NWVE took advantage of the premium snow conditions for another weekend. This time we were at Trapp Family Lodge for the Legendary Race to the Cabin. This feat of strength was originally a whim of four-time Olympian Larry Damon who boasted being able to traverse the climb from the touring center to the cabin within a certain time. He demolished it, and his record stood for decades until an NCAA contender broke it using modern equipment and wax. The challenge has evolved into a low key annual event where skiers can follow in Larry's footsteps and see if they can meet or beat the challenge they set forth for themselves.
This year's edition came together at the last minute after a snowy March made for the potential of good snow and low volumes of touring skiers. The traditional course was altered due to snow conditions so instead of climbing Owl's Howl, the most direct route, skiers climbed the Parizo Trail. I believe the original concept was to get to the Cabin via any route to the change falls within the rules of the event. Conditions were spring-like with warm temperatures, sunny skies, and transformed snow. The wax of the day was Rode T-Line KM3 Klister, a nice universal, though many opted for crown or skin skis. Due to the nature of the race, kick was favored over speed for many racers.
Skiers of all abilities entered the event, and NWVE had a large presence. As we waxed and prepared for the race, Leigh Mallory opened up his car and added some tunes to the scene. The started out a little slow, but soon we were rocking to some motivational beats as the start drew near. Skiers put on the final touches and volunteers went out on course. The racers lined up and were soon underway. Perry Bland felt a little concerned for one fellow who was slipping in the field as it did not bode well for what was to come. Another skier opted for rentals and selected this as their first race. I am not sure if the Race to the Cabin or the Bogburn is more appropriate as an introduction to competing. The entrant seemed unphased as she made her way to the cabin. One adjustment that would have helped would have been to turn her poles around. While it may look optimal to have the baskets scoop the snow, it is essential for the tip to initiate the plant. By the time the skiers made their way to Picnic Knoll, where the true climbing begins, the race had started to take shape.
Chris Burnham and Tom Thurston had set the pace, but as the climb began, Chris overtook Tom whose experience has told him to not attack early on the climb. Following closely was Eric Darling sporting Bogburn tights to intimidate his competition and Stowe Nordics's Neal Graves who opted for short sleeves intimidating competitors with his biceps. Tyler Magnan was the next through. Tyler was familiar with the course having spent hours reinforcing it with shoveling. Tyler wanted to make sure that the trail was race ski ready for the event. Ed Hamilton was right with the leaders as well, opting to use the race as a warmup for a longer spring ski. Ava Thurston (Mansfield) skipped the club party in Craftsbury to participate in the race. She transitioned to the climb with some of the best technique of the day and later credited her first win in the race to the Cabin to the NWVE wax she used. Leigh Mallory was back in action, like Ed using the race as a warmup for a family ski. NWVE's top female for the day was Sarah Pribram. Sarah was skiing well and opted to use skin skis as they were delivering uncompromised kick. In close pursuit was Stowe Nordi's Trina Hosmer and Jessica Bolduc. Trina and Jessica would trade places many times throughout the race. John Witmer has been coming on strong late this season and kept Trina and Jessica insight until the turn onto Cabin trail. He was happy with his race and could not believe how good the conditions were. Perry Bland was happy to race. Perry like Jessica had a slow start having opted for crown skis, but once the climbing began he was on the move. Bob Arnot, in the spirit of the race, chose an alternative route surprising many by approaching the finish from the Haul Road. He had taken a right off the top of Parizo and took a roundabout way to the Cabin Via Bobcat. I guess this move had his name written all over it. David Hosmer was quite relieved to have reached the finish before Bob skiing the preferred course. David was a little mystified with how Bob had vanished so quickly as he was making progress up the hill. Several more racers made the journey, crossing a Nordic race off their list of things to do. A good start as this is one everyone should experience at least once even if only due to its prestigious heritage.
As racers skied their way back to the stadium, they were in a happy and celebratory mood. NWVE brownies were distributed, and Sam Von Trapp stopped by to check in with how people felt about the event. Skiers were enjoying their time cleaning up while not freezing and soon a brief awards ceremony took place honoring the top 3 male and female competitors. The festive mood continued as the race was a great success for Trapp Family, and participants felt it was the perfect cap for another great season.