Great Glen to Bretton Woods Nordic Adventure Reaches its Finish Line

FasterSkierMarch 30, 2007

Pinkham Notch, NH—Because of the uncertainty of the race course and other factors beyond the control of race organizers, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center and the Bretton Woods Nordic Center have announced they will no longer hold the Great Glen to Bretton Woods Nordic Adventure.

“We love this event,” said Howie Wemyss, General Manager of Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. “But a significant portion of the course was always such a question mark, and it always will be. When we conceived of the event, we realized there would be challenges to pulling it off each year, but we didn’t foresee some of the ongoing issues that we’ve had to face in the 6 years of holding or trying to hold this great event.”

The course for the Nordic Adventure utilizes a number of trails not normally maintained for cross country skiing. While the course begins on the trail system at Great Glen Trails and finishes 50 kilometers later at the Bretton Woods Nordic Center, the route from one touring center to the other includes Forest Service roads, hiking trails, a power line right of way and a rail trail. Those other trails are subject to multiple uses that are not conducive to cross country skiing, including logging and snowmobiling.

“The Forest Service, the Department of Transportation and the snowmobile clubs that maintain the trails have been very cooperative,” said Wemyss. “But the snow quality on those trails was always well below what cross country skiers need and desire. And because of the multiple use aspect of those trails we couldn’t prepare and groom the surface until the day before the event.”

Additionally, the wind along the power line and rail trail sections of the course, which parallels Route 2 in Randolph, perennially causes damage to the snow pack. The lean snows of 2006 and wind in this section led to the cancellation of the race that year, and without some timely snowfall in the days leading into the event this year, the point-to-point course could not have been used.

Sue Wemyss, Event Director for the last 6 years adds, “We very specifically named this event the ‘Nordic Adventure’ knowing that this was going to be an unusual course with unusual ski and snow conditions, but when we work all year long only to have the very real possibility of a last minute cancellation or a change to a loop course at one of the touring centers, it just doesn’t make sense to continue.”

“One of the biggest draws of the event was its point-to-point nature, people just loved the feeling of actually going somewhere when they took part in this event. From the Forest Service trails to the long climb up Jefferson Notch Road, there was no other event like it,” said Wemyss. “But the course was also the biggest liability. It’s sad to see it come to an end.”

The Great Glen to Bretton Woods Nordic Adventure was part of New England Nordic Ski Association’s (NENSA) New England Marathon Series and the American Marathon Series, which includes the famous American Birkebeiner.

Both Great Glen Trails and Bretton Woods Nordic look forward to putting the time and energy spent on the Nordic Adventure into new events in the future.

For more information about the Great Glen to Bretton Woods Nordic Adventure, go to


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