JuniorsRacingHundreds of Kids and Thousands of Skis and Smiles

FasterSkier FasterSkierFebruary 23, 2005

Notchview Reservation Hosts 2005 Banknorth New England Bill Koch League Festival.

February 21 (Notchview Reservation, Windsor, MA): The biggest event on the New England nordic calendar every year is the Banknorth Bill Koch League Festival, a weekend-long celebration of Nordic skiing and family fun. This weekend, February 26-27th, the Notchview Reservation, in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, will host over 400 kids and well over 1,000 parents, coaches, spectators, and industry and sponsor representatives who support youth skiing.

The Festival is an annual celebration of fun and family cross-country skiing. This year's theme, “Find the Magic Out There”, takes the ever-popular Harry Potter themes and brings them to the snowy woods and trails of Notchview. There will be a “Magic Wood Trail”, where skiers can search for miniature trolls swinging from hammocks, sledding, building snow forts. They can leave a note for the Bear, and receive a reply the next day on the Fairy Message Board.

The schedule begins Saturday morning at 9am, with the Festival Parade. Each of the nine New England BKL Districts march behind their banner, with the kids dressed up in magic-themed costumes. The Opening Ceremony includes the graduation of the 13 year old J3 skiers “skiing up” to accept their Graduation certificates, as they graduate from the Bill Koch League to the Junior 2 level.

Then the fun begins with a Lollipop Race at 10:30am. For those unfamiliar with BKL events, the youngest participants, age 3-7, are called the Lollipoppers, because everyone who participates in an event gets a lollipop. And Festival lollipops are known to be huge!

For the endurance kids and parent/leaders, a “My Adventure Tour” leaves the stadium at 10:30am, for a magic-finding tour of the Notchview trails.

The older racers will be competing with skiers in their same age groups. The Junior 5 (J5s) age 8-9, J4s – age 10-11, and the J3s – age 12-13. Saturday’s races are Skate Relays, in a new, 2 x 2.2km format. Teams of two, same-age group skiers will race the age-appropriate distance, with the top 10 teams earning medals. The races begin at 10:45am and continue until 3pm. Food and refreshments will be provided during the day at Notchview by the Gateway Regional High School Athletic Boosters Club.

After all that skiing, the Pittsfield Crowne Plaza Hotel will host the Pasta Dinner, Awards and Silent Auction, from 5-7pm. During dinner the relay medals and tour ribbons will be handed out and sponsor gifts will be auctioned. Sponsors include Concept II, Pine Cone Hill, Madshus, Atomic, Peltonen, Infinity, and Sporthill.

On Sunday morning the Magic Wood Trail and another “My Adventure Tour” will leave the stadium at 10:30am. The technique of the day is classic, the traditional, kick-wax skiing. From 9:30-12:30, each age group will race an age-appropriate distance ranging from 2.2 to 4.5km, featuring individual starts. The afternoon racing is wave start sprint races, where several skiers take off at once to race a 1/5km course.

The weekend concludes with the Awards Ceremony, awarding medals for the individual classic and classic sprint events and tour ribbons at 3pm.

The New England Bill Koch Youth Ski League introduces kids to the life-long sport of skiing and its recreational, social, fitness and competitive opportunities. The League is named in honor of 1976 Winter Olympic silver medalist and former World Champion cross-country skier, Bill Koch, who will be attending the weekend Festival. The BKYSL programs are designed to provide kids 13 years and younger a starting point to learn and develop cross-country ski skills in a fun and enjoyable family atmosphere that is both positive and nurturing.

More information regarding the Banknorth New England BKL Festival, youth skiing, and NENSA, visit www.NENSA.net and click on Kids, BKL Festival.

Source: NENSA

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