Results & Photos: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1504179446511545/
A couple of ski areas have been out to prove that not only Craftsbury can host a race after a major rain event. Sleepy Hollow has been busy over the winter break hosting high school events and Saturday we drove into fields of green to find a race tucked away behind a hill on completely natural snow. BFA was able to host its Annual Alumni Citizens Race on 100% natural snow! The gargantuan effort of the Magnan’s with little more than shovels and a tracked 4-wheeler farmed enough snow to survive two significant rainstorms and still have a race-worthy course! There was actually at least another usable kilometer or two of snow, but due to the novice nature of a majority of the race field, the shortened course was utilized.
The day's conditions started out with some misting, but temps quickly dropped, and light flurries waxed and waned throughout the morning. Temperatures dropped from the mid-thirties to the mid-twenties by the start time, and a brisk North-Wind picked up. The race course was a rolling loop including an inner/outer U in the Middle Field at Dickinson’s. It was a Mass Start (yes even with limited snow) with a 40m uphill double pole zone. Skiers then crossed the Upper Field and climbed Doc’s House Hill where a lone Angus beef moo’d with approval as the train of skiers passed each lap. Skiers then entered the woods for a two-turn downhill catching the main trail back to the Upper Field. They descended down the field back to the middle field where we skied the sweeping inner, outer U to complete the lap. The surface was granular with uphill’s being churned into mashed potatoes while the downhills remained firm. It was a challenging and exhausting loop that was slightly over a kilometer. Skiers had plenty to work with, and the field spread out quickly. Beginners completed two laps while experienced skiers went for five.
NWVE was well represented in the in the race that has become an annual contest for bragging rights. Tyler Magnan has put in many hours at the venue and having shoveled a great deal was intimately familiar with every twist and turn on the course. He started aggressively taking an early lead and never looked back. He knew it was an advantage to have a clear course and made sure he held onto the lead for as long as possible. After the initial spurt at the start, he settled in for the first climbs before seeing who could stay with him on the downhills. It turns out no one could match the speed and Tyler lead wire to wire. John Thompson was also very familiar with the course and competed for the first time as an Alumni having just graduated in June. He had his strongest result in the Alumni race wearing the NWVE threads and placing 3rd. He kept a steady effort throughout and was gaining on senior Brook Hodgeman who could not hold onto Tyler’s pace. I started conservatively as I was recovering from a bad cold. It did not take long for the race instincts to kick in and I found myself in quite the duel.
Lydia Hodgeman, a freshman girl, was on my tails for the whole race as we worked our way through the gauntlet of Varsity boys and lapped skiers. With every surge to drop her, she countered and stuck with me even as we ventured into wrong-way skiing on the Inner/Outer U portion of the course. She matched every move and pushed me to overtake all but two of the BFA Nordic Men. Mike Mashtare found himself in a similar battle sandwiched by his children Freshman Ethan and Senior Meredith. All of the Mashtare’s skied well keeping it a friendly family affair with Ethan taking the honors
followed by Mike and Meredith. Jessica Bolduc was not too thrilled about crossing the state, the cold wind nor the complexity of the course, but once warmed up, was very pleased with the race, the effort and the day. She hit her stride weaving around the novice skiers as she moved up through the field reminiscing of early season races at the beginning of her career. Cipperly Good also had a strong ski playing some cat and mouse with Perry Bland. As the novice skiers thinned the field by exiting the course, Perry got the upper hand and began skiing away. Unfortunately, in an exciting sprint with Ben Stol (UMF), Perry finished a lap early. After some protest, he returned to the course, but Cipperly had slipped by and was uncatchable. Cipperly was gaining steam as the course cleared setting her sights on a little sibling rivalry with younger bother Wally and tried to put a minute on him. Perry chased and regained a few positions but having already sprinted against the collegiate skier in the field did not have enough to repeat the effort a second time in less than 5 minutes. Michelle Daily, who has been absent from racing for a while decided to put the excuses aside and got out there for her return. She has been skiing at Dickinson’s a bit with her children and took the Alumni Honors in the 3km race.
Defying the impossible the BFA Alumni Citizen’s race was a success. Due to the cold wind, the racers dispersed without much fanfare, but most left smiling that they had accomplished a great ski on a day when many decided to stay in. The race had many benefits helping skiers of all ages and abilities gain confidence, get some close contact competition experience as well as preserve the trail for future skiing. Instead of turning to a chunk of ice, the racers worked the snow as the temperature fell maintaining skiable conditions. Congratulations to all participants and thank you Scott Magnan for timing and officiating, and to Camille for taking so many photos, capturing the true moments of the event!