perfect the conditions were.  I am sure after the 25 they were happy to finish and move on with the day.  Michael was nowhere to be seen after the race so hopefully it went well.  Joanie cheered on the 50km racers as they staggered by the 46km mark for the final push to the finish. 

Rangeley streamlined the awards process.  Skiers got their raffle prizes in their registration packet and claimed their category awards at the prize table as results became available.  This made for great efficiency, but took away from the post race festivities.  We did enjoy a good post race meal of soup and sausages, but there was not much visiting as people got on the road.  Paul placed 3rd overall, winning a nice Rangeley Lakes Loppet handkerchief, Eric won his age group and Joanie also medaled. Skiers could not have asked for a better day to race and left knowing they were able appreciate the Rangeley you imagine when you sign up for this race.


Stowe Derby 2013

February 24, 2013

Another year, another Derby. I’ve done this race many times now and each one has had its own unique qualities and challenges. This year the weather was almost perfect and the course was in great shape. At the top of the chair lift the temperature was around 25F with a light breeze and snow that looked like small shards of crystal when it landed on our jackets. The temperature was noticeably warmer on the flat section of the course with wet snow that was slower than what we experienced on the mountain. For the skate race I heard people used a wide variety of wax and structure options with most people being quite satisfied with their choices: everything was fast at the top and slower at the bottom. For the classic race, getting good kick was a challenge with wax-less skis being a great option.

Several NWVE skiers made it to the start line, some of whom had participated in another successful running of the Flying Moose Classic yesterday. The first NWVE skier to start was Eric Tremble, who for some unexplained reason, was seeded almost near the back with number 15 which placed him in the 3rd wave. Based on previous results he should have been in the first or second wave but today he was relegated to the cheap seats. His clean ski down the Toll Road and strong ski throughout the hills and flats earned him an impressive 4th overall which should ensure an improved start position for next year. I was in the next wave and was able to watch the first three waves disappear in clouds of snow and whirling poles. On my way down the Toll Road the snow was almost (but not quite) scary fast and visibility was challenging due to the falling snow and watering eyes. One of my wave mates, Franz Bernstein, got off to a great start and I could see him through the first several turns. After a particularly sharp right hand turn I could no longer see him and wondered if his skis were so fast that he ditched me. I later learned as I watched him limp across the finish line, long after my race ended, that he had skidded completely off the trail to hang out with Juergen Uhl (who had started in Tremble’s wave) in the deep powder among the trees and finished the race with a broken ski, a big smile and a great story to tell (except for the part about the broken ski). 

Mike Kavanaugh, after having a very successful classic race yesterday in ME (just his 3rd classic race ever), had a clean race and was happy with his performance. He said he wasn’t too tired after racing yesterday, his skis were fast and stable and he was passing people left and right throughout the race which should net him an even better starting position next year. 

Sarah Pribram was next with Liz Hollenbach and Spike Clayton starting in the wave just behind her. Sarah and Liz have been going back and forth all season and today Liz had the better day. Liz caught Sarah, and being one who never gives up on anything, Sarah gave it her best to stay with Liz but in the end Liz made it to the village first. By all accounts, Spike nailed it on the Toll Road. Given his downhill racing experience and some new “wonder wax” that he was testing he was able to make it down in good time ahead of Sarah and Liz but was later caught by them on the uphill sections of the course. Liz went on to win her age group which netted her a new pair of alpine ski goggles (or funny looking sun glasses if one wears them around town). 

In the next wave was Kathy Kjelleren who also had a great race, finishing first in her age group! Most importantly, though, she said she had a great time and that her skis were almost TOO fast. That's a problem I would like to have more often. Spike, Kathy, Liz and Jake Hollenbach (VTXC member-boo- and Liz’s brother) made up the Skirack team and they took home some socks for their efforts. I’m not sure what category they placed in or what their place was in their category but it was good enough to win something so congratulations to all of you!

For two years in a row, Stephen Wright, was NWVE’s lone registrant in the classic race. It sounds as though kick waxing was challenging given the snow conditions but he was overall happy with his race and placed an impressive 14th overall and 2nd in his age group! The waxing conditions had him and others talking about the benefits of wax-less skis. I’ve always been a bit wary of signing up for the classic race out of fear of difficult waxing conditions like today so I’m always impressed by those who gut it out on these challenging days and make the most of it.

While he’s not on NWVE, he does host the Wednesday Night Worlds and pot luck at Sleepy Hollow so I’ll give Eli Enman some props with the hope that if we mention him often enough in our posts he’ll defect to our team. He won the skate race in a very close battle but didn’t have the skis for the double victory in the classic race. Despite zero kick for the entire classic race he still managed to hold on to 3rd in the Derby Meister competition and in classic Eli fashion looked at the whole experience in a very positive light.

Although not racing, team member and my “little” brother Kyle Darling, was on course cheering us all to fast finishes when he wasn’t busy making a snow man or anchoring down the Skirack tent at race headquarters. I for one can’t wait to see him cross the finish line next year!

I’d call today yet another great showing by NWVE. Everyone who participated had a good time during the race and shared their experiences during the awards ceremony. For those of you who have never done this race but have thought about giving it a shot there are only 364 days to make up your mind before the next chapter in the 69 year history of the Stowe Derby.

Eric D

Flying Moose Classic 2013

February 23, 2013

Eleven NWVE racers and Mark White (Mansfield) traveled across Vermont and New Hampshire to meet up with NWVE’s Maine delegate Cipperly Good at what has become the clubs favorite one day road trip of the season.  Skiers were not disappointed at the Flying Moose Classic today as they were treated to some of the best conditions we have seen this season and some of the best ever at the Bethel, ME race!  After honing their skills in some tricky, technical conditions last weekend, skiers were prepared for the challenging Bethel course and it showed. 

Upon arrival people began testing wax.  Starting a little cool, the purple wax testers came back saying that it was not working very well.  Camille Bolduc came back from her test excited that her wax was “actually working pretty good.”  So Toko Red went on just about everyone’s skis with people tinkering with a little from the Swix VR line and Rode 0 to dial it in a little more.  Skiers were delighted with the rather powdery conditions.  It seems that a crust that had formed over the snow was tilled in with the light powder beneath making for very nice skiing.  There were a few icy spots, and tracks did glaze a little but with good cloud cover and temps relatively stable, conditions were consistent throughout.  The course was modified slightly due to The Heavenly Highway being logged.  Feelings were mixed on the elimination of this long climb and the s-turns leading in and out of it for the Flying of the Moose this year.  Many may not have noticed as well.  The course was still relentlessly tiring. 

Skiers lined up with several NWVE racers toeing the line.  After repeated course descriptions, the starting official gave the 30 second warning and the racers were off.  Several had clean starts and the rest came to a complete stop as the wide stadium funneled quickly down to two lanes.  Among those at the front were Eric Tremble as usual, and Eric Darling who took a more aggressive approach to starting today.  Along with them were Damian Bolduc, Scott Magnan and Rick Kelley who had clean starts and were marking CSU’s Rob Bradlee.  Behind them were the jumble of skiers who bottlenecked and got chugging again as skiers made their way over the speed bump at the end of the stadium.  For the first lap there was tight racing at the front.  Eric Darling and Eric Tremble were in a pack of four along with Kirk Siegle (Bethel Outing) and Colby Racer Chris Burnam.  Despite having wax thick for kick Eric Tremble would peel away and put a minute on the chase group.  Eric Darling who was leading at the start of the second lap eventually split the 3 way sprint at the end making it the second week in a row that NWVE has put two racers in the top 3!  We should see more aggressive starts from Eric Darling in the future.  Action was exciting a little further back as Scott and Damian tried to wear Rob Bradlee down.  Unfortunately the plan did not work so well as Damian had slow skies and backed off due to back fatigue.  Scott hung in until the end, as Damian dropped back for a while until his skis started speeding up and his back 

loosened up.  Scott would continue to work on Bradlee.  Scott had faster skis, but Rob knew what to do with all his experience.  He hammered all the hills on the final lap and put enough distance on that he could not to be caught. Not far behind, another battle was playing out.  The conditions and the course were just right so that skiers in the main pack stayed fairly close together with many position changes along the way.  This type of racing is always exciting as you are continuously motivated to push.  The bulk of NWVE skiers and Mark White were in this group.  Mike Kavanaugh, Mark, Perry Bland, Rick Kelley, Sarah Pribram and Liz Hollenbach battled it out over the 22km.  Each having their own advantages and disadvantages the dynamics kept racing exciting as these people along with many others stayed within sight of each other over the course of the whole race.  Other skiers of note in this group were Donovan Freeman, Maeve McGovern, Leslie Krichko-Townsend (aka Olympian Leslie Bancroft), Doug Armstrong and two others skiers last named Bland.  While these two decreased the Bland Factor 14 points, they increased the Bland Threat 66%.  The result was Perry overtaking and dropping Rick Kelley on the last climb and out sprinting Nolan Dumont in the hottest contested finish of the day.  Oddly, Nolan was only 33% of Perry’s age so clearly the increased Bland Threat heavily favored Perry in the sprint despite being spread amongst 3 unrelated Bland’s.  (Please do not ask me how this works.) Just in front of Perry, Mike surged the final lap with wax staying adhered to his bases the whole race.  He took advantage of Mark’s fatigue powering through with two seconds to spare.   Sarah Pribram marveled at Leslie’s skiing abilities until she made her decisive move.  Props to Sarah for holding her off and accomplishing an outstanding achievement to be really psyched about.  Liz held a lower profile this week.  Skiing a little more conservatively, though it did not show as she won her sprint to the finish.  Cipperly Good was pleased with the conditions and had a good race.  She was among many NWVE racers that took home some nice hardware and fresh baked 

bread.  Post race she showed off some Hammer Choco-recovery drink she received as a gift suspicious that it may have been some swag her parents picked up at the Craftsbury Marathon.  Jessica Bolduc picked up her spirits after a difficult race last week opting for the 7.5km race today.  She placed second winning a nice hat and stated that everyone got their own lane at the start and she was glad not to be part of the bottleneck in the first wave. The countdown for the start was a bit peculiar – 30 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 seconds, 1 – 2 – 3 – go!  Camille Bolduc raced well in the BKL race.  She got a clean start and quickly worked in a pack of three.  The other two “bigger” racers took a lead on the long downhill on the course, but Camille reeled them back in on the .5km climb back into the stadium.  She overtook first place girl at the end of the climb and was closing on first overall but ran out of course before she could catch him.  She won some nice sunglasses for first girl and the coveted chocolate moose lollipop for participating.

The Flying Moose Classic proved to be an incredibly successful day yet again for the club. Almost everyone took home a prize as we fielded many an overall podiums as well as age group winners!  Congratulations to all who participated!  While we usually look to this race to seal the Club Championship, this year it may have been the one where we surpass 1000 club points.  This would be a record and certainly set a new benchmark for teams to set their aspirations to.  Post race recovery at the Sunday River Brewery was very jovial as everyone had much to celebrate!


Romance Half Marathon

February 17, 2013


In lean snow years as we are experiencing I have wondered how a “Flash Mob” ski race would go off.  Instead of smoothing out natures bumps with manmade snow and adhering to a tight schedule what would a race season look like if we just embrace where the snow happens to fall and all show up there?  Today we got to see how some of this would turn out.  Part of the problem with my plan is having everyone descend upon an unsuspecting venue and surprise them with an event.  Of course normally we would give them some type of heads-up, but it would be minimal and some entity would need to be race ready at a moment’s notice.

So it was a bit of a surprise today that the Zak and Club racers showed up for a series event.  A communication breakdown occurred and things were a little misunderstood as skiers began registering for the race.  After a little reassuring and volunteering to help as needed; not to mention a line of masters out the door eager to register and race, the organizers embraced their status as Zak/Club Series hosts.  Honestly this has to be quite devastating to learn as the first entrants are asking about things you are not prepared for, but they took it in stride and the laid back racers gave them space and helping hands where they could.  The outcome was good and by the end everyone seemed quite comfortable with what was going on.  Kudos to everyone today for helping the event go off as a success!

So it was the second annual and first ever Romance Half Marathon.  Racers were anxious to see the capabilities of the new state of the art snow making system and homologated race course that Middlebury has invested so much in.  While the system has not been put into maximum production mode, skiers benefited from the improvements.  Trails were widened and there was reinforced natural snow as needed.  Another nice upgrade were some banked turns that made carrying speed much easier.  Had it been a powder day the course would have been amazing, but it was a little icy and granular so racers had to settle for a bit of a thrill ride instead. 

As promised the race loop utilized some of the homologated race course as well as some of the perimeter trails, though not the outer perimeter trails.  Racers did four 6.25km laps for the 25km race.  The snow was variable.  Going from manmade to natural, powder to scraped off ice, clean, dirty and everything in between.  One thing that was consistent was that it was cold.  With all the variability it was challenging to wax appropriately. People started getting a little creative.

Andy Milne (CSU) kept saying that on the manmade loop at Weston, ToKo Base Green Binder was bomber.  While we have heard rumor of this and it was Spike Clayton of Skirack’s pick, we needed more evidence.  Eric Darling did some very extensive wax testing and came back with the verdict that it did indeed work better than Blue Klister.  Once this was announced it was a scramble to get the stuff on in time for the start.  Other working combinations were a green klister binder with a cushion of VR40 covered with VR30, and a couple had the previous combination with a little Rex Power Grip Blue melted in under the foot. 

Without too much fanfare everyone was called to the line and were off in short order.  Eric Tremble, Paul Allison, Eli Enman, Chris Rogers and Garrett Kuzzy took the lead.  Behind them Eric Darling led a nice group including Rick Powell, Chris Nice and Andy Milne up the hill.  Damian Bolduc, Stephen Wright and Dan Voisin took over the chase as Scott Magnan backed off the throttle early in the race.   Scott fell back to a nice group of NWVE racers with Perry Bland, Rick Kelley, Sarah Pribram, and Liz Hollenbach.  They were in pursuit of Ford Sayer’s legend Jonathan Chaffee.  Mike Kavanaugh was also in the running with this group early in the race.  A little further back André Bolduc and Jessica Bolduc were under way and off the back having missed the start to register Dorrie Martell began gaining ground.  The leaders set a pace that burned off a skier here and there and ended up with three by the finish - Eli Enman, Eric Tremble and Paul Allison.  Eli opted for Blue Klister covered, Eric and Paul were on the Green Base Wax Binder.  Eli’s superior kick prevailed in the final meters, but Eric and Paul’s faster skis kept them in the race.  Eric nipped Paul at the line, happy to finally get him this season.  After the first few kilometers Eric Darling skied in no man’s land.  He went by a few that fell off the pace the top three were setting, but never really skied with anyone. Damian and Stephen lost site of the Nice, Milne and Powell pack and accordion-ed the whole race. Damian was quicker up the hills, but Stephen made up the ground skiing down.  Seeing Onion River’s Dan Voisen in their rearview mirror was motivation enough to race hard.  Stephen used the final downhill to sling shot past Damian and held the lead to the line.  Scott Magnan battled with Jonathan Chaffee.  The venerable M8 is tough to shake once he has latched onto you.  Damian learned this in the Bretton Woods Marathon last year when it took him over 30k to finally shake him.  Scott prevailed thanks to using the long downhill before the finish the same way Stephen did.  Perry, Rick, Sarah and Liz stayed close for the race.  Liz was a little out of control taking down Perry in one fall and then crashing into a tree after losing contact with the course on an icy turn. The commotion was enough to make Sarah wonder if she should stop and go back, but Liz was up on course in short order.  Mansfield’s Steve Messier could only watch from a distance this week as his running buddies out skied him.  Mike Kavanaugh lost all his wax but a compassionate winner lent him some good kickers after having passed him while he was double poling.  Mike has been informed of a little kick zone conditioning trick (lightly sanding the bases in the kick zone with 150/180 grit sanding block) and this should not be an issue again.  André Bolduc worked his way up in the field.  He was skiing a little hot as he opted to leave his warm-ups on due to inadequate base layers under the uniform.  Dorrie Martell caught up to Cheryl Carlson and Carl Fisher by the finish.  These women have been back and forth all season and it looks like they made it another interesting race.  Jessica Bolduc skied conservatively on the technical course and lost the wax on the inside of her skis.  She pressed on with finishing as her goal and refused a ski change out as she headed out on her final lap. 

After the race a nice spread of food provided by local Inns helped the racers warm up, refuel and recover.  Camille Bolduc (who cheered us all on enthusiastically and took second to 

Ava Thurston in the J5 race in Morrisville yesterday) serenaded the crowd playing a dusty old grand piano that was sitting in the corner.   Cheryl Carlson also got in on the action a little, showing Camille a little technique to tickle the ivories.  People were pleased with the race and it is good to be reminded of the challenging course and conditions we had today.  A brief raffle awards ceremony was held, a group photo was taken and the racers cleared out contemplating their next race.


Craftsbury Marathon 2013

February 2, 2013


New England’s Premier Ski Marathon took place Saturday in Craftsbury.  Skiers from all over converged to participate in the annual event.  Despite dire weather earlier this week, those on course did not notice that the center had just lost about two thirds of its base two days before the race.  Thanks to amassing the best staff and expertise in snow farming, the course was in pristine condition.  Skiers were treated to deep tracks set flawlessly over the 12.5km loop.  Everything was just right thanks to the groomers and staff at Craftsbury putting in long hours.  The finishing touches of banked corners, perfectly set tracks and thin spots staffed with volunteer tenders gave skiers the confidence to use all the speed the course had to offer.  Craftsbury really deserves a lot of recognition for putting all of this together and pulling it off so well.  Regardless of their experience and preparation, it is never easy, especially when weather devastates all the snow you had two days prior to the event.

As you can tell, the course was great.  It was a 12.5km loop utilizing core trails around the center and Ruthie's Run.  All sections were at least double tracked with triple tracks in key areas where skiers may have had significantly different velocities.  The temps stayed cold in the mid single digits and skies were clear.  A light wind blew eventually bringing snow showers during the awards.  Blue Klister was the wax of the day, some opting for a little purple too. Despite the abrasiveness of the snow and the ice beneath it, the course was so well done, most skiers wax was durable enough to make it the whole 50km. 

Whether you got there two hours early or with two minutes to spare it is always a scramble to get your skis just right when it is time to line up for the race. Skiers used every last second to put the finishing touches on their kick, not that there was any real difficulty in choosing what to use, but for some reason, you never think it is perfect.  Especially when you have 50km to go!  André arrived at the last minute and thanks to a lift from Dorrie Martell and some wax help from Mike Mashtare was able to make the start on time.  Maybe that is the way to go as André had the advantage of knowing what the final layer was and just applied that.  The cold temps made it difficult to work with the klister and we burned through a few torches, partially due to warming our fingers as well. 

The first wave lined up and started without much incident.  The field quickly split into the groups we have come to be familiar with.  Kris Freeman (MWSC) off the front, a large chase group with Paul Allison and Eric Tremble, not far behind.  Another group with the likes of Tom Thurston and Eric Eley (SNOC), Andy Milne (CSU) and Chris Nice (Forde Sayre) joined by Eric Darling.  Stephen Wright held his place in the next group with Nat Lucy (Mount Washington), finally making his début this season.  By the end of the upper field Damian Bolduc found himself alone and basically stayed that way to the end of the race. Scott Magnan was hanging in with James Doucett (CSU) for a lap and then it was Pavel Dvorak, Rick Kelly, Perry Bland, Tim Cowan mixing it up with Donovan Freeman (Mount Wash.), Jonathan Chaffee (Ford Sayre), and Jud Hartman (Grafton).  Tom Lane and André Bolduc were not far behind skiing within sight of each other.  The women’s wave was a little smaller but NWVE still fielded a good contingent.  Sarah Pribram and Liz Hollenbach were among the many who saw each other for most of the race, but never skied together except for a moment when Sarah overtook Liz.  Jessica Bolduc toughed it out, having been bedridden for two days with a cold.  She was happy to get to Ruthie's where she put some people she was working on behind her for good. Dorrie Martell skied enthusiastically enjoying the Klister conditions. And Allaire Diamond was back in action after a few year’s hiatus.  Allaire, one of the co-founders of the self proclaimed NWVE “B” Team, was the only NWVE Woman to complete the 50km race.  Hopefully she can rally the rest of the “B” Team as we have missed them and have not forgotten how integral they are to our success as a club.  We also had a few in the tour and going the distance challenge to cheer us on as well.  Wally and Natalie Good were distinguished as always (at least Wally and his Flower Power Pants) and Lida Dvorak was pleased with her performance even overtaking some of the men.  Perhaps signs that maybe the competitive bug is working its way in?  Mike Mashtare also skied with a slew of BFA skiers and Brennen Shuttle also suited up for the team for what had to be the longest ski of his life. 

In the 25km race NWVE finally took the podium after several close second places. Eric Darling was skiing in a group, but made a move on the long climb at Coach’s Corner. This paid off as he broke away from second place Reid Greenberg (Mad River) and put 20 seconds on him in the last K.  Rick Kelly had a strong performance skiing up through a few NWVE teammates and then closing on Jim Fredericks.  It was interesting to feel the change in conditions as the tracks got a little more powdered up.  Some skis got faster as was the case with Sarah Pribram.  Sarah worked her way up to third overall for the women.   Liz had a good start and first lap, but due being a little under the weather with cough was not able to maintain the pace but still won her division. 

Apart from a few small packs that stayed together is seems the race really spread out.  Kris Freeman was in a world of his own.  The Craftsbury Green Team drove a hard pace as the chase group.  Paul Allison was in the next group and hung in for 12th place.  Eric Tremble started a little slower today due to a little too much klister build up, but worked his way through his group bridging almost to Paul and Ryan Kerrigan VTXC.  Stephen Wright skied the first lap solo, but was caught by a group that had latched onto David Herr.  David continued on but the group stayed with Stephen and Nat Lucy.  Scott Magnan slowly closed on Damian each lap finally overtaking him at the feed on Ruthie's. Damian bonked due to being too exposed too long and the cold sapping all his energy.  Pavel stepped it up again this week keeping good company with Robert Faltus (Madshus), and Nordic Combined Olympian Joe Holland of Putney.  Things should get really interesting if these two get to know each other.  Perry was pleased as usual, but did state that his kick was not great.  He hung out at the awards bragging that he had won more wax in the raffle than a friendly competitor could bench press.  Tim Cowan did find the one pitfall of the course in that it was not forgiving if you hit the ground.  He played it smart, dropping out when rib pain continued to increase after the impact.  Tom Lane had a good performance venturing out on his annual race.  Hopefully we will see a little more of him later this season.  Still lots of great racing left.  André also had a great result, bettering his goal by about 30 minutes and racing all the way in chasing down a group of skiers that drafted him up Ruthies, only to drop him while he took a final drink.  Allaire finished out the day surely pleased with the sense of accomplishment in completing a tough 50km race.

Congratulations to everyone today!  We a great turn out and results to match.  Much thanks and praise to those that pulled off today’s event.  It takes a tremendous amount of work to put a race like this together and it cannot be emphasized enough how appreciated the heroic efforts to pull the course together and get the finishing touches on it are. 


White Mountain Classic 2013

January 26, 2013

Club Teams from around New England faced off at the White Mountain Classic yesterday.  The field was stacked with the country’s best skiers along with a strong showing of regional club skiers.  The pre-race hype was so exciting that at least one major network broadcast the event live.  Hopefully it will rerun and teams can review tapes to strategize for future One Day Club Team Championships.

NWVE set a goal early this season to target this race.  We knew that our women’s team anchored by Cipperly Good and Jessica Bolduc had good odds of winning the Women’s Title.  Unfortunately over the past few years we simply were not able to field a complete women’s team.  We knew the men were a long shot, but were and rema

in optimistic that under the right conditions we could make a run for the Men’s Title.

The day started early with several carloads of people commuting to the race at 5:30am.  Upon arrival they were welcomed with perfect classic skiing conditions - temps hovering in the low double digits, slight wind, sunny skies, and firmly set powder tracks on a rock solid base.  These conditions made things easy for skiers to prepare for the race, but perhaps too complex for those that really wanted to dial in an advantage.  NWVE went with the cold standby Swix VR30 for kick.  Other good waxes were Swix green, and ToKo mint. Anybody on these waxes seemed fairly evenly matched and had adequate kick throughout the course.  The course itself was another, yet poplular modification of the course we have been skiing the last few years. Racers started at the Touring Center with a long double pole before climbing up to the Eagle Mountain Trails.  Once on the upper trails, three laps were completed on trails that incorporated FIS course and some exciting zigzags in the fields.  The fast track dipped and rolled with plenty of recovery so that skiers could go hard and fast the whole time. 

As the minutes ticked down to the start NWVE busily put the finishing touches on their skis.  We lined up and 3 seconds after the 30 second warning the horn blew and we were off. Eric Tremble has always had a commanding start at this race and it was no exception this year.  He was joined by Paul Allison, Russell Primeau (DOC), Kris Freeman (MWSC), Ryan Kerrigan (VTXC), Andrew Clemence (UNH) and Samuel Evans-Brown (Unattached).  These seven made the elite pack.  At the first road crossing Freeman and Kerrigan were head to head as they approached the most significant climb on the course.  Kerrigan’s wax was slipping and he dropped off the pack.  What happened over the next 27km is not exactly clear. Some accounts say that Sam Evans-Brown fell and while the pack waited for him to catch back on Freeman attacked and got away, others say that in the three way sprint finish for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd between Freeman, Allison, and Tremble, Freeman was able to stick his toe out 7 minutes ahead, another account said that the race with Freeman lasted about 30 seconds after the start.  By all accounts the leaders were hammering.  Paul and Eric worked together the entire race and gapped the first pack on the climbs at the beginning of the third lap on the Eagle Mountain Trails.  A little further back a large second chase group formed with Eric Eley (VTXC), Kirk Siegel (BOC), Chris Bean (ORS), Frank Feist and Andrew Milne (CSU).  This group also picked up Kerrigan.  The next group had the NWVE train in it.  Eric Darling, Stephen Wright, Ed Hamilton, and Damian Bolduc along with the elite women Alexandra Jospe (CSU) and Robyn Anderson (VTXC) all lined up behind Robert Bradlee (CSU).  Robert did a good job setting the pace but was clearly a little nerved by what was in his rearview mirror.  NWVE patiently let Bradlee lead hoping he would eventually wear down.  Eventually Eric Darling made a move on the climbs and gapped the rest of the pack bridging almost to the next one by the finish.  Perhaps had he not been sleep deprived from traveling across the country the day before, getting only a couple hours sleep, he would have taken his place even further up the results page. This group fell apart in the second lap, Damian tiring and dropping off the pace first, Ed took a spill when his ski hit a dirt pile and could not make up the ground lost, but Stephen stuck to Bradlee eventually out skiing him down the hill and holding him off at the finish.  A very well executed race and great result for Stephen.  While all this was going on, Scott Magnan patiently worked his way through the field.  He picked up Robyn Anderson after she stopped for a re-wax and they worked together watching from about 40 seconds back on the final lap.  The next group of NWVE had Rick Kelly, Liz Hollenbach, Sarah Pribram, Perry Bland and Pavel Dvorak working with Mansfield’s Jonathan Rodd and Peter Davis, racing and changing leads.  As the group entered the final lap, Pavel had finally warmed up and put CSU’s big man in his sights.  Pavel took off putting about 90 seconds on the group and over took and dropped Victor Golovkin just as he was starting to feel good 80 minutes into the race.  Liz had broken away earlier keeping pace with the elite master’s women JoAnn Hanowski and Carrie McCusker.  Sarah stayed in with the group happy to finish ahead of VTXC’s Trina Hosmer and Mary Stuart.  Rick and Perry were happy about that too!  Mike Kavanaugh, so new to classic skiing that he does not have any equipment yet, raced on the club stock Delta’s.  Mike’s result is amazing considering his classic experience. We should expect to see him rapidly ascend the results page as he gets his own equipment and a few races under his belt.  Jessica Bolduc skied conservatively working on her own race.  She was seeded comfortably at the start and built confidence as the race progressed.  She won the M2 division and new club member Maja Smith took the M4 division not far behind.  Maja joined Jessica and Liz in making the perfect score for the Women’s Team Title!  Dorrie Martell who was a little rushed prior to the race did not get clear instructions for the course and when prompted by a person at the lap/finish sign turned back to the finish one lap to early.  She smiled through the disappointment and chalked it up to a learning experience.  Cipperly Good was quietly taking care of unfinished business from Monday.  She easily out-paced Lisa Doucett and Jody Newton of CSU in the marathon and had some good company with a jolly man with a big white beard from way up north. Lida Dvorak took advantage of the excellent conditions watching the race play out from the touring perspective.

After all the powder had settled it was time to see what the team break down would be.  Working feverishly in the lodge Sarah Pribram tabulated all the results and things were looking very good.  As team representatives tabulated and joked about who was on what team it came clear that the women had a perfect score with two second places as the tie break.  The stars did not align for the men, but we were able to take second.  Both of these were our highest results in the team championships and in the mixed combined team scoring we took the overall!

Great job to everybody. This was the most competitive race so far this season and NWVE continues to perform very well.   Things look promising as we make gains in the Zak and Club series.  There is plenty of racing left and we are well on our way to earning 1000 club points this season! The NWVE women finally got a well deserved Team Championship!  Let’s keep the energy going at Craftsbury next week! 


Geschmossel 2013

January 21, 2013

The long weekend continued today with the 40th Annual Geschmossel.  Several skiers set out early to participate in the race.  The travelers were treated with snow rollers along the way, reminding them of the warm temps and high winds from yesterday.  The air temperature was much cooler today, but thankfully the sun was out and the wind had died down.

Upon arrival, the skiers busily got to putting numbers on and the wax of the day with most choosing VR30, with a few dipping into greens for the squeaky snow.  The course was the same 5K loop as last year starting at the site of the former biathlon range.  The groomers did a great job shoring up the course and setting tracks.  Skiers enjoyed some of the best classic conditions so far this year with cold temps, some fresh powder, and super fast tracks.

The time to line up came quickly.  A short race description was given and skiers were happy to be moving after the start signal.  Getting on course was fairly clean with a little jostling here and there.  As was the case at Saturday’s Tour de Trapp, packs quickly formed.  The leaders quickly established themselves and the chase groups fell in accordingly.  Paul Allison and Eric Tremble joined Sam Evens-Brown to form the elite pack of three. They would ski together the whole race and Paul would take a decisive 3 second win.  Eric miss judged the final turn in an all out attempt for second, crashing out and leaving second place for Sam to take.  Eric Recovered and finished 3rd, only six seconds off the win. In hot pursuit were Tom Thurston of SNOC and Chris Nice of Ford Sayre.  Stephen Wright was in a contentious group that included CSU’s John Sakalowsky and Rob Bradlee, Ford Sayre’s Rick Powell and Bryce Wing, Wade Kavanaugh, and Kirk Seigel of Bethel outing club.  Damian Bolduc chased solo hoping to latch on, but never made it as the draft was a big advantage, not to mention all the M5’s laying it out. 

A little further back a duel for top female was going on.  Kathy Maddock (CSU) ended up pulling away from Liz Hollenbach on the second lap.  Rick Kelley found himself situated between the two digging in at the end to hold off Liz, Robert Faltus, and Ron Newbury.  Jonathan Chaffee(Ford Sayre), Doug Armstrong, Raul Siren and Perry Bland all had good days and were within striking distance of each other. No accounts of the words exchanged between these three this week, but it will surely be a show down next week when climbing and endurance become factors in the White Mountain Classic.  Steve Messier (Mansfield) taking advantage of the postal holiday participated and was happy to see himself on the first page of the results edging fellow Vermonter John Lazenby by three seconds.  After years of being on registrations lists but never starting, Christopher Naimie of Bow Nordic returned to racing making it a family affair. 

Bill Holland bested another Bolduc in recent times.  First it was Camille in the Autumn Onion 5K Costume Race, and today he got Jessica Bolduc by a few seconds.  Jessica was happy to make the first page of results noting they went 51 deep. Cipperly Good broke up a pack of CSU women on the second lap cruising in between Lisa Doucett and Jody Newton. Marty Hall’s day was made by taking advantage of a results page typo declaring to Doug Armstrong that he kicked his ass.  When you are a M9 you get to say things like that. 

In the BKL race Camille Bolduc (J5) looked impressive.  She skied strong the whole way making up ground on a Ford Sayre J4.  She could not quite catch her by the finish, but followed up on her 2nd place finish at the BKL pursuit race yesterday with another outstanding performance.

Ninety-five racers celebrated the 40th today.  It was another successful race, and the shortened fast course made for a perfectly timed event between the 30k at Trapps and the 30k White Mountain Classic next Saturday.  People were very happy with the skiing and are looking forward to the big marathons coming up.  Congrats to all!


Tour de Trapp 2013

January 19, 2013


The energy from the Bogburn survived the January thaw as many from around New England came out for the Tour de Trapp. There has been a lot of attention leading up to the next few weekends encouraging people to get out and participate. It is working. Be it the distance, weather, technique, timing or location... Clubs were out in force and meant business today.

There were lots of smiles and hearty laughs as registrants filled the parking lot, eagerly pouring into the yurt for bib pick-up. People were very jovial prior to the race as skis were tested, warm-ups were completed and nerves built. Speaking of warm-ups, the new NWVE jacket was well received as complements kept coming. One Ford Sayre skier said they would have to come up with new jackets as they have not updated theirs in 15 years. As people got ready, the warmer than expected temperatures became an issue for those that erred on the side of cold for their wax selection.

The conditions were great. A thin blanket of new snow covered the course. The groomers did a great job working with it to be ready by start time. The course was the 7.5k homologated race loop. Skiers had the option of a two lap 15k, a 4 lap 30k or a relay with up to 4 people. The race started out by looping in the meadow, though the sweeping banked turn that sling-shots racers back up to the start elevation before sending them around the orchestra platform and into the woods for the challenging Morton designed course best described as a “plate of spaghetti.” Temps started in the mid twenties and were rising steadily. Despite a cold snap the days prior there was still a surprising amount of moisture that leeched through the thick base in spots around the loop. There were strong gusts of wind. These were a factor as they blinded skiers in one section of the woods with snow blowing off the trees.

Last week we were treated to special guest started Larry Damon. This week Johannes von Trapp did the honors. Racers were instructed to use common sense and were off with a blast from a double barrel shot gun. The first half of the field got to take advantage of the sling-shot and the race was on! The second half was victim of what can happen in rapid speed changes and were bottle necked for a few moments. Racing packs quickly formed. A large group of leaders pulled away quickly followed by a small chase group, then a larger chase group, and then the field. Eric Tremble represented NWVE in the lead group.  The first chase group had a few power house skiers including CSU’s Andy Milne, Ford Sayre’s Chris Nice and Vermont National Guard’s Jesse Downs.  This small group was in the sights of a larger chase group that formed behind NWVE’s Ed Hamilton.  Ed pulled Mansfield’s Murray Banks, Caftsbury skier Peter Harris, along with Ford Sayre’s Rick Powell and NWVE skiers, Eric Darling, Damian Bolduc, and Mike Kavanaugh.  These skiers made it through the start clean and were able to put a sizable gap on the field that came to a complete stop very early in the race.  Once things got sorted and going again NWVE was well represented at the front of the field.  Leigh Mallory, Perry Bland, Sarah Pribram, and Liz Hollenbach took command of the field while the rest of the skiers quietly plotted their races out.  Among them were Scott Magnan, Rick Kelly, Tim Cowan, André Bolduc, Michael Hakim, Jessica Bolduc, Dorrie Martell, Jason Baer, Maja Smith and Kathy Kjellerin.  Kathy opted for the 15k in her first race skiing under the NWVE 

banner.  She is a nice addition to the club taking second on the podium for the overall women in the 15k.  Maja Smith, who slipped by me in her inaugural race for the club at the Bogburn, followed up with a solid top ten finish with Snoc’s Carol Van Dyke and Moira Durnin.  As the race played out, most of the groups survived only one lap.  Ski speed played an important role on the rolling course and those that were waxed a little warmer prevailed.  Among those with great skis were Eric Darling and Sarah Pribram.  This seems to be a recurring theme and perhaps fitness has more to do with it than skis.  Though it was clear who had faster skis.  Scott Magnan took advantage of that as well as he stalked the field throughout the entire race. Strategy played a key role today and it was fun to see the races play out from the glimpses of each other as the course looped back on itself.  It did not just string out with everybody taking their places today.  There was a lot of action with many changes in order right to the finish.  Eric Darling was able to advance considerably and was involved in a sprint to the line with Andy Milne and Chris Nice.  Scott Magnan skied on offense working his way from the back of the field almost to Peter Harris and Rick Powell.  These two worked very well together and had very impressive races.  Peter is really going for it this year, posting many great results. Jason Baer was a force to be reckoned with as he found another gear at the finish out pacing Brett Rutledge and Mark Danyla. Tim Cowan turned it on the final lap putting good distance on those he skied a majority of the race with.  Rick Kelly was happy to be done.  The conditions were more difficult than most would have liked for doing a double this weekend and Rick was among the many that will be reassessing their Geschmossel plans for Monday.  Jessica Bolduc kept seeing parallel lines on the course and eventually figured out why.  John Brodhead seems to use the technique considerably in a distance race.  It was also noted that Chris Nice relied heavily on a marathon type skate on any off camber section, making them look effortless.  Michael Hakim was in Rick Kelly’s camp happy to finish.  It was the first race in couple of years for him, but he was happy to be back and meeting his goals. Dorrie looked strong skating in with Craftsbury’s Gina Campoli.  The overall men’s race came down to a three way sprint with VTXC racers Franz Bernstein, Ryan Kerrigan and Eli Enman using the home course advantage to win.  VTXC also took the women’s overall with Robyn Anderson starting with a 3:30 minute deficit overtaking CSU’s Kathy Maddock in the final k’s of the race.  NWVE’s Ed Hamilton and Kathy Kjelleren podiumed in the 15k.

Great job to all that raced.  It will be fun to process these results once they are published setting the stage for the upcoming mass start races beginning Monday!  Cookies were enjoyed at the finish thanks to Jessica.  We also owe Helen Hollenbach huge thanks for filling a need at the aid station feeding the racers as the looped out for their next laps! (Even meeting special requests, “two Gatorades!???”) Beers were enjoyed and awards were brief at the Brewery Café.  The celebration continued into the parking lot for a little tailgate Birthday party for Jessica who solidly remains a M2.   


EC Mountain Top 2013

January 13, 2013

At least two NWVE racers lined up for the Eastern Cup at Mountain Top today.  The course was a challenging 3.25k loop through fields and woods.  The conditions were variable and deteriorating.  In the woods things seemed a little icy under the soft granular that the skiers had churned up, and in the fields skiers had skied down to bare ground in some places with a layer of compact slush elsewhere.  Despite the challenging conditions, racing was as competitive as ever.  Temperatures were steady in the mid forties under partially sunny skies.  Moderate wind could be noted, but was generally at your back on uphill sections of the course.

Skiers tested wax and it seemed that spray on green binder was almost universally used.  It seems this product has caught on fairly quickly and is a must have for every wax box.  It seems simple enough and puts a perfect coat on the base.  Some people added a purple mid layer while most went into the warm orange, red or yellow klister depending on your brand of choice.  This all ended up with what Perry refers to as an organic blend of dirt, grass, leaves, thread and sequins mixed in by the end of the start chute. Waxless was also tested, but found to be inferior.  Those with warm grinds had a huge advantage as ski suction was a factor on much of the course. 

With that said neither NWVE racer was too excited with their performance for the day.  While not dismal results, Damian Bolduc was victim to very slow skis, and Paul Allison’s late start meant most of his competition got a lap in before the course really started disintegrating, that he did not. Both were happy to be done and a cool-down was not bothered with.  Despite the major disadvantage Paul still finished an impressive 36th overall.  Damian was disappointed to miss the top 100 by 3 spots.  (To the guy who did not use green binder and lost all his silver klister, I have it all over the tip of my ski.)

Hopefully a few ski areas survive the January thaw.  Mountain Top probably would have had they been able to save the snow rather than host an EC field. Driving up from Chittenden, points south of Middlebury still had good coverage that could turn into some awesome crust skiing.  North of Middlebury looked devastated. 


Race To The Cabin 2013

January 12, 2013

NWVE had a very strong showing today at the Race to the Cabin.  The club’s race anywhere, anytime no matter what attitude paired nicely with the nature of the event.  The challenge was all NWVE needed to enjoy some great skiing at the region’s premier Nordic destination.  Everybody at this race was eager to experience what started many years ago as a wager for bragging rights and history repeated itself as the return of this event continues to grow.

The race course started at the Trapp Family Lodge and finished at the Cabin.  Skiers set out on Sugar Road to Picnic Knoll where they picked up Owl’s Howl and the climbing really started.  At the end of Owl’s Howl they continued on the Cabin Trail to the finish at the Cabin.  The conditions were tricky with wet powder, transformed granular with a little overnight ice all mixed together.  Skiers tested klister against waxless.  Grip Tape was also a

good option.  Once the decisions were final, everyone lined up and were treated to a special starter, a man who needs no introduction, none other than the King of All Cabin Bragging Rights (as well as plenty of others) with a time of 18:30, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968 Olympian, Jazz Trumpet Player Extraordinaire, His Majesty, Larry Damon.  After a few instructions and stating the course was easy because it only had one hill he rang the start bell and skiers were off!

The start was clean and a large Women’s Group cheered everyone out of the stadium.  It was not long before the mass start matchups found each other and the race was on.  Eric Tremble connected with SNOC racers Tom Thurston and Eric Eley.  Eric Darling would ski with Peter Harris (Craftsbury/NWVE) with Stephen Wright in the mix.   Leigh Mallory, Jessica Bolduc, Liz Hollenbach, Sarah Pribram, and Perry Bland all helped form the main field with SNOC’s John Lazenby, Mary Stuart and Sam Von Trapp as well as John Brodhead from Craftsbury.  This crew had to be a blast to ski with as leads changed place multiple times over the course of the race.  The terrain may have affected the enjoyment as it played out, but can it really get any better?  Mike Kavanaugh made this race his first classic race (and his second time on classic skis). He proved teal is real on some borrowed 

touring waxless equipment from the mid eighties.  Camille and Damian Bolduc finished things out for the club. 

The race had two major turning points that skiers were able to take advantage of.  The first was a steep climb on Owl’s Howl to the County Road Crossing.  At this point both the Bolduc women made a move that others were not able to respond to.  Jessica took advantage of the superior kick of her waxless skis to outpace those around her.  Camille overtook a skier here as well using the same advantage.  Perhaps a little too confident with the move Camille tripped herself, but got up quickly and finished out the race without further incident.  Eric Tremble took advantage of a subtle snow change once on Cabin Trail leaving his competition behind.  After the race Tom said he was simply maxed out and could not respond to Eric’s apparent surge.  Once at the Cabin, war stories were traded and bragging began.  It was not the arrogant type, but more an appreciation of the efforts that had just transpired.  One special thing that was noted was the energy and diversity of NWVE and the joy the club seemed to have encouraging everyone along the way.

Post race beers and hot chocolates were outstanding. NWVE had a good showing at the awards ceremony. Eric Tremble and Jessica Bolduc swept the top spot on the podium for overall men and women.  Camille won the youngest place of the youngest/oldest division.  John Brodhead (Craftsbury) had to settle for oldest place.  Liz scored a nice mug for third woman overall, and Sarah Pribram took home the grand prize in the raffle!


Bogburn 2013

January 5, 2013

The Bogburn was a huge success this year.  After a few lean years with not so great snow, and competition with other events, the Bogburn returned to its traditional grandeur of festivities this year.  Seemingly somewhat expected, and somewhat a surprise, organizers scrambled to keep up with the masses of enthusiastic skiers ready to experience a true Bogburn.  Lollipoppers to M10’s came out in force making the whole day an action packed spectacle.

Conditions on Skyline Ridge in North Promfret were those that memories are made of.  Plenty of snow, plenty of sun, temperatures steady and comfortable in the low twenties.  There was a swift wind, but the sun and excitement cancelled it out.  The trail was groomed and set well with almost an inch of new snow dusting the course in the early morning hours.  The course was all that has made the Bogburn legend with a new twist for all but the lollipoppers.

The day started with the lollipop field.  This is an “anything goes” race where parents can ski with their children.  It was interesting to see all the makeshift setups the children had and made me wonder how few times it is acceptable to duct tape something to your child.  Skis and poles from all eras running the full spectrum of performance were utilized to get this field around the race course set entirely in the stadium. One crowd favorite refused to use two poles requiring only one for their paddle technique.  In a race where “anything goes” there is nothing to stop the rare gondola pole technique or to say that it is wrong.  Perhaps in a race someday it will be efficient to throw down your perfectly good pole and utilize the form, and thanks to the Bogburn I will know how.

Unfortunately there comes an age when improvised skiing is not allowed so much and skiers must adhere to a stringent set of traditional rules.  Classic is the technique of the race and so it was for all remaining fields.  NWVE had one racer in the BKL division. Camille Bolduc raced on her waxless skis covering the 2k distance in just less than 12 minutes.  She moved up through the field from her 7th start position and finished the race by latching onto a boy wearing bib 11 for the final half K.  She was the 3rd female in the J5 division.  The BKL races were very popular with skiers traveling a great distance to participate.  This overwhelmed the small crew of volunteers but nobody seemed to mind and the races went off with lots of smiles and laughter.

When the day starts with delays, they compound as it progresses.  Nobody seemed to mind, but there was a little confusion at the start of the women’s race.  As 12:30 came and went, the stated start time, all eyes were 

searching for anyone resembling a starter with a clipboard.  Finally after several minutes, the starter with a clipboard came running down, announcing five minutes to start time.  About fifteen minutes later, there was a sudden rush to get the women lined up pronto. NWVE women were patient and ready to go.  Having heard the first call much earlier, most women had lined up themselves and were ready to start as repeated calls for them to line up continued.  Finally one asked if they should be lined up at the start and the attention of the starter was drawn to the start line where the field had congregated preparing for the race.  NWVE had six women in this race.  Jessica Bolduc, Sarah Pribram, and Liz Hollenbach started things off as numbers 1, 2, and 5 respectively.  There was a 30 second interval for their race.  After several ghosts and most of the field Leslie Roberts, Helen Hollenbach and Cipperly Good got on course at the end of the start order.  Lighting was an issue for the women’s race.  The light was so flat that it was impossible to see some of the technical aspects of the race course and trail.  But the women pressed on.  Sarah would overtake Jessica early and time trialed it the rest of the way in to finish the race first.  She had an outstanding performance crediting her wax, Ski*Go Violet.  Liz Hollenbach had a put in a good effort, having spent a lot of time working, exposed to the cold this week.  Jessica had a lot of difficulty with trail visibility early in the race, becoming all but defeated by the end.  Leslie Roberts looked good

in her first Bogburn.  The difficulty of this race is legendary and even veterans are surprised by something new each year.  Cipperly made the trip from Maine to race this afternoon, taking second in the M1 division behind Liz.  Helen Hollenbach decided not to let illness hold her back any longer and was determined to complete the course despite a nagging case of bronchitis. Her efforts got her on the first page of results. The bronchitis could not hold back her enthusiasm either as she cheered in everyone in the men’s race.

There was no shortage of excitement in the final race of the day.  Starting about 30 minutes behind schedule the men were raring to go.  The 15 second interval shortened the start wait and soon all racers were on course.  Damian Bolduc led the order for the men starting in 9th.  He blasted off the line determined to hold off CSU rival Andy Milne (30 seconds back) for as long has he could. Scott Magnan was the next person after Andy.  He used the race to test different waxes in the hopes of finding the perfect kick solution.  Tim Cowan was the next NWVE starter.  He was a little disappointed with his race, though I think the lower your center of gravity, the better you will do on this course.  Perry Bland was on Tim’s heels, overtaking him on the first lap and getting a result that put him right in the thick of his M7 competition well ahead of rival Donovan Freeman.  Then starting in 22 position, it was Eric Tremble time.  Eye witness accounts say that Eric more attacked the course than skied it.  From 22 place he passed all but Frank Feist who started ahead of him.  Eric Darling had a great race as well.  Skiing on the wax Scott was looking for, Eric was able to keep pace with Zach Caldwell over the whole course.  There was a bit of a break for NWVE in the start order following the Eric’s, but soon Stephen Wright, Ed Hamilton and Rick Kelly were underway.  Ed stopping in after the U32 meet where his son skied worked with Stephen as they picked off one skier after another.  Rick was happy that he passed more people than passed him as well!  And then it was the late entrant time.  Leigh Mallory, André Bolduc and Mark White were all day of race registrants and 

automatically relegated to the end of the start order.  Mark who arrived extra early with Camille and Damian spent the extra time dialing in the perfect mixture of VR45 and VR50.  He had a good race making the first page of results and was impressed with the team’s organization and enthusiasm at the race.  Leigh went thick for kick.  He was with Scott in experimenting with some wax he acquired and made a point of saying that the good skiers could get away with VR40, but he was not interested in having to work for his kick at the Bogburn this year.  André, the results page wild card (yet to get his name in the results at a club race this year) was a little disappointed with the amount of time he spent on the ground.  He still had a good race and looked like he was having a good one by other NWVE skiers that encountered him on course.  Brennan Shuttle was back in action for the club bettering his result in the Eastern Cup Opener at Craftsbury. 

Post Race festivities occurred with everyone enjoying some cranberry orange muffins and chocolate chip Rice Krispy Treats thanks to Jessica and Rick.  The awards were fairly abbreviated with NWVE taking several categories and adding a few more waxes to the team wax bag.  Speaking of the wax of the day, “For newer snow and fine crystal snow.  Works well in all humidities.  If temperatures are below freezing and new or untransformed snow is present, this wax is your choice, no need to even test.”  Wish I knew this before the race.  Eric Darling and Sarah Pribram certainly had great results today and perhaps the Ski*Go Violet they had on their skis gave them the advantage.

After all was said and done, seven stragglers made a pit stop at Worthy Burger in South Royalton. The Brews, Burgers and Fries were a hit and went down in record time.  A Worthy meal at the end of a Worthy day.


BFA Alumni Citizen's Race 2012

December 30, 2012

Results: Click Here

The BFA/NWVE Alumni Citizens Race went off in fine fashion this afternoon. All of the recent snow provided enough cover to host a Classic Technique race for the first time.  It seemed many were looking forward to the event with several alumni sporting brand new gear.  Michelle Bouchard and Michelle Boissoneault both retired their high school racers from decades past, and Scott Magnan broke in a new pair of flashy RCS’s.  The race was well attended by alumni, NWVE, citizens and the current BFA ski team. 

The course was modified from the long course loop used in the past and was raced in the opposite direction.  Either way, the loop was very challenging, and gave no opportunity for rest as it twisted and turned around the Dickinson property taking advantage of the rolling terrain.  Temps were in the upper single digits and there was a very brisk north wind whipping through the hillsides.  The fresh grooming was soft but the tracks set nicely as they got skied in. Having raced today will certainly take the shock out of what we experience on an annual basis at the Bogburn.

Racers congregated at the start area anxious to start while a few put the finishing touches on their wax.  Eventually with little fanfare the start command was given and the racers were off.  The start was clean with plenty of tracks and real estate for the racers to use to establish their start position.  As on Friday Eric Tremble (SLU Class Of 2000?) quickly gapped the field taking SLU Class of 2017 Evan Martell with him.  A significant chase group formed including the top BFA skiers and Tyler Magnan, Scott Magnan, Eric Darling, and Damian Bolduc.  Tyler split away early in the race not to be caught. Scott, Eric and Damian stayed in the draft eventually dropping the high school racers when endurance kicked in toward the end of the first lap.  Perry Bland liked the conditions and was excited to finally get a classic race in.  He positioned himself in the heart of the pack and worked his way through skiers as the field spread out.  Liz Hollenbach found her place among familiar faces with Perry and Lary Martell.  Mike Mashtare, Sarah Pribram, Andre Bolduc and Jessica Bolduc also raced together for a lap before the field started to spread out and the draft more difficult to maintain.  Cipperly Good found her place along the current varsity roster.  A little tired from the race yesterday she held it together working with Rachael Shepardson-Rudden to show the alumni still have it. On the second lap Eric Tremble was able to shake and drop Evan.  After a long pull Scott fatigued letting Eric Darling and Damian slip away.  Damian eventually took advantage of all the work the others did and some better tracks to outkick Eric D. at the finish.  Perry, the man of adaptation and transition, skied away from Liz and Lary posting a result he should be pleased with and having completed the triple this weekend will be well positioned for the Bogburn next weekend. Sarah peeled off with Mike Mashtare leaving Jessica to go back and forth with the top high school female. 

NWVE was also at the top of the results page for the 3K women’s race.  Michelle Boissoneault won with a comfortable 90 second margin on her new waxless skis.  Camille came in 3rd running her new waxless skis as well.  Michelle Bouchard was not too far behind classic skiing for the first time in 20 years.

Bragging Rights were clearly established today as the match-ups played out.  Revenge will be sought, but not settled until next year at the Alumni Race.  As is tradition the best tights was highly contested.  Perennial favorite Mike Mashtare may have faltered with going with a black back ground for the fluorescent doodles on his tights.  Cipperly had the edge with her psychedelic hot pink and purple lava flow design.  Of course the undisputed old school style champ Wally Good looked distinguished in his tweed coat and corduroys adorned with embroidered Christmas decorations.

Another great alumni race!  Congrats to all who participated.  Also a special shout out to the trio who did the triple this weekend, Perry Bland, André Bolduc, and Jessica Bolduc!


Mt. Hor Hop

December 29, 2012

Results: Click Here

NWVE dominated the start list today fielding over a dozen eager racers.  Some used the race as their first ski of the year, others as their first ski for the team while the core racers continued their great season so far.  It was good to see the usual hearty faces that brave the race in the middle of nowhere.  It still amazes me how nice a race you have to hike to, can be.  No matter how many times I have done it, getting to registration at the Mt. Hor Hop never ceases to be surreal.

The course was the same it has been for the last few years.  The familiar figure eight starting with a flat twisty section going to the climbing section and then finishing with an exciting S turn filled downhill.  All racers did the loop twice.  The snow was fresh packed powder.  Fortunately the high school race yesterday really packed it down.  The surface was fairly firm, and a little bumpy.  Not quite the perfectly planed track we have been training on at Craftsbury, but a fun change to challenge the racers’ balance.  Temps were a little warmer than expected reaching the low twenties.  It was overcast with no wind and during the men’s race a light snow began to fall.

New for this year, Race Chief Peter Harris added a P.A. system to the festivities. It was impressive and when the first song was Bon Jovi’s “Shot Through the Heart” all knew nothing was left to chance on this race improvement!  Jon and Richie rockin’ in the heart of the Kingdom.  What is next?  Haydock, Milne and Doucett getting Gangnam Style in Pomfret???

The big twist of the day was the women’s start order.  While it was interval start, the women were not required to line up by number.  Some other order was established and the women were lined up out of sequence accordingly.  This made for interesting spectating, but since the field was so small it was easy to keep track of.  Jessica Bolduc, Sarah Pribram, and Cipperly Good lined up respectively in the last third of the field.  Dorrie Martell was relegated to the end of the field due to a number issue.  While a small field, it was stacked with talent with Ida Sargent running away with the race.  Her time also bested most of the men as well.  The NWVE women looked good skiing through the lap area.  You would not have known it was Sarah’s first time on skis this year as she picked up spots throughout the race.  Dorrie also moved up making up ground with efficient use of power on the climbs.  Jessica and Cipperly also had good races getting 1st and 2nd in their age groups. 

The NWVE men started as the women looped through starting their second lap.  There was no shortage of talent or action in the men’s race either.  Peter Hegman (UVM) skied impressively winning by over a minute.  Paul Allison and Perry Bland were our first starters in the men’s race.  Paul skied seemingly effortlessly taking third overall.  Mike Kavanaugh registered under NWVE for the first time, and was the next club member to start followed closely by Stephen Wright, André Bolduc and Leigh Mallory all separated by a 30 seconds.  The next group was Tyler Magnan, Damian Bolduc, Rick Kelly, and Eric Darling all in a row with Scott Magnan holding out for a late start about ten spots later.  On course was very fast paced.  Be it the snow, the choppy feel of the course, or the top skiers flying by, the race felt fast.  Many noted feeling off kilter for the first part of the race.  Eric Darling noted that Chris Nice did whatever it took to maximize his forward potential.  While not pretty, it was fast.  The race favored the very well balanced skiers, while those that struggle with it a little, had to compensate for being tossed around a little more.  It was surely challenging for all, but those that kept form and technique together faired better.  This race as well as the Bogburn, remind us how fun skiing can be when trails are not groomed with big machines. Tyler and Scott Magnan, who live for this type of skiing, looked at home racing.  Notably Scott had the most snap of anyone at the end of the race as he sprinted to the finish. Damian had fast skis that wanted to get away from him until he settled into a groove on the second lap.  Mike Kavanaugh raced well after having put in a hard effort on the grueling Sleepy Hollow course yesterday.  Eric Darling debated if this being the first ski of the season was an advantage, as he had not established a feel for his footing on the dead on level trails at Crafstbury.  Stephen Wright held his own, skiing evenly and hung out at the finish to cheer everyone in.  Leigh Mallory was an encouraging presence on the course complimenting skiers regardless of whether he passed or was passed by them. André had a solid race except for a well timed fall right next to the registration table that it seems everyone saw.  Rick Kelly and Perry Bland finished things out for the team.  Both were pleased with their efforts, but felt a little of yesterday’s race lingering as they climbed the long hill on the second lap today. 

After the race the masters gathered around the results page like a bunch of teenagers at a high school championship to see who did what today.  Some were relieved, others started planning for the next match up and one declared all others better be on guard when we meet at the Bogburn for a true Classic race!  Brownies were enjoyed by all thanks to Jessica Bolduc.  Which reminds me of the quote of the day: “When I see your wife I start to salivate… ah, I mean because of her cookies!… and brownies!... oh Jesus...”


p.s. Post race meal at the Miss Lyndonville dinner got 14 thumbs up from 7 who gorged themselves for about 10 bucks a plate.  I must say the Maple Cream Pie was exceptional.  We will see how the recovery aspects of the meal play out at the Alumni Race.

Santa's Revenge 2012

December 28, 2012


NWVE had good representation at Santa’s Revenge at Sleepy Hollow this morning.  Many skiers eager to get on the most accumulated natural snow in years took advantage of the fresh packed powder conditions.  Sleepy Hollow groomed out a demanding 2.5Km loop skied twice for the adults and once for the BKL group.  The temperature held steady in the low twenties and there was a light wind.

The mass start was very chaotic with the field going from narrow to narrower as they funneled out of the meadow down the hill  towards the Inn.  In the calamity Jessica Bolduc managed to step on Camille Bolduc’s pole, ripping it from her hand.  After a few attempts and help from experts Damian Bolduc and Eli Enman the pole and mitten were back in place and Camille was on her way to chase down the field.  This would not be the only incident of dirty skiing on the day, but was the only intra-family rivalry.  Somebody must be getting ready for the Alumni Race on Sunday! Two way traffic was set up so recreational skiers could access the trail network making for a little excitement while the field was all together.  Three skiers quickly established themselves at the leaders.  Adam Terko, Jake Hollenbach and mystery man Eonae Joremble quickly distinguished themselves from the rest of the field.  Eonae was actually Eric Tremble; perhaps someone was shivering while compiling data for the race.  Jim Fretzer, Mike Cavanaugh, Malcolm Purinton, and Craig Pepin formed a chase group and worked together for most of the race.  The bulk of the pack stayed together and had a nice train going until the second lap where NWVE skier Andre’ Bolduc said it was each man for themselves.  Tim Cowan led this group up the long climbs of Lower Saddle trail.  David Rickliffs, Rick Kelly, Perry Bland, and Andre’ all looked a little fresh as they crested the hill in Tim’s draft.  Tim had a little mishap on some thin cover, but got up and continued to press on.  No appreciation was shown as all those who got a free tow took advantage of Tim’s loss of momentum.  Spike Clayton and Jessica were not far behind and looked strong as they made their way out on the second lap.  The finish was almost as exciting as the start.  Camille was barely lapped by Adam Terko in what was a surprisingly close finish.  Jake Hollenbach was second for the 5km, taking a more gentlemanly approach rather than dusting the little BKL skier at the line.  Eric lost contact with the leaders halfway through the second lap, but still finished well ahead of the field and only 25 seconds off the lead.  Rick Kelly and Ricliffs had a good battle to the finish.  Andre’ moved up through the field and held off a hard charge by Cameron Clayton.  Tim looked good coming through, though he noted that plowing through the fresh stuff was a lot more tiring than the manmade snow at Craftsbury.  Perry Bland had an exciting and the closest sprint of the day.  Will Solow attempted to pass Perry with a double pole and a lot of stamina, but simply could not overtake the man with more determination.  Jessica was happy to advance a few places on the second lap and have the race over with.

It was a fun race to watch, with a lot of action over the 5km course.  It was certainly good preparation for the Wednesday Night Worlds that will be starting up soon. Hope to see another good turnout tomorrow at the Mt. Hor Hop!


EC Opener Craftsbury 2012

December 16, 2012

NWVE played a good hand at the Eastern Cup Opener today. Normally most like to get a few races or

hard efforts in before jumping into a race of this caliber, but with everyone in the same boat, being

stubborn, tough and gritty was all it took to get the season underway in a big way! We had excellent

attendance and many standout performances!

The race was held on the on the only continuous 2k of snow in the East. Anyone who has skied in the

last few weeks most likely did it here. The manmade loop held nicely for the thousands of laps skied

on it today. Mother Nature helped things look wintery with a nice fresh coat of snow falling at an

increasing rate during the day. A welcome sight, though I think some of the late starting skiers would

have preferred it to hold off until after they were done. Temps were steady in the mid-twenties and

little noticeable wind.

Starting things off for NWVE was new member Marina Dosch. Marina had yet to meet another club

member prior to today besides Andre’ Bolduc who recruited her. Marina skied well and had a great

finish after coming off a “biff” on the final lap. As she came out of the finish shoot she was surrounded

by teammates introducing themselves and was excited to be racing on a team again. Liz Hollenbach

and Jessica Bolduc started at the end of the field. It was quite a race to watch as both were having

excellent days. Liz made easy work of most of the Master’s around her and was advancing through the

field continuously. Meanwhile Jessica was doing the same! Jessica distanced herself from most of her

competitions and held off Mansfield’s Joann Hanowski four whole laps. Great job to all the women - the

races were inspiring!

Feeding on the energy of the Women’s races the Men got underway. Eric Tremble and Damian Bolduc

had starts around mid-field. Eric was out first racing on a borrowed pair of skis, with borrowed boots

due to his stock being ground and at the cobbler’s. He did use his own poles. The set up was not ideal

for him, but not one to make excuses he raced hard and a good finish. Damian was firing on all cylinders

today and uncorked one of his best EC results ever. The course and conditions favored him and the 150

or so preview laps did not hurt. After they finished Andre’ Bolduc and Leigh Mallory got on course. By

this time the falling snow was more than mixing with the manmade surface and was becoming the

primary surface. While conditions were still great the new snow was very abrasive and slowed the skis

down quite a bit. Leigh looked good making his way around competition that has not grown in any gray

yet. Andre’ skied well too, showing impressive technique that continues to receive praise from local

club and college coaches. Three new members also raced their first Eastern Cup today. Cody

Boissonealt, Conner Hoben and Brennan Shuttle all from BFA skied for the club. This was a new

experience to face a field like this. The experience was a positive one as they got to race on snow and

get a taste of what is beyond high school racing. A few minutes later the rest of the Masters got

underway. It was a real show to see our remaining masters mix it up with all of our friends from other

clubs around New England. Those that raced on the faster snow and then got to watch this part of the

race got the best of both! Rick Kelly started things our followed by Perry Bland. Both looked good

starting with Perry having a little skip in his step. Then it was Pavel Dvorak and Scott Magnan back to

back followed closely by Tim Cowan, and Stephen Wright getting perhaps the worst draw for a start

position on the day. With all these people on course racing with our friends from other clubs, like Doug

Armstrong (Mount Washington), Bryce Wing (Ford Sayre), Tom Thurston (SNOC), Jonathan Rodd

(Mansfield) and Rick Powell (Ford Sayre) to name a few made for some really great racing. The team

mentality was clear as match ups like Tim Cowan with Doug Armstrong played out. Same with Rick Kelly

and David Loney (Ford Sayre). Stephen Wright and Jim Fredericks have been training at the same time

the last three weeks and it was good to see Stephen get the upper hand. Pavel seemed to be

everywhere. Whether chasing or overtaking he skied with focus and determination. One of the nicest

moves was Scott Magnan and Tom Thurston flanking a pack of skiers heading into their last lap. The

most satisfying of the races was Perry showing why he is a great mentor to the BFA kids. Offering

encouragement on the course in his Perry way while getting it done in his Perry way. Not that it was

lacking in any way, there will be more respect for Perry when he is at practice.

Camille was the final NWVE to race Sunday.  She raced the 3-4 grade BKL race.  She had a good start and held 2nd place for most of the race.  A couple of boys got by her on the last third of the lap, but Camille finished first for girls.  This is the first time in club history that a member has won an Eastern Cup Event!

Great job to all that competed today! It was great racing and certainly a much better start to the season

than last year. As always just entering the Eastern Cup is a victory! I think more than a few have a race

to feel great about!


Craftsbury Winter Triathlon 2012

December 9, 2012

Three Northwest Vermont athletes braved the challenges set forth by Keith Woodward in the first of

three winter triathlons to be held in Craftsbury. The race was very doable yet satisfying as billed earlier

in the week. The field was small, but seemed to be fairly well matched as the race played out.

The course began with a 4km run starting in the upper field heading out around Duck Pond and then

around Murphy’s field. The short course bypassed Duck Pond and went to Murphy’s field. The bike was

the same loop respectively with participants in the long race doing two laps. One of the race highlights

was biking up and over the large snow pile in the upper field three times. This was easily 20 feet at its

highest point and had a nice thick crust of ice on it making things extra fun. Keith did make one pass

over it with the Pisten Bully so it was negotiable by a competent cyclist. The race ended with a two or

four lap ski depending on being in the long or short race. The weather was partially sunny in the low 30s

with little to no wind.

Competitors arrived and scurried about trying to figure out the race and course markings. It was

explained that we would ride around the snow pile, and then make a 180 degree turn and go up crossing

over the ridge and down the other side. Then things made more sense. We started and the field quickly

sorted itself out. Damian Bolduc ran with Camille Bolduc to the short course cut-off and then the two

parted ways. After the separation Damian kicked it up a notch passing several people over the rest of

the run and finding himself in second place at the end of the first leg. Rick Kelly was the third NWVE

member and hung close to Camille for the first part of the run and maintained the pace with Mansfield

Nordic racer Steve Messier for the rest of the run. On the bike things got really interesting. Camille

carried on confidently doing her own thing but capturing the attention of several elite ski racers training

on the ski track while the triathlon was going on. They were impressed with her running up the snow

pile, dubbed Mount Lucas, and riding off the other side. Damian did not bother trying to bike up the pile

knowing he could run it faster, but as Camille did, he rode down and was off on the bike leg. Rick the

most experienced mountain cyclist made short work of riding up and down Mt. Lucas. Rick also took

out some time on a few that had beaten him in the run. Damian was overtaken by another racer on the

bike leg and that position was what remained. Camille finished the bike leg as planned rolling over the

snow pile, but this time hitting a rut that had formed by people crashing in the run-out at the bottom

of the hill. Camille took a fall but was fine and proceeded to T2. She took her time getting ready and

a reminder from her father beginning his second lap caused her to remember her helmet. Rick buried

his wheel in a rut the third time up the snow pile and had to dismount for the first time in the race. By

this time Camille had caught the attention of many and perhaps with the enthusiasm of NWVE members

Scott Magnan and Perry Bland they started a go “Gamille” chant as the name of the little racing girl

spread around the course with a heavy accent. Camille was finished when Damian came in for T2. He

made the transition, glad to be off the bike and went out to ski the four laps. He was able to close the

gap on first place, and held the gap on second. He finished third on the long course happy with the

effort and surprised with how much the bike hurt. Rick skied very well putting more distance on his


At the award ceremony Camille got first pick of the prizes scoring a nice water bottle. Damian picked

one up as well and Rick walked away in a snazzy new pair of LSU socks. Everyone was very pleased with

the race and was strategizing how the next one would go.


Santa 5km 2012

December 8, 2012


Burlington Free Press Video

YouTube Video

2000 Santas took over downtown Burlington for the Second Annual Santa 5k. Among them were several NWVE members not shy about disguising their desire to compete. There is nothing quite like 2000 Santa's gathered to race in one place. Seeing 2000 runners go by in waves is on thing. Seeing 2000 Santas is quite another.

The weather was very mild for the racers this year. There was a lot of wind, but for once it seemed to be blowing in the right direction everywhere you needed it to. The course was the same challenging loop as last year starting at RiRa's then down Main to Battery up Pearl to Willard, then back on Union, down Main and turning back onto Church for the final sprint back to RiRa's. Much goes into keeping all the Santas organized and buffet feast is provided so that Santa can meet his Jolly Weight Goals for Christmas Eve. Santa looked pretty fit this year so he may need to be placed on intravenous Egg Nog until the big day.

NWVE looked quite fit as well. While many athletes are hunkering down for the winter, NWVE racers are coming off preseason and ramping up after cross training all summer and fall and it shows! Jason Baer continued his running streak. Clearly still recovering from the win at Westford he settled for second this year. Eric Darling cruised into a 4thplace finish. Ray Webster had a mishap and took a fall during the race but still managed a respectable 6thplace finish. It seems people were having a little fun with the race, with Elves running the wrong way or as bandits as well as a few K9 clothes-lining people with their leashes. Damian Bolduc started back in the field and worked his way up to 10th letting local legend Art Fowler take the tie. Mike Bessette was on hand providing his signature wind-breaking services. It is nice to have such a big guy running so well. Sarah Pribram took advantage of the draft after climbing Battery Hill. Fellow competitors noted her performance up the hill and commented that she loves the hills. The next cluster of NWVE racers involved some of the younger members. Meredith Mashtare ran with her family until the halfway point then took off on her own. Dispite sitting in for half the race she advanced well and took third in her age group. Camille Bolduc was right on her heels at the finish and out sprinted her mom Jessica Bolduc at the line. (Camille repeated this feat with her father at the Running of the Bells in St. Albans) Mike and Ethan Mashtarefinished out the race together with Michael giving Ethan the nod at the line. Megan Farrington was not far behind having made up a lot of ground after starting 3 minutes back. Julie Baer took the baby jogger division pushing Sydney who was by all accounts the most adorable Santa. With almost 2000 runners on hand there were lots of friends on course to run with. For those keeping track, it should be noted that when listed alphabetically by first or last name, last place stalwart Zeke Zucker actually finished third from last when ranked by last name!

Racers came from far and wide to compete in this great event. It is mind boggling how many Santas there are. Check out the YouTube video for 13:30 minutes of Santas at my favorite Marathon cheering spot.


Craftsbury Opener 2012

November 24, 2012


Athletes from Northwest Vermont Endurance capitalized on last week’s performances at the Westford Turkey Trot today at the Craftsbury Opener.  After having a few years of bad luck hosting the opener in early December,Craftsbury decided to take charge over nature, move things up two weeks and host Thanksgiving weekend.  Judging by the numbers and the depth of the field, skiers approved!  The 1.25K loop offered plenty of terrain and theDOR decision to go to a :15 interval start allowed for plenty of space on course.  For many this was the first time on snow this season, a first time racing in November, and as an added bonus a first for using a starting ramp!  Nothing quite like busting out on the season Giant Slalom style!

The conditions were a man-made snow track heading out of the upper field, traversing Lemon’s Haunt to the Coaches Corner, then back into the lower field and up the hill for the lap/finish area.  The temperatures were in the mid thirties and dropping.  There were a few wind gusts that blew in a nice snow squall by the start of the women’s race at 10:30.  The course was quite firm for the most part with a few corners getting chewed up after the multiple fields doing multiple laps.  Only a couple of dirty spots were visible, and most elected to use their top tier skis.

Dorrie Martell led things out for the club being the lone NWVE female in the Women’s field.  She looked very strong among her master’s competition, making an impressive move against SNOC’s Carol Vandyke and Ford Sayre’s Cheryl Carlson up the hill to the stadium.  The NWVE men were spread out through the field.  It seemed the consensus among the club was that they had scraped off whatever they stored their skis in and went for it.  This worked better for some than others.  The Bolduc brothers, Andre’ and Damian were earlier in the lineup.  Andre,’ more fit than usual, had some fast skis and was putting considerable distance on Damian on the downhills.  It took Damian 3 laps to makeup 30 seconds overtaking Andre’ for good in the six lap race.  Next up was yet to become a member Mike Kavanaugh. Taking a weekend off from cyclocross he came out to race and felt the effort was tougher than any cross race.  Pavel Dvorak and Perry Bland were back to back in the order setting up an interesting battle.  Perry was very happy with the new grind on his old standby Delta’s.  Pavel seemed psyched with his decision to put a bib on seeing so many come out for the race.  Both looked great finishing with enough to sprint a little at the end.  Scott Magnan was about the last entrant in the race.  He rocketed off the start and never looked back.  He was encouraged to finally see a result that correlated to the fitness he has been feeling for the last couple of months.  Using the Leigh Mallory technique of registering last gave him a fairly clear course to ski, though that had nothing to do with him demolishing the rest of the NWVE crew.  Seems that in November ski races Scott is hot.  Let’s hope the trend carries into December and beyond.  Camille Bolduc was our only Bill Koch entrant.  After a course preview, some no poles skiing and a pole switch she got underway in the one lap race.  She skied strong the whole way holding off a hard charge from a track teammate and Mansfield skier at the line.  It was quite impressive to see the progress made from the beginning to the end of her first ski of the year.  She is excited to get back out there soon. 

I think a lot of people were happy to have an event today.  The snow squall added the perfect touch to the festive atmosphere.  Visiting with old friends took place on the cool-down laps and the season is off to a great start!  Many thanks to Craftsbury for pulling this together.  It was a real treat to have a November race!  If the Thanksgiving Opener becomes the tradition I think it will I may have to reconsider taking that fifth piece of pie at Thanksgiving Dinner!


Westford Turkey Trot 2012

November 17, 2012

If the universe felt out of flux on Saturday, it’s because it was.  The latest edition of the Westford Turkey Trot was held in perfect running conditions.  There was hardly a cloud in the sky, no noticeable wind and the temperatures were comfortable in the low forties.  The entire course was dry, the road was solid and level.  While all these things are enough to make one wonder what on Earth was going on, there was one other thing that was out of place bringing tremendous turmoil to the cosmos…

So the Westford Turkey Trot is notorious for giving runners a little extra to compete with.  There have been ice storms, hurricanes, blizzards, thunder and lightning, freezing cold, impassable roads, some farm service guy hauling manure wagons, starting hot and humid only to finish in a sleet storm and more to challenge the racers.  Of course this character brings out the best in everyone, and draws out its own iconic idols.  Those that run in the Westford Turkey Trot are privileged to race among some of the most rare and precious competitors racing at their peak.  Those being the Westford Ponytail Guy and the Westford Sunglasses Guy.  Being in a race as special as the Westford Turkey Trot with these two must be the equivalent of riding a unicorn through an enchanted forest, or sitting at the Round Table with King Arthur, or having Billy Mays use a Ginsu Knife to saw the muffler off your car, wash it with Oxy Clean dry it with a Sham Wow and then effortlessly make you a BLT with it.  Needless to say, after running with these two, you will never be the same.

But this year something was off.   The Kid’s Dash had low turnout, seemingly over before it began.  That is not to say that it was no less exciting, but the reduced emphasis on the dash led to a poor wagering opportunity.  It still had its standouts and a little star in Sydney starting her first race.  Upon the completion of the Kid's Dash the racers filled in the start line and soon the field was off with their usual enthusiasm.  Things seemed fairly normal.  A couple of leaders quickly broke away, with Jason taking and holding a lead to the finish. The young speedsters were going way too fast only to blow up before the town green.  Perry and Damian started in the back of the field and visiting their way through as they worked their way up the ranks.  Perry knows a lot more people and has more of a gift for gab so he does not move up through quite as quickly as Damian.  Scott had staked out a comfortable position determined to take out his objective at some planned point of the race.  Andre was in good shape coming to an age where maturity will reverse the downward trend of slowing times as athletes find their way back to the structured training of their coached youth.  Jessica ran solidly un-intimidated knowing a new comer would pay for her naivety and fast start later in the race.  Rick was in good form running very smooth and even throughout the race.  Cathy and Dorrie joined up and ran to strong finishes. Megan cruised easily not far behind. Tom left it all out on the course unable to contest a sprint finish, but happy to have completed the race.  Alec raced well, patiently waiting for snow to put an end to the misery of his dry land training.  Even Janet was in on the action cheering and encouraging everyone with a bright smile as they looped back while she did the two mile race.  Yes everything seemed normal, yet there was something off this year.

While the weather was perfect that was not quite it.  Making his way through the field Damian was becoming panicked.  Where were the Westford Sunglasses Guy and the Westford Ponytail Guy?  While it is not uncommon not to see these two prior to the start, they do appear within the first mile, working like early frontiersmen taming the hills of Westford once had.  The mind can wander chasing something you cannot see.  Had they hung up their shoes? Was it some kind of prank?  By around the 5K mark relief, a familiar gate came into view wearing a black turtleneck, black cotton running pants with paint stained shorts over them.  It was the Westford Sunglasses Guy.  Then ahead he could see the sweats of the Westford Ponytail Guy with his hair poking out of the back of his hat in all its glory.  But things were still not right with the Universe.  The Westford Sunglasses Guy was wearing normal glasses.  Not the menacing dark sunglasses with the side shields, but just a friendly pair of regular prescription glasses.  Much like the pair Tim wears.   How could this be?  And would we have to resort to calling the Westford Sunglasses Guy by some new name? His actual name? It would just not be the same.  Bewildered, Damian pressed on contemplating what would be the new name of this legend as he had seemingly cast away his identity? It was not until cresting the summit of Mount Westford that Damian would catch The Westford Ponytail Guy.  Brief words of acknowledgment were exchanged.  Rounding the corner onto the steep descent back down to the normal elevation he shouted some orders to a young runner.  “Go with him.  Stick to him.”  Moments prior to being caught by Damian, The Westford Ponytail Guy had passed the torch to his offspring on the uphill and was offering words of approval and encouragement to his son as Damian overtook him on the downhill.  After the race while cooling down and cheering in all the athletes the Westford Ponytail Guy stopped and congratulated Damian saying that he looked strong going over the hill asked if he was the guy that always starts slow and works his way up.  Damian smiled acknowledging the recognition thinking perhaps sometime in the distant future he could be looked upon as the Westford Starts Too Slow Guy! 

But the story did not end there.  Something still needed to be addressed.  The traditional prize spread was laid out grand buffet style and there in the corner was a piece of running lore.  Second only to the wings of Mercury’s sandals; there they were the Holy Grail of Running, The Westford Sunglasses Guy’s sunglasses.  Had he put them up on the table for some lucky person to win?  What was the meaning of this?  Who could responsibly possess such a treasure?  Prior to the prize raffle all festivities were stopped for an important announcement.  A pair of sunglasses had been found and would the owner please claim them.  At this point the Westford Sunglasses Guy came forward reclaiming his sunglasses and all was right with the universe again.


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