Pinkham Notch, NHâ€”On Sunday, March 9, 2008, Justin Freeman (Factory Team), a member of the 2006 Olympic Team, and Kelsey Allen took top honors in Ski to the Clouds, â€œNorth America’s Toughest 10k.â€
Despite strong ski performances, Mother Nature nearly stole the show with heavy rains overnight and strong winds at race time, but neither the racers nor the events team at Great Glen Trails would be daunted. The high winds created an icy, wind-scoured surface at the planned race finish area, which could not be used, and the race was shortened to 8 kilometers. Even with the shortened course, the race was still a tough challenge as 70 skiers raced 4 kilometers on the Great Glen Trails cross country ski system before climbing 4 kilometers up the Mt. Washington Auto Roadâ€”an elevation gain of 1500 feet. No complaints were made regarding the shortened hill climb. The uniqueness of racing up Mt. Washington is a draw in any season, and a number of competitors were entering their first ever ski race just to have the chance to race up this American icon.
Freeman of New Hampton, New Hampshire skied with the lead pack until the beginning of the climb up the Mt. Washington Auto Road when he broke away. He was not to be caught and built an impressive lead to finish in 32:51. Sam Mathes of Rome, ME finished second in 34:28 with Eric Tremble of Jericho, VT close behind in 34:47.
On the women’s side, Kelsey Allen of Franconia, NH waited until about a kilometer up the Mt. Washington Auto Road to make her move, but pulled away for an easy victory in a time of 41:48. Her closest competitor was Kathleen Maynard of Jackson, NH who finished second in 44:38. Alex Jospe of Newton, MA was third in 45:32.
Ski to the Clouds also featured awards for the fastest male and female over the age of 40. The men’s winner was Phil Lawson of Bethlehem, NH in 37:20, and Meredith Piotrow of Jackson, NH was the women’s winner in 55:40. Earlier in the year, Piotrow was also the women’s solo classic technique champion of the Great Glen Nordic 300.
Thanks to the support of Maxiglide, Great Glen Trails was able to offer a prize purse of $1,400 for Ski to the Clouds. Prizes were awarded to the top three in each division as well as for the fastest male and female over the age of 40.
Ski to the Clouds Video:
Justin Freeman crossing the line (Photo Credit: Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center)